The Politics of Sport in South Asia
Subhas Ranjan Chakraborty, Shantanu Chakrabarti, and Kingshuk Chatterjee
Egyptians, Romans, Greeks and even barbaric tribes had some notion of sport, leisure, and physical activities. Their conception varied according to their level of civilization and mental growth but one thing was common among them, they believed in the value of sport and physical work.
This truth was not limited to them, every civilization, in every part of the world, in its every phase strongly believed in it.
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Politics and vying for politics are an integral part of human life and society, so political interference in sports is a common phenomenon. The reviewing book explores the same theme.
1. The first introductory chapter focuses on the history, and development of sports and influence in politics.
2. The second chapter is about the modernity in sports and how they emerged, developed and progressed in India. Using the post-colonial theories of alternative modernism and developmental studies, the Hanuman Vyayam Prasarak Mandal (HVPM) Amravati, India, influence has been analysed in the colonial period.
3. Yoga has its root in the Sanskrit word, Yuj, meaning to unite, to tie up. Some historians even claim that Yoga is older than Hinduism as a religion. But in recent times, there has been a resurgence in Yoga and its use for physical and mental fitness.
In 2023 it was estimated that the total worldwide value of the Yoga market was USD 114 billion. India being a Hindu majority country is enjoying a rising sociopolitical influence globally.
4. Though India and Australia are located in the Northern and Southern hemispheres, they are linked by one commonality, Cricket. This game provides them with a common framework to communicate and assess their relations. Once colonies of Great Britain and now members of the Commonwealth, cricket is a shared heritage of both.
5. In 2004, the Cricket Tour of the Pakistani team of India was marked for its importance as a bridge of peace between these arch-rivals of South Asia.
The bilateral relationship between the two countries was marred by the nuclear experiments, the Kargil War, the political and strategic use of the 9/11 attacks by India, the militant attack on the Indian Parliament and the resultant military deployment by both sides. In such a tumultuous scenario, Cricket and cricketing would surely simmer down the heated emotions from both sides.
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6. The sixth chapter covers the six straight gold medals won by India in the Summer Olympics of 1956 in hockey against Pakistan led by Balbir Singh Sr.
7. Money makes the mare go and when there is no money the mare will not go! The same is true for the charm and profitability of Indian cricket for its players. Who earns much more than other players of games. Print and electronic media, films and even national politics, all glorify cricket!
This flux of cricketing is not new to the Indians. When on 16 December 1926 at Bombay Gymkhana, the MCC cricket team was taken on by a strong team of Hindus, which is still remembered for the Indian nationalistic spirit.
8. West Bengal has a history of uniqueness of its own. When cricket was the most popular game in all parts of British India, football was the favourite game of them. Mohammadan Sporting Club, the East Bengal, and Mohun Bagan were some of the famous football clubs.
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9. How the advertisement of a woman’s beauty cream misled the young Indian females to buy and use them for whitening their colour. How black or tanned skin could be converted into white skin broadening their social and economic sphere like their former colonial masters!
10. Both Indian television channels and cricket have become indispensable to each other. Cricket and cricketing got a lot of coverage on these satellite channels. Cricket, Indian nationalism, and television channels both entertainment and news, have mingled with one another.
1998 to 2005 span of Indian television, cricket and their India-ization have been covered. 11. The 2001 Bollywood blockbuster movie, Lagaan, portrays Cricket in colonial India as a civilizing agent for the Indians, a notion more suitable to the Indian bourgeoisie than to Indian nationalists.
The portrait of cricket would have to be factorized in light of the socio-economic and nationalistic fervour of that age which was being filmed in this movie.
12. The internet and cyber world are always abuzz with cricket and cricketing. Almost all South Asian country’s cyberspace is thronged with cricket and its e-commerce. No other sport has taken so strong a hold on the minds of South Asians as cricket has taken.
Murtaza Kaleem an educator, freelance writer, movie-watcher, melodious music listener and an avid reader about International Relations and World Politics with a decade long experience of education and teaching to students of different sociological and economic backgrounds. My social links are;