The theory advanced by Samir Chopra on Sachin is interesting (Finally, It Weighs Like a Ton, Jan 17), but would probably hold true for Indians settled abroad. Personally, I don’t think Gen Y Indians look up to Sachin (exclusively, anyway) any more. His calmness, rootedness probably don’t appeal to them. They’d rather identify with brash and aggressive sportsmen like Dhoni and Yuvraj.
The article appeared to be too fawning about Sachin. True, he is a great sportsman, but to accord him such socio-cultural significance is certainly hyperbole. Massively talented, he made use of the opportunities available to middle-class Maharashtrians. Unlike, say, Jesse Owens, or Michael Jordan, he did not break any racial/class barriers. For god’s sake, can Sachin possibly be a cultural conversation-starter?
Do get out of your cleverly constructed, but absurdly fallacious, construct, Mr Chopra. I have been an expat for long, yet Sachin has less than nothing to do with my self-image. Your dependence on Sachin is also built on weak ground; why, isn’t there more to sport than Sachin?
Apropos of Finally, It Weighs Like A Ton (Jan 17), thank you for the abominably inane ‘philosophical’ reasoning. It is indeed new to me that being married to an older woman is a cosmopolitan passion, and that Formula 1 racing and driving fast cars are virtues in which one needs to find the Aristotelian mean. If Sachin is an example of the Aristotelian mean, it is sure to make Aristotle turn in his grave.
Do get out of your well, Samir Chopra. I am an expatriate and sachin has less than nothing to do with my self image. If you have to depend on sachin yours seems to be on shaky ground. There is much more to sport than cricket, perhaps?
@ Siddharth: Yes it is true that there are many in a poor country like ours that dont have the oppurtunities for advancement especially in sports.You are trying to discredit SRTs achievements because he was a middle class Brahmin and thus had more opputunities. Middle class of any caste has equal oppurtunities in india. In fact, being middle class is a deterrant for entry into sport as most middle class famillies would rather swee thei wards being professionaly qualified rather than sport or showbiz (SRT and Madhuri Dixit)
I would credit SRT for being middle class , yet being world class in the field of sport which coincides with india's economic rise, thus firing the imagination of millions of middle class youngsters, some of whom are the MS Dhonis you have mentioned. Thus SRT did break barriers by showing India that world class achievemtn is possible ( again Gavaskar did that in a limited way and kapil dev after him)
It is not SRTs fault that cricket is played only in commonwealth countries and that America has more resources to project Michael Jordan (how many in india play basketball?) So I do think that SRT deserves every bit of praise that goes to him.
I dont mean to nitpick , but before JOrdan, i think Mohammed Ali had reached as dizzying heights with both world fame and financial gains. He was followed by holyfield, tyson, carl lewis. So I think its Ali and not MJ who was the real game changer for blacks (Jesse owens being the trendsetter)
I never said that being middle class Brahmin in Mumbai was sole reason Tendulkar was successful, But denying that he had opportunities that lower caste Hindus or other minorities in India don't or have limited access to, is too narrow a view of his success. Racial barriers don't have to be explicit; in most cases in today's world they are subtle.
Jordan was the first black superstar, do doubt there were black atheletes before him. But he cornered the adulation of the public and media world like no black person had done before him. He broke racial barriers in advertising, no black person was ever a commercial success before him. You should read his biography. Tiger Woods too, he did the same in golf.
Tendulkar happened to be at the right time in the right place with the right talent. IWhat Kambli could and couldnt have done, we will never find out, so its presumptious to assume his failure.
I think it would be an interesting (though futile) exercise to remove all the facilities that Tendulkar had (good schooling at Shardashram, freedom to practise cricket when the family is well off economically, a mentor in Gavaskar ) and then speculate if he still would have got the same success.
Samir Chopra, this article sounds written by an Australian.
@ Siddharth : It is unfair to bring casteism to Tendulkar's achievements. Not all top notch Indian sportsman are Brahmins and not all middle class Brahmins are given equal oppurtunities in India. SRTs achievements only bolsters the coming of age of India's modernity and his achievements instills pride in the overseas indian.Even an Kapil Dev/Gavaskar so not instill such pride when compared to SRT. Also Michael Jordan did not break any race barriers by being an icon in B'ball. There were several black sportsmen/women and several black showmen/women who had donee that already.
Kambli was just not disciplined enough to perform consistently in the top league. One needs a certain mental toughness to survive the fame and fortune and kambli unfortunately was not upto it. Also skill wise kambli was not on par with tendulkar. he could not face the short ball. His lack of technique was exposed when WI visited india in 94-95.
My only grouse in your article was to bring caste unnecessarily into your argument.
Despite being a Mumbaikar and being ready to compromise anything to watch Sachin bat on TV, this article seems too fawning and over rating Sachin's accomplishments.
