Politics beyond sports shores
From time immemorial the sages have always tried to inculcate love and goodwill among people. One of the primary reasons for this is that humans have evolved beyond the mental reasoning abilities of all other creatures that mother earth could offer on her platter. Yet, however much the humans look to be more sophisticated than their wilder cousins, the inner primate wins the day on most occasions and this is why we indulge in war, hatred and deception.

How does all these matters printed above relate to sports –the subject that we here in this column are involved in? No direct link or it is just that sport is a contest between two parties, where humans indulge in as a past time or a keep-fit regime.
Indian celebrity stakeholders trying to reasonout their decision

For the rest of the creations the contest comes as a case of survival where the fit and the agile go on to live another day while the weaker links perish. Even among the great cats and other animals jousting among the younger litter ends up as a case study of who takes the lions share later-on in life.
At the same time rivalry in sport makes the adrenalin in the human body tick-on. More intense the contest between two parties becomes more adrenalin keeps on pumping and that contest becomes a spectator sport where the others opt to watch while the equal parties go contesting.
However in spite of these narrations, sport has grown within its own peripheries and humans have grown to enjoy it as a spectator sport especially during the last one hundred and fifty years and in the last fifty years as a commercially driven television sport.

With the television taking the lions share of the rights and began going directly into the sitting halls of the people on a global scale some other viruses like match fixing and sports being taken as a political tool has been taking pride of place more than the actual sport itself. The reason, the television audience in sport has grown to be such a huge one globally and is watched more frequently at the sitting hall than the others.

Politics dabbling with sports has become the biggest detrimental factor that has clearly come as an impediment to the stability of sport.

The Indian sub-continent has always been a political hot spot with neighbours India and Pakistan indulging in a series of wars since the separation of the two countries by the then British rulers. At the same time the very game that the British Raj inculcated there as one country – cricket took deep root among the ethnic population and stayed on even after the separation of the two Asian giants. As a result cricket has become a tool that the politicians have begun to use to vent their frustrations.

There was a time when tensions were high between the sub continental giants India and Pakistan they found a God healer in the cross-boarder cricket diplomacy with India Rajiv Ghandi and Pakistan’s Zia-ul-Haq leading the two nations. The ploy worked to a great extent and the giant neighbours who were arch rivals in the true sense of the word built bridges. Thereafter there was huge interest among the people of the two countries whenever there was a series taking place between the two countries while the political cold-war went on behind the curtains. With the huge population in the two countries making the Indian sub-continent the biggest cricket television audience in the World and making it the richest and the most influential cricket conclave in the world took the volatility of the situation several degrees higher.

The sports Status-quo remained between India and Pakistan until 2008 in Mumbai, India's largest city, by terrorist attacks from Pakistan. This new development and the internal strife in Pakistan escalating, things began to sour and all cricket exchanges ceased between the two countries and the situation culminated in all Pakistan individual players being ignored at this year’s IPL players auction.

This latest development has opened up another can of worms. This was openly a government projected policy but, a so called corporate decision.

Reactions to this situation have been many. Rajasthan Royals coach Darren Berry lashed out at the Indian Premier League authorities for “humiliating” the Pakistani players in the January 19 auction and alleged “politics and foreign affairs got in the way of cricket decisions”.

Berry said his team was eyeing Umar Akmal but something “sinister was bubbling behind the scenes”, resulting in the collective snub to the Pakistani players in the auction in Mumbai. Then India’s home minister P Chidambaram also has voiced his disappointment on the cash rich league’s snub to cricketers from Pakistan.

Describing some of them as “among the best Twenty20” cricket players, he said “these players were coming as individuals; it was not a Pakistan team.”

“I think it is a disservice to cricket that some of these players were not picked. I don’t know why the IPL teams acted in the manner they acted. But certainly to suggest that there was a hint or nudge from the government is completely untrue,” the minister told an Indian news channel.

However the boundaries within Bollywood stars Shilpa Shetty and Preity Zinta have added a new twist to the IPL affair by claiming that they were threatened into snubbing Pakistani cricketers at the auction.
According to a report by an Australian publication ‘The Age’, Shetty told India’s ‘Mid-Day’ that threats were made against her team and any subsequent Pakistan cricketer picked by her franchise.

“You must look at it pragmatically and see that we have had these people who are constantly threatening,” Rajasthan co-owner Shetty told Indian publication Mid-Day. “It's not something we hold against the Pakistani players.

“We completely understand the situation but as franchise owners are we willing to take that risk? If something happens to the Pakistani players, the onus lies on us and who is going to take responsibility for a situation like that?

“When we said 'availability', we wanted complete assurance that those players would be available in the country and that we were going to be able to provide security for them,” she added.

Then in the other development an Indian Political party leader Shiv Sena has taken cudgels against the visiting Australian players in the IPL for an completely un-sports related series of incidents where Indian students living in Australia being man-handled on a regular basis by a section of the Australians. But, the Indians have turned this into a politically sensitive issue.

Where does all this take us? Why can’t politicians leave sports alone and sportsmen/women leave politics to the lesser beings who indulge in it?
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