Poor ole MS Dhoni! The Indian ODI and T20 captain had just left behind an extremely miserable year where he didn’t win a single series and lost Chennai Super Kings, the IPL team he had so painstakingly built from scratch.
Now the New Year has rewarded him with a non-bailable warrant for a case that was registered way back in 2013. It pertains to him coming in the form of Vishnu on the cover of a magazine.
It’s quite bizarre because unlike some other religions, we Hindus actually love our many Gods and role-playing them. Ram Leela is a north Indian classic being played and replayed for ages and even down south in Kerala, those who play Gods in Theyyam are actually worshipped.
We love dressing our children as Gods like Ram and Krishna who both happen to be avatars of Vishnu. So Dhoni playing Vishnu is nothing unusual. The very fact that this avatar is holding modern day FMCG products also means nothing because we Indians try to place modernity with the ancient quite comfortably all the time.
Just visit all the Durga Pandals all across India and you will see how they beautifully capture modern contemporary themes with the divine. Every year you will find something different and current. Secondly, it’s not that Dhoni dressed up as Vishnu and appeared with these products on some public stage. A photographer clicked him, a designer photoshopped him, the editor cleared the cover and the publisher is legally responsible for all content.
With that one must say that Dhoni has got an extremely raw deal. First of all there doesn’t seem to be much merit in the case (can’t say too much as the matter is sub judice) and even if there was a problem, then just the publisher and editor should have been called one thinks.
But a “non-bailable” warrant?! The people who have filed the case have shown a huge case of intolerance one must say. For in a national climate where intellectuals routinely rubbish Hinduism, a very perplexed Dhoni must find himself wondering how he has landed in this soup.
Should he focus on the Australia series and T20 World Cup or should he focus on the court case and appeal to the higher courts for evading jail? As if Dhoni didn’t have enough problems of his own. This is not the first time that Dhoni is being treated so shabbily.
Yuvraj Singh’s father Yogaraj has been blasting him non-stop in the public domain saying things like: “Dhoni was nothing. He has become a God in cricket just because of media... Honestly, if I were a media person, I would have slapped Dhoni... Dhoni is arrogant. The way Ravana’s proud came to an end, Dhoni will also suffer some day. He considers himself much above Ravana… God will do justice…”
Imagine hearing all that and knowing that the Indian fans demanded Yuvi’s retirement after his super slow knock in the 2014 T20 World Cup final. Yet Yuvi finds himself in the 2016 T20 WC squad. One must say that Dhoni is a highly tolerant person indeed.
(Too tolerant—If you go by the critics of Rohit Sharma, Ishant Sharma, Suresh Raina and Sir Ravindra Jadeja!)
In fact the extreme act of intolerance remains the incident when Indian cricket fans pelted his house with stones when India crashed out of the ODI World Cup in 2007 even though Dhoni was just one of the juniors in the team at that time.
Guess what? After that as captain he won two World Cups, but the fans continued to be intolerant. In an ODI when we were doing poorly some miscreants did come to his new house with stones and the police had to be called in.
If Dhoni’s family had said that they were alarmed at India’s intolerance and wanted to leave the country then they would have valid grounds to at least say so.
Instead we have people like Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan who have been treated really well by the country making alarming statements.
Dhoni is the only man in the history of cricket to have taken his team to the ICC No. 1 rankings in Tests, ODIs and T20s. He is the only man in the history of cricket to have taken won all three ICC Trophies—ODI and T20 World Cups and the ICC Champions Trophy.
The only man to have won all that along with an IPL and Champions Trophy!
And this is how we tolerate him!