A dead ‘Tiger’, black bucks & cricket hypocrisy

SUNAAD RAGHURAM writes: Cricket in the bush. In a clearing of the famed Phinda Game Reserve in the vast grass lands of the Kwa Zulu Natal region of South Africa.

With rhinoceroses and cheetahs gawking from around long on; lions and elephants gazing in wonderment from around deep extra cover; with leopards and buffaloes glancing at the wicket from wide mid on.

A 12-over match between Indian and South African veterans grandiosely titled ‘World Cricket Legends in the Wild’.

Yet another version of the game.

Yet another concoction—-one more dimension to it, all for the personal aggrandisement and amusement of a privileged set of men who once padded up or held the cricket ball for India. And in this case, South Africa too.

Out of work and over-the-hill cricketers whose names figure in the veterans category, like Kapil Dev, Dilip Vengsarkar, Roger Binny and Ajay Jadeja are eminently entitled to their fun. Especially when they still find themselves in circulation one way or the other. And especially when someone else is paying for it.

Be it cricket on ice around the cold peaks of Jungfrau or playing a game in the bush where the ball goes for six if you perhaps hit it over the herd of zebra in the distance!

And then, there was Sharmila Tagore (in picture, above), who flipped the coin at the start of the game and applauded from one of the safari vans that formed the perimeter of the boundary.

How wonderful.

How nice to be part of the picnic and get some stress off the mind. To stretch out under the sycamore figs and the weeping boerbean trees, sipping a sherry on a perfect bushveld day under the glow of the South African sky.

But to hear about “the concept of utilising sport as a means of raising conservation awareness—an idea close to the heart of the late M.A.K. Pataudi” was a bit like hearing about the leopard in the bush holding a sermon on the goodness of eating papaya for breakfast!

The very same man of style and debonair deportment, who once so shockingly shot black buck for fun in the company of an equally degenerated bunch of friends who were either drunk with power and their reach in high places or plain old alcohol that day, when they randomly pressed their triggers at one of the most beautiful and gentlest of creatures on the planet?

Or does the conservation manual, in some inside page and in some less understood paragraph, as read with the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972, sanction the shooting of black buck and the subsequent absconding from the police for a few weeks?

I’m a bit confused.

How fake can fake get; how hollow and quite utterly without even a semblance of responsibility can statements get. All to see a few lines in print the next day at the crack of dawn.

The cricket match in the bush was conceptualised by a group called, ‘Beyond the Boundaries’. Jaideep Sinh Parmar of the group has gone on to say that the enterprise was well received and beyond their expectations.

Well received by whom, I wonder.

The hippopotamus and the nyala?

Also read: How we successfully Save Our Tigers on page 3

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7 Responses to “A dead ‘Tiger’, black bucks & cricket hypocrisy”

  1. Subir Ghosh Says:

    I am glad someone was not taken in by the Tiger eulogies. This piece should have been written much earlier.

  2. twistleton Says:

    Loved the second para :)

  3. Sudhindra Says:

    Hypocrisy indeed. Amazing how India’s clamor for celebrities seems to begin with Bollywood and ends with cricket with nothing in between. Nothing against the ex cricketers who are having a gala time but our vision as a country for spreading the good word about conservation is limited to just holding yet another benefit cricket match.

  4. Andy Says:

    very well written !

  5. Adil Says:

    This write up reflects the typical desi small town mindset of harping on how bad some one is, particularly when they are rich and famous from the cities. What the erstwhile Nawab did is some thing we all do every day. From the foundation stones of our homes which are actually ripped illegally from the quarries around Ramanagar, to the sand stolen from numerous streams across the countryside’s streams for use in concrete, to the bricks that are baked using illegally extracted wood, each one of us is responsible for the loot of our nation’s precious natural resources. It’s heights of hypocrisy to expect the rich and famous to follow the rules by the book, when the culture of bending rules is ingrained in our very souls. Oh, by the way this bad ‘Nawab’ has helped thousands gain eyesight by being an active promoter of eye donation. Also, the foundation he has left behind has helped hundreds of poor girls gain education, in a state where more girls are killed before being born than any where on earth. How about writing one about the good things this guy has done?

  6. maisuru Says:

    In bad taste ! You do not mock at the dead ! Besides either you are a vegetarian or an Non-vegetarian. But what you eat in the end whether a chicken or a goat or cow or a black-buck is all same but for some man made laws. It was only in 1972 that Black buck was declared as an endangered animal. Blackbuck antelope are a Class 1 declared pest animal in Queensland.

  7. Goldstar Says:

    Well-written and shows the Page 3 celebrity hypocrites for what they are.

    @Adil, If the cricket match had been organised to promote Eye-donation, you wouldn’t have seen this article. It is just to show up the hypocrisy of “conservation” efforts.

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