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Stop This Monkey Business...

I am penning down my thoughts on the eve of the Harbhajan Hearing...

The Indian board has categorically stated two things – firstly that its not too happy with using the additional evidence from the stump cam and mic, in this hearing, secondly it would be calling off the tour (read the one off Twenty20 match and the Tri-Nation One day International series) if Bhajji is charged with racial abuse.

I am not too sure if either of these two issues is in the interest of the game…. Before anyone raises the issue let me clarify that I am an Indian and a proud one at that.

Coming to the usage of fresh evidence, firstly the fulcrum of this case (appeal) is the fact that Bhajji is innocent. The BCCI seems to accept that unquestionably, even Tendulkar vouches to that effect. If that is the case and we are a hundred percent sure that Bhajji did not utter the "M" word, why should we back off from any additional evidence? We should in fact unearth as much evidence as possible and make them available to the person hearing the appeal… and in case we are objecting to these fresh evidences being used, then we are by our own act, accepting that there is a possibility that Bhajji might have in fact used a word construed as racial against Symmo.

Another line of argument seems to suggest that we Indians do not consider the usage of the word Monkey as a racial abuse. Well that argument does not hold water in any case as, we cannot go around spitting in public places, say in Singapore and ask for not being penalized as spitting in public places in most parts of India is not considered a punishable offense. Whether Harbhajan used the word is a different question altogether, but to argue that he did not know that it is a word that has racial connotations is a feeble line of defense.

Coming to the issue of pulling out of the tour in case Bhajji is indicted, well the less said the better. It is like saying we will attend the trial and we sincerely hope it’s a fair one; however we will not accept a verdict if it goes against us. Then why go to the trial in the first place? Isn’t this intimidation? Isn’t this a very deplorable case of using one’s financial clout in the game? Isn’t this exactly what many Indians resent, say in case of how America imposes itself on rest of the World, politically and militarily? A better alternative is to skip the trial and the tour…. Or else what is the message we are sending out? This for all reasons will be a case based mostly on circumstantial evidence and to me it appears that if Bhajji is cleared for lack of evidence we will happily accept it and probably celebrate the fact that ICC has been fair (may be even press charges against Mike Procter) and in case Bhajji is proven guilty, we will get on to the streets deploring how ICC is biased against non-whites!!!

Well let me reiterate that this is not a case of Indian pride, nor is it a case of the sub continental teams versus the rest of the cricket world, or by any stretch of imagination a case of colored people versus the whites as many experts would like us to believe. Just because an Indian ran a car with explosives into an airport in London, all Indians do not become terrorists… in case there is conclusive evidence against Bhajji in this case, just because an Indian racially abused a black man on the sports field, all Indians do not become racists… On one hand we are the same people who stone the family of our cricketers, burn their effigies, damage their personal property when the team loses a tournament or series for cricketing reasons and on the other we are ready to go to any lengths to support a player of the team, even if he is proven guilty on sportsmanship issues…

Of course as an ardent Indian fan, I do wish and hope that Bhajji has not used the word and that he gets cleared in the hearing held tomorrow … however if he has, I would not want him to go Scot-free just because he happens to play for the richest and most influential board in the world of cricket… if that happens we as a nation will be bringing in greater disrespect to the gentleman’s game than anything else in the recent past has….


Priya Prem said...

What is racial abuse in one Country is not necessarily racial abuse in another. Am sure we are sensible enough to know what is admissable. Not that the Australians are less vicious, I feel there is no harm in playing the Gentleman's Game the way it should be. Defeats the purpose of wearing white clothing they still wear for test matches. Harbhajan has lost my respect for sure

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