Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rewarding the Heroes

Let's have some perspective here, shall we?

On 2nd April 20011, 11 men trotted into the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, accompanied by the roars of over 30,000 people. For the next 8 hours, they played their hearts out, against an opponent who had handed them one of their most humiliating World Cup defeats. In the face of incredible pressure, they not just survived, but thrived, and finally, in an emphatic gesture by their captain, won the biggest prize in cricket and brought home the world cup after 27 long years.

For their heroic display, members of the team were showered with accolades. Cash prizes, swanky cars and luxury villas were theirs for the taking. Scant hours after the final match, each player was richer by a few crores, and money was still pouring in. Here's the list, for those interested

Now let's take a look at another story
On May 22nd 2010, 85 fire department personnel rushed to the Mangalore airport. Air India Express IC 812 had crashed while trying to land, and was lying in a deep gorge. The air was thick with smoke, flames and the screams of the injured and the dying. For the next 5 days, these firemen battled the blaze, rescuing 6 people from certain death as well as digging out 158 dead bodies. It was the worst air crash in India in a decade. Karnataka CM BS Yedyurappa, after the customary site-vist and sad-head-wagging promised a suitable reward for the men in uniform.

Well, their reward is finally here. And it's a princely sum of ...Rs. 100 each. That too, a scant 11 months after the incident. The reward has been given by the Karnataka Government...the same government that has promised 25 lakh rupees for every member of India's world-cup winning squad.

is wrong with you people???

Apparently, the reward is because of some mysterious "rules" that State Fire Department Officials are not ready to divulge. But hey, them's the rules. Apparently the rules say nothing about adding drops to the pools of money our cricketers are swimming in, a la Uncle Scrooge. But somehow, people who fight disasters and save lives are suddenly bound by these rules.

Funny thing, I don't really feel angry at the politicians for doing this. Politics, after all, is one giant popularity contest. Like yesteryear's zamindars and today's rappers throwing money at hookers, politicians shower cricketers with wealth to share some of the spotlight. Couple that with the warm fuzzy feeling fans get when their rich idols become richer, and you have the perfect PR exercise.

But I am angry at those who are not enraged by this. Angry at the blind idolatry that allows such things to happen. Angry at the humiliation of real heroes, most of whom will not see the kind of money in their entire lifetimes that the cricketers earned in a day.

I have no beef with our cricketers, and I do believe sporting heroes should be honoured. But there is something very wrong with the example being set here. Something very wrong with the message that winning the world cup gets you more money than you ever dreamed of, but saving lives gets you a slap in the face dressed up as a reward.


zephyr said...

Politicians can't be compared to the zamindars of yore because the largesse showered on cricketers by the governments of various states is from the public money. And yes, politics has become one giant PR exercise, where anything goes. Am I angry!

Suranjana said...

i am angry at those snobbish people who would still say, "whatever happened, happened for good..", i am angry at those who would rather see their favorite players get 'richer by a few crores' than see some brave servicemen get a justified reward for their bravery...alas, we live in a country where this is a common, everyday affair. but wait, isn't that the same with all the countries in the world? isn't ignorance bliss?
even i've got nothing against cricketers, but i like to acknowledge the fact that there do exist other sports. i like to acknowledge AND RESPECT the fact that there are other people, lots of people out there who are struggling everyday, risking their lives, sacrificing their own desires and saving every penny to help the poor, the needy, the hungry and the ailing.
..........And i hate to admit the fact that very few people are even interested to know this amazing truth.

politics IS all about PR. there will soon be a day when political parties will hire business management graduates to form marketing strategies, improve their slogans and create systematic approaches for highly targeted projects..oops! campaigns.

Ajesh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ajesh said...

SHOCKED! MOVED! And AGITATED! That is my reaction is after reading this post. We Indians are like Ostriches. We burry our heads in order to avoid looking at the ugly monster named TRUTH! Of course Zamindars can be compared to the politicians? Both of their ways of becoming rich are the same! Politicians rely or rather exploit our hard earned money, and zamindars? Well, almost everyone knows about “khajna,” the forced tax they implied on the poor peasants of Bengal! Then where’s the difference?

I think we must spread the link of this post on social media websites so that more and more Indians can know the truth. Yes, Indian cricket team did a great job out there by beating Srilanka on the World Cup final! But what about those fire fighters?? Seriously, I think we must shoot all of our politicians mercilessly so that we can form a new nation… where the real heroes can get 1 crore each!
Once again, a brilliant post!

Being a loyal reader of your blog… I must appreciate the way you have attacked our system with your razor sharp words! What exactly can define you? God of comparison? You surely are an expert about the contrasts of life. The black with the white… from the delights of roadside fast food centers to the TAJ! From 1crore with 100 rupees! Personally, your blog works on me in many different ways… as an eye opener and how WORDS… simple words can be used so brilliantly to form such a staggering post!

At the end… yeah people who read this post will become angry! But what’s the point of having a nation full of angry people if we cannot change anything? I want more n more anger… for that unless a whole nation BURSTS!!! And for that… we need more n more posts from you… from people like you…

sneha said...

It's never really too late is it????? Sorry that i did not even take a look at this post. I don't know if the scenario in India will ever change or not? I don't even know if the real heroes will ever get more acclaimed than the 'celebs'. But one thing is for sure.... Blogs as this need to be taken to thousand others out there (including the great politicians) as an example of - "The pen is always mightier than sword"! hats off!