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Tuesday, Oct 26, 2021
Outlook.com

Apotheosis Now

It’s unusual that a land of so many gods seeks so many more

Apotheosis Now
Amit Haralkar
Apotheosis Now
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

India is a land of miracles, wonders and gods. The Hindus alone have more than 330 million gods and goddesses, more than 25 per cent of the country’s population. Despite that we yearn for more gods. It seems to be a particularly Indian tendency. Anyone or anything can be raised to a godly status. Buddha has been appropriated as an avatar of Vishnu; we turned cricket into a religion; and from the cricket field and its 22-yard pitch we off and on raise gods; in the dark of the cinema hall, we create gods; in search of solace, we rely on self-proclaimed godmen and godwomen; in politics, the cult of the personality is in fashion. The trouble with such behaviour, besides the shock we subject ourselves to in the routine failure of these gods, is that we fall into the habit of hyperbole. Individuals—and I feel sad for them about this­—are projected as much bigger and as more powerful than they are. For now, of course, it’s a god called Sachin Tendulkar the nation’s attention is focused on.

Sachin’s 200th Test match at Wankhede stadium in Mumbai, his final match, was indeed an emotional moment. To be fair, it was a time to bid emotional farewell to a cricketing hero, one whose batting millions have delighted in, one whose statistics segue into superlatives. But where was the need to rush and make him a Bharat Ratna? Also, any particular need to time the award to his departure? Isn’t it necessary to allow time to judge if a person reflects the soul and spirit of India before conferring on him the nation’s highest civilian honour? More important, who should decide who is worthy of it, and what criteria should be used?

For now, however, let us focus on Sachin. No doubt, he is a great cricketer­—humble, calm, a paragon of sportsmanlike conduct and grace. But it is also true that he hasn’t...

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