Here's an impromptu and completely unplanned reflection linking these two rather disparate issues.
The only cricket matches I can remember watching (may be I watched as much as 50% of both the matches) in the last decade were the India-Pakistan semi-final and India-Sri Lanka final of the 2011 World Cup.
So all this brouhaha over IPL matches leaves me only perplexed. Apart from authenticity issues, are not cricket matches just boringly slow? Consider that there is a mini-break after every ball is bowled.
People are willing to spend so much time and emotional energy on these matters ... it's just baffling to me.
I wish people of India found the sight of little kids on the streets begging or picking rags shocking. Have we become so inured to these fundamental injustices and indignities?
Cricket is so irrelevant that I won't react with more than a yawn if all the cricketers perished in some unnatural manner ... say, a plane crash.
So, forget cricket.
Take the other recent issue which has attracted much attention and debate — that of the issue of violence against women (VAW).
That is surely deserving of as much attention as we can pay though the superficial analysis often leaves me disappointed.
There is the issue of corruption which rightly attracts much attention.
Here's the 'REVOLUTIONARY' metaphor I wish to suggest:
Imagine incidents of VAW taking place publicly on public streets in front of everyone and everyone just keeps walking right by. Simply because we have gotten used to these incidents.
I consider all the instances of children having their childhood robbed away from them to be as ghastly and inhuman as any form of VAW.
It's as if those horrific incidents of December 16 and others of similar nature before and since (indeed, some of which are perpetrated against 5 year old girls) are happening EVERYDAY in front of our eyes and we choose to do nothing, not even take notice, not object, not take action, not bother to try to end, just NOTHING.
Is it possible to imagine a future where even ONE kid seen at a traffic light during the scorching summer afternoon heat of Delhi becomes as big a news as that of VAW perpetrated against a 5 year old or 25 year old?
And lastly, I think JFK's quote is probably out of context here. And indeed, when you think about that quote in the American context, whether the America of 1962 or 2022, I think America or Europe or Japan prosper not so much because their citizens are doing stuff for their 'country' but simply because the folks there are fundamentally more driven. I am not saying that such a quality of being 'driven' is 'genetic' or anything ... certainly not ... since Indians (or IITians ... if I may 'over-simplify') often get out of India and acquire similar qualities of being 'driven' and become Vinod Dhams, Vinod Khoslas, or Kalpana Chawlas.
It would be enough to make India great — to the extent that we consider the U.S., Europe, or Japan 'great' — if Indians were as driven as people of those nationalities. The driver can simply be a desire to amass great personal wealth ... as simple as that!
I believe the average American is motivated by NOTHING more than the desire to make money and all the 'stuff' that money can buy.