By tweeting seemingly at the behest of the government, Sachin Tendulkar has disappointed millions of his fans both in India and outside the country and there are no two ways about it.
Fans the majority of whom live in Indian villages and work the land for a living, and who worshipped him like god until now. Fans whose love and affection made him the superstar that he is today. Fans who tuned into their radios while ploughing, sowing or harvesting to keep abreast of every single run that he scored in India colours in his day as an international cricketer. Fans who were with him through thick and thin. Who celebrated his triumphs as if they were their own, who grieved with him as if his griefs were theirs. Believe it or not, to them he wasn’t just a cricketer, he was much more than that — he was a beacon of hope in a country where the majority of people even to date struggle to make ends meet.
It’s really heart-breaking that without giving a single thought to their issues, he tweeted a reckless post, to all intents and purposes, in response to Caribbean pop star Rihanna’s tweet that expressed solidarity with the aggrieved Indian farmers who have been demanding that the Indian government should repeal new agricultural laws.
Not just him, a host of stars from Bollywood tweeted the same sentiment totally giving away that they had been following some script given to them by the corridors of power in the country, in this case the Indian government.
If Sachin couldn’t have supported the farmers, he could have at least stayed away from the issue. It was unwise on his part to take a plunge into dirty politics from which there is no getting out, make no mistake. Several questions are now being thrown in his direction.
The farmers’ protest has been going on for two months now, so why didn’t he say anything before? It’s not important which side he is on. It maybe that he thinks the farmers are in the wrong. Fair enough! So why didn’t he say anything when the national capital was laid to siege on Republic Day? Being an ambassador of this country, why didn’t he appeal to them to calm down? And if he thought their demands were legit, why didn’t he then appeal to the government that they ought to sit down with the farmers and come up with some solution agreeable to both parties?
Being an Indian citizen, that’s what he was supposed to do and not wait for a foreign tweet and government pressure before he decides to open his mouth on social media. One wonders if he was repaying the government for the inclusion of his name in Donald Trump’s address last year in India. Yes, we all know how these things work.
Instead of leading the way and finding a solution, did the Master agree to act as a government puppet? The majority of us feel cheated that this — what a wonderful payback — treatment has come from someone we all have worshipped like a god for years now.
It’s high time Indian cricketers realised that just playing cricket with distinction is not enough. They need to keep their eyes and ears open to what is happening around them, especially something of this scale. They need to know that there is much more to this country than just a game of cricket. And most importantly they need to take a stand of their own which should be proof against any pressure. They should be proactive, not reactive.
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