A lot has been said about Sachin Tendulkar's 'I am an Indian first' statement. The author wishes to make it clear that this post is not a defence of Tendulkar. He does not need to be defended.
I find it amazing how pathetic the Shiv Sena has become. To launch an attack on Sachin Tendulkar, just to whip up regional hysteria. First and foremost- they said Tendulkar has played 20 years for the BCCI. I strongly object. Tendulkar has always played for only ONE entity, and that is INDIA. Of course, the concept will be hard to explain to these bigoted Maharashtrians. (The author points out that he is a Maharashtrian).
A lot is being said about 26/11 these days. During those troubled times, I remember an RBS advert. Sachin speaking in a comforting voice - 'I play for India, now, more than ever.' I remember that victory against England, to soothe frayed nerves. I don't remember where the MNS and the SS were at that time. I don't remember them demanding that Maharashtrian commandos carry out the operation. I don't remember them doing anything. On the other hand, a year later, with all threat to self gone, they went and protested in front of Leopolds.
I'm surprised that the verbal battle with Tendulkar didn't begin earlier. If you look back, the roles of politicians and Tendulkar have always been antithetical. Over the past 20 years, politicians have done everything to rip the fabric of this country apart. The BJP divided us into Hindus and others. The SS divided us into Maharashtrians and South Indians. The MNS is trying to divide us into Maharashtrians and others. And over that same period of time, Tendulkar has always been there. Always there to heal this broken country. While his bat talked, for those fleeting moments, we were not Hindus, not Muslims, not Christians, not any other sect. For those moments we were not East, West, North or South Indians. We were Indians. Bound together by the majesty of one man.
Who is Bal Thakeray, then, to question Sachin, OUR Sachin? What has he done over the past twenty years for India? Other than trying very hard to tear it apart, what is his contribution? What has he done for Maharashtrians, other than giving us a bad name? We are not bigoted, intolerant fools like the SS and the MNS. We're decent, sensible, normal people.
The whole 'divide and rule' thing is bit old, really. It worked very well hundreds of years ago. Politicians still get some mileage out of it these days. It's got to stop. And it will not stop until WE put an end to this. It will not stop until we stand united against this intolerant mindset of almost all our politicians. Are we all up for it?