New India or New Banana Republic

April 26, 2010

Shobhan Saxena

While you were glued to your flat screen, with your eyeballs popping out every time the ball was hit for a six, in a dark corner of India – in a Haryana village very close to the national capital – a dog was barking. Since it was a Dalit dog (in India, even dogs have caste), the upper caste Jaats were getting all riled up. So they decided to teach the dog a lesson. A bunch of them surrounded a Dalit house and set it on fire. Inside the house were trapped an 18-year-old girl and her old father. Since the girl was physically challenged and could not move out of the burning house, she and her father were engulfed and consumed by the fire. This is how people teach a lesson to dogs in New India: by making the poor, lower castes die like dogs.

Even as you were glued to TV, watching the IPL drama – both on the field and off field – a few more things happened. Highly dangerous radioactive material affected several people in a scrap market of Delhi; more than 100 people died in the cow-belt areas as mercury touched 43 degree mark; more people died of hunger and starvation across the country; new figures revealed that the number of poor in India stands at 800 million and not 327 million as claimed by the government; and it was reported that the government was tapping the phones of important political leaders. It may also be tapping the phones of ordinary citizens.

Now, a look at the IPL muck. Though nothing has been proved so far, the whole IPL drama now looks like one big farce. In general perception, IPL is now all about money (black and white), sex, drugs, corruption, betting and match fixing. It’s only in a country like India that a minister’s daughter can pull out a scheduled flight of the national carrier and turn it into a chartered flight for an IPL team. It’s only in India that a money-minting machine like IPL can enjoy tax exemption for years. It’s only in India that a collective effort of politicians, babus, Bollywood stars, businessmen, players and match-fixers can reduce the game to a drama whose script never changes. Yet people watch it. It’s the new opium of New India.

Before he was kicked out of office, the disgraced minister Shashi Tharoor thanked the “New India” for its support to him. “We will bring the change but it will not be without pain,” tweeted the minister to his 7,00,000 plus followers, who have begun to behave like a nation within a nation. People like Tharoor and his twitter army are more concerned about Brand India and Brand IPL than propriety in public life or for the millions of issues crying for attention.

New India is nothing but a banana republic. Here the reality looks like a mythical drama and a fake drama called IPL looks like real. So when a Dalit girl is burnt to death by a gang of upper caste loonies, nothing happens, not a soul is stirred, no one comes out on streets to protest. But when Dhoni lifts a ball into the stands, thousands of people go berserk as if this is the only reality that matters, as if this the only reality that will make India stand on its feet. No one knows, how many bets are won or lost on each IPL six, how much money rides on every wide ball.

Free market is not a free license to loot, Barack Obama reminded the Wall Street honchos this week. Every dollar carries hopes and aspirations of millions of people, the US president said. Obama will look like a silly fool in India, where free market has become a synonym for crony capitalism of the worst kind. In fact, it is turning into predatory capitalism where the rich and powerful hunt the poor and weak without any fear, with the full backing of the state.

The dalit girl’s death is only one of the millions of stories of injustice and cruelty unfolding in front of us. We can’t see them because we are busy watching IPL. Or, maybe, we are watching IPL because the reality is too much to bear.

At 800 million, India is the world’s poorest nation. It’s the poorest nation ever in human history. It’s twice the population of Africa. It’s more than the combined population of North and South Americas. But who cares. New India needs its daily fix of IPL.



  1. ouch!

  2. Poverty, caste system and capitalism are also the problems in Pakistan. The solution is the same in either case. Socialism.

    • @ red communist

      Solution is only Islam

  3. IPL has the worlds attention. I assume the writer is angry with pakistn players not getting inluded

    Admin: The writer is INDIAN you stupid little man 🙂

    • of course, We Indians are known for our constructive self critisism just like u guys are known for your ego inflating articles

  4. oh… i guess reality bites.. isnt it indians.?? u talk to us tht we dnt or we cant get rid of our problems .. atleast we are trying… our economy might be nt tht gud coz of our shaking governments.. but we r still gud and far way better then u peeps.. Atleast we knw how to defend our country… atleast we dnt hv corrupt people in sensitive positions like u do i.e. Your army chief.. scientists in DRDO programs.. naxalities.. etc..etc..

    too much is it..??

    better for u to get bak to tht shit hole whr ya came from .. and try to get a life..

  5. now that’s a jab!!!!

  6. Why Paki Muzzies are so angry and jealous of IPL…

    Coz no Paki Muzzie are allowed to play…

    It was trick of Pak cricket boards that if a Paki cricketer marries someone famous(Sania) then paki players can get into IPL which is worth nearly 5 billion dollars…

    Paki cricket is in shambles after the attack on SL crick team…

    In next 20 years india will be third largest economy in the world.

    Don’t worry your players will be playing T20 with Ex Taliban and AlQaeda terrorists…!!!

    • I couldn’t resist laughing. Get a life dude 🙂

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