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April 17, 2014
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|EDITORIAL: Cricket and Lust for Lucre
Americans are blissfully unaware of cricket or the charms of that majestic game. Even now, despite the influx of people from the Caribbean and South Asia and a growing popularity of the sport among immigrants from those regions, Americans tend to contemplate the sport with benign bemusement.
Yet for those who are fond of the game, cricket is grace personified. The sight of men in spotless white (often it doesn’t stay spotless long, but that’s a different matter) in a lush green field chasing a cherry-red ball is enough to gladden the heart of any cricket aficionado — particularly the purists, who love the five-day variety, which has the majestic sweep of the novel.
But the times, they are a-changing. Modernity has taken its toll, and the game probably would inevitably have shed its original ponderous form, but something more sinister is at work as well. A bunch of avaricious hustlers, led by the Indian cricket board, are preying on the passionate zeal of the game for South Asians, and have managed to rob the game of the last iota of its beauty and grace, just to make a quick buck, laments Partha Banerjee in this month’s cover story.
Much is riding on the return to normalcy as far as the global economy goes, but economist Ashok Bardhan thinks policymakers have their work cut out. The trouble is, there are four strong forces in today’s global economy — globalization, free-market principles, democracy, and national policy independence — and they sometimes work at cross purposes. Bardhan calls it a quadrilemma.
It’s going to be like putting a square peg in a round hole. Ashok assesses the challenges policymakers will face as they try to nurse the global economy back to health. He asks, tongue-in-cheek: Can we eat our cake, have it too, and trade it in on the global markets?
Sometimes the best way to tell the truth is to tell a story. And that’s exactly what poet, folklorist and anthropologist Ved Prakash Vatuk does in a heartbreakingly poignant autobiographical tale based on his childhood.
Vatuk grew up in a village in western Uttar Pradesh near Meerut. In this touching reminiscence of his own childhood, written in the third person, he draws a vivid and affecting picture of a childhood spent in abject poverty but suffused with love and affection.
His story — we run the first of two installments in this month’s issue — offers a piercing glimpse at the bitter irony of living in a colonized nation, where his family had to suffer because some of its members — particularly his elder brother — chose to refuse to compromise on the principle of independence.