May 31, 2020
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Fellow Travellers For Now

The IPL is ‘crass materialism’, but a dry as dust Left can only watch

Fellow Travellers For Now

Kochi is palpably excited about the IPL coming to town. Among those who aren’t enthused is S. Krishnamurthy, area secretary of the CPI(M) in Ernakulam North, who sits in his red-floored office pining for the pristine purity of cricket. “It’s crass commercialisation of sport, it’s no longer cricket,” he says. “It’s there only to make money.” That being so, the party would not look at the IPL with favour, would it?

Well, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Sports minister M. Vijayakumar has said that the government would try to ensure an easy passage to the IPL, including an early end to the renovation of the JN Stadium and giving clearances to the new Kerala Cricket Association stadium. It appears that the Left coalition is unwilling to oppose this “crass commercialisation” of cricket, preferring to wait and gauge the people’s reaction to the tournament. Possibly that’s why finance minister Thomas Issac refused to discuss IPL when contacted by Outlook.

In the corridors of another CPI(M) office, a Democratic Youth Federation of India official said on a condition of anonymity that they’re maintaining a neutral stance at present. But, he said, they’re opposing Union minister Shashi Tharoor’s involvement with the IPL, and demanding a probe into his role as well as his assets. And though Tharoor has stated he has no stakes in the Kochi franchise, the DYFI official isn’t convinced.

He further says the DYFI doesn’t know whether to oppose the IPL itself, “because the youth might support it”, and proceeds to lament the youth’s indifference to politics or ideology. Writer K.L. Mohana Varma also says the same, but without regret. “The young generation doesn’t care about politicians, politics or ideology,” he says. “And what sort of Communism is here anyway? How many politicians travel by train or live non-luxurious lives? Even DYFI holds meetings in 2-star hotels”.

Varma says the Left now resembles other parties. About socialist belief in Kerala, he says, “The ideology is dead, buried, irrelevant.”

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