Sachin's achievements are undergirded by opportunities available to middle class Brahmins liviing in metropolis like Mumbai. While he did grab the opportunity left behind by Gavaskar (which Manjrekar failed miserably at), Kambli did not get the same opportunities or if he did, the Indian cricket moguls had lower tolerance for him. Jordan broke race barriers and was the first black superstar athelete, Tendulkar did not break any barriers.
Being an F1 viewer, married to older woman are can hardly be defined as signs of being adevnturous. They are more of potentially Oedipus and Napoleon complex. So the author should stop making overarching generalizations.
MS Dhoni, Praveen Kumar should be heralded more as heroes in Indian sport . So should be Baichung Bhutia and countless other hockey and soccer players who struggle everyday to gain meaningful success in world sports.
Tendulkar cannot be a cultural conversation starter, for God's sake !!! Cos no-one outside of India and other colonial powers know or care of Tendulkar or cricket.
I would have to disagree with Alwyn . Sachin in the king in Chennai as much as he is in Mumbai .
How exactly is marrying an older woman makes one "cosmopolitan"? Beats me!! :)
Personally I don't think our Y generation Indians look up to Sachin as a role model. They surely respect the man- as a saintly elder brother- but definitely they don't identify with Sachin. Sachin is a very introverted, egoless, calm and quiet family man. Generation Y Indian will rather identify with brash and aggressive sportsmen like Dhoni or Yuvraj Singh.
I completely agree with Alwyn. There are quite a few people out there who just don't like Sachin. They all have their own reasons and they try to find another batsman who can be compared with him. There have been a number of batsmen...lets start with Ravi Shastri, Siddhu, Manjrekar, Azhar, etc. who played with Sachin in his early career. At some point or another, they performed well than Sachin. In the middle of his career, in came batsmen like Ganguly, Dravid, Laxman, etc. Now, in the last part of his career, we have batsmen like Viru, Gambhir, Dhoni, Pathan, etc. With all due respect to these batsmen, they perform well for a period of two, four, may be six years, but Sachin has been performing at a far higher level for 20 plus years.
This is just a comparison between SRT and his Indian teammates. Even, if you broaden this to an international level, you would end with the same conclusion. The fact is Sachin is the best of his generation and probably all-time, both in India and internationally. Whoever tries to argue with this fact, they are just trying to fool themselves. Let's just not bring regionalism or any other reasoning you may have and lets just celebrate a true Indian hero, who is just one of his kind and cannot be bettered.
Samir, nice article, but I want to say one thing: Sachin marrying an older woman or his liking for Formula1, etc. has not done anything to affect his image in anyway. What we have in SRT is a fierce competitor who just gives pleasure at his pretty sight of taking stance at the crease and tearing bowling attacks apart, but who is also a kind, decent human being with a great positive attitude and who is not affected by the fame and money.
Sachin is the GREATEST Batsman of the post -war Era. PERIOD.
I will not throw any statistics to prove Sachin's superiority because Statistics are like Bikini Costumes. What they reveal is interesting, but what they hide is Vital.
I would like to know from Sachin's detractors answers to a few questions...
1) Which shot was invented by Viru/Dravid/Laxman? (Post #1 "Indian Diaspora"
Sachin invented Upper Cut (against Brett Lee, Shoaib etc on bouncy tracks) / PAddled Sweep (Against Warne, Murali,) / Inside out over covers (Vettori, Giles, Warne).
2) For which Batsman (other than DON) a separate bowling Theorey was invented to stop him from scoring? Bodyline was invented to prevent Don for scoring whereas bowling one feet outside leg stump (Warne/Vettori/Giles).
3) Which other Batsman has given nightmares to bowlers (Ask Warne/ Murali/ Shoaib/Andy Caddick). Who are the Batsmen in last 20 years who have completely dominated the bowling?
4) Who will be the highest rated batsman if we had auction for all three forms of the GAme (TEST, ODI T20)?
5) why does 66% Australia feels Sachin is greater than DON (I do not believe so),....
Finally, there is no denying that Dravid & Laxman are GREAT.
But then there is One Amitabh, One Lata, One Rafi, and then there are silghtly lesser Gods.
There is no denying that Dravid and Laxman have served India far better in critical matches or crisis situations. Sachin is a great batsman, no denying that. But, is he the greatest as so generally admitted? Probably no, if you account for the steely batsmanship of Kallis, Inzamam or Dravid.
Samir, my brethren from southern India consider Dravid or Laxman to be better than Sachin depending upon which South Indian state they represent, dadas from Kolkota swear by their beloved "Dada", jharkhandi bhais call Dhoni as "maha dhani" and Delhites rate Sehwag superior to Tendlya. So, pray tell me, which "Indian" diaspora (and consequently, the "nationalistic pride") you have addressed this article to??
I, for one, do feel the joy you refer to.
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