Sachin Tendulkar: Face of corruption in India

In last few weeks, celebrity trial has been in news in India. Celebrity in limelight being Salman Khan. Allegedly, Salman Khan was involved in drunk driving hit-and-run case in May, 2002. He was found guilty of all charges in May 2015. Many people in India are pleading clemency for Salman Khan, citing his good public behavior in years following the incident. [1]

There was another case of a popular Bollywood actor named Sanjay Dutt. Sanjay Dutt was involved in illegal possession of arms which were allegedly used in several bomb blasts in Mumbai in year 1993. During his trial, many people including politicians and people on social networks asked for clemency, on the basis that Sanjay Dutt did a very good job in Bollywood movie Munna Bhai MBBS.

Every one knows importance of role models in a society. Role models are leaders in field of sports, science, art, technology, who inspire next generations, through their work and their conduct in public. India as a modern society, is completely devoid of good role models.

Let me start with biggest role model in Indian sports,  cricket player Sachin Tendulkar. India, a nation of 1.3 billion people has only one popular sport, cricket. I grew up on cricket. When I was a teenager, Sachin Tendulkar was at the peak of his career. I was a big fan.

Over the years, I realized he is a deeply flawed citizen of India. In a team sport, he always put personal milestones and records ahead of team’s success. His desperation to add centuries to his record was so intense, that he would always slow down while approaching a century and waste balls and time during important periods of play, which otherwise could be scored on, by other batsmen. Many fanatic fans for Sachin would say, my attack on him is vile and unfair. They would argue that he played during a period when India did not have good bowling attack, to produce victories. Well, my argument is, every time Sachin was in a situation where he could save a match or win a match for India in fourth innings of test match or second innings of one-day game, he failed miserably. It was he who failed to steady the ship on its course, often times falling to pressure. Compare that with his first innings performance, he had no problem in stacking up centuries because there is no pressure and his selfish desire to add centuries to his record.

Any sports commentator / analyst will tell you, Sachin’s fan base runs into a billion people. Such fan-fare got to Sachin’s head. Now he lives in a world of self-importance and narcissism. Every thing, country, team, fellow country men, takes back-seat for Sachin. What is important is for him is Sachin. In last two years for his career, he scored very low average of 15.3 in 10 innings. Indian cricket board was persuaded to cut short Indian cricket team’s tour of South Africa to accomodate a farewell cricket series for Sachin Tendulkar, against one of the weakest teams in the world, West Indies. Sachin Tendulkar scored his final century, every one took pictures, people celebrated by distributing and eating sweets, and everyone lived happily ever after. The problem being, no one lived happily ever after, a bad precedent was created, and a failed hero was made to look like a loser.

Sachin Tendulkar is one of the highest earning sport person India has ever seen. His earnings from endorsements are comparable to those of Tennis players like Roger Federer and Golfers like Tiger Woods. When a Ferrari sports car was gifted to him, he pleaded government of India to not charge tax on the car, because it was a gift. Isn’t it morally corrupt of him to evade taxes even after being a millionaire multiple times over ?

In a country where 40 percent of population lives below poverty line, it would be anyone’s expectation that privileged ones like Sachin would have a charity foundation to use his resources and influence to help alleviate poverty. Google Sachin Tendulkar’s charity work, and all you find is he will support education of 200 children. Is that all we can expect from him ?

[ There are well known stories that Sachin visits temples late in night, to avoid getting hounded by fans. Here is my speculation, far from what other successful sportsmen do, Sachin, being a deeply superstitious and religious person, prefers to donate millions of rupees to temple trusts who stash their money in foreign banks. ] = Speculation

Last year Sachin was given honorary membership to upper-house of parliament of India. Since then house has been in session for 178 days. Sachin attended 6 sessions, he participated in zero debates and asked zero questions. When asked by media, he made an excuse that his brother has heart surgery. Well, I am sure his brother had other members of the family to support him. During 1999 world cup, held in United Kingdom, Sachin’s father passed away. He went back to attend funeral, and within a matter of 2-3 days, returned back to play matches for the cricket team. He mentioned, his father would have wanted him to continue playing for the country. Wouldn’t his brother want him to perform duties that he took oath to perform. Making decisions in legislative assembly is a very prestigious position and with it comes lot of responsibility. Sachin, the human being, failed miserably in performing his duties which a billion people bestowed upon him. Isn’t it morally corrupt of him, to accept the position as member of parliament, get paid tax payer’s money and not perform his duty ?

My question is, is it moral corruption to still treat Sachin Tendulkar as a demi-god and not question his moral corruption. Many Indian people blame government and local police for corruption. I believe corruption comes from common man before it comes from government’s office. I feel, if we need to weed out corruption from government’s office, we need to weed it out of common man’s head.

I can say with utmost confidence that Sachin Tendulkar is a very bad role model for younger generations in India. And it is a sad fact about modern day Indian society.

Sachin Tendulkar: Face of corruption in India

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