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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cricket in India

The story goes like this. It was the last week of December, 1960, and India were playing Pakistan at the Brabourne Stadium. On the second morning of the match, while some forty thousand people crowded into Brabourne, a smaller but not less intense crowd gathered in an Irani restaurant outside. This eatery had been chosen by Dr Lohia for a press conference. 

To a group of assembled journalists, the good doctor thundered on about how the game of cricket symbolized our continuing colonisalism, and how the last Englishman to rule India was complicit in this. Throw out Nehru, he said, and we can all happily start playing kabaddi. 

The scribes departed, to file their stories. My informant is the only person still living who saw what happened next. Apparently, after the journalists had all gone, Dr Lohia walked across to the nearest paanwallah, asked for a jodi of his favourite ek sau bis kanauji, and then continued: ‘Kya Hanif out ho gaya kya?’ The answer came back, 'No, Hanif Mohammed is still batting."

from the face book of Roopen Roy

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