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Nothing to gain by shifting IPL. Get involved parties to help drought cause instead

Jaideep Ghosh | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:51 IST
QUICK PILL
The litigation
  • The Bombay High Court is mulling a petition to move the Indian Premier League out of three venues in Maharashtra
  • The petition mentions the drought in the state, and talks about the amount of water it takes to put on a cricket match
The argument
  • It\'s not the IPL\'s fault that there\'s a drought in Maharashtra
  • Moving it out of the state will not magically alleviate the human tragedy
More in the story
  • How the show has always gone on when it comes to sports
  • A plausible solution - get the moneyed classes to open up their cheque-books

Let's get one thing straight - the Indian Premier League (IPL) isn't exactly a pure and holy exercise that would gain our sympathy. But should it really be moved out of the state of Maharashtra because of the drought?

The drought is a human tragedy of epic proportions, something about which the administration - whether at the district, state or Central level - need to hang their heads in shame.

Here, in the second decade of the 21st century, our government agencies still can't provide water in sufficient amounts to those in need of help. Nor electricity. Nor power, or any other 'basic' necessities.

The real problem is our burgeoning population, which eats up whatever is provided, before it is provided, and then asks for more. But there's the chicken and egg situation - more people equal more votes, so political parties won't, even in their weakest moments, discuss this problem.

But that's another story.

Drought not a fallout of IPL

One question - when the flyover collapsed on some poor, unsuspecting people in Kolkata, was the World Twenty20 final shifted out of Eden Gardens?

No. For that matter, these people weren't even mentioned, since the West Bengal government wouldn't want the incident to embarrass it, or to hit its election campaign.

I'm sure you're getting the drift of where I am going with this. The drought in Maharashtra, regrettable as it is, is neither a fallout of the IPL, nor will it suddenly get alleviated if the tournament is moved out of the state.

I know it sounds a little cold and unsympathetic. If I had my way, the IPL would be scrapped altogether, but that isn't happening. So let's stick to what is going on.

The drought in Maharashtra is neither a fallout of the IPL, nor will it go away if it is moved out

What's happening is that the Bombay High Court and others are taking pot shots at the IPL as a big money-spinner, and the devil's own mafia, which treads on the poor and unfortunate and makes a mockery of the tragedy.

Sadly, sirs, that isn't quite true. The mockery is being made by those who have the maximum power and money in India - the government.

We keep hearing about this network of canals from the north going right down to the southernmost tip of India, connecting all the rivers and tributaries. Won''t happen.

Even if it does, it just takes a few maniacs - like the Jats in Haryana - to block a canal and starve a city or an entire state.

But we're digressing. Back to IPL and the drought.

Get the moneyed to open up their cheque-books

If the High Court and others, who are finding this a bitter pill to swallow, are really interested, there is one suggestion - let the IPL go on, but get out your demand notes and ask the principals, the sponsors and team owners to cough up money and/or infrastructure to try and provide water to the affected areas.

I mean, surely those who can drill for oil and gas have the wherewithal and deep-boring capabilities to drill for water.

Some nations in the Middle-East have also begun filtering sea water and using it at least for agriculture, if nothing else. Get these same billionaires and their cohorts to put up such plants and pipelines, and get them to do the work.

Sure, it won't begin immediately, and our mandarins aren't too keen to prod those who finance their election campaigns, but this surely is a better suggestion than pulling the IPL out.

The show must go on, and it has gone on

Many sporting events have been held irrespective of the situation in their host nations.

  • The 2004 Athens Olympics were greeted with massive protests and anger from Greeks struggling in a progressively weakening economy, where the billions being spent on infrastructure were regarded as a criminal waste. The Olympics were held.
  • The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil faced a similar situation. The tournament wasn't shifted out.
  • The 1972 Munich Games weren't called off because of the attack on the Israeli athletes, nor did the Atlanta Games stop because of the Centennial Olympic Park bombing.

Sure, you can say that man-made crimes and disasters can only be defeated by not cowing down. But isn't the drought we're discussing a man-made disaster?

Why single out the IPL?

Do correct me, but aren't football tournaments being held in Maharashtra? Or any other sporting event? Have they all been moved out?

I can quite understand the anger about the IPL: the razzmatazz, the dancing girls, blaring music and insufferable anchors. It's an obscene display of glitz, money and some cricket.

If moving the IPL out of Maharashtra will alleviate the misery of those affected, do it straightaway. So then, if we have a drought in Telangana, or Gujarat, or Jharkhand, will the same thing be done, with all sports?

Let the IPL go on, but get sponsors and owners to cough up money and/or infrastructure for water

Stopping a game, even a frequently obnoxious one like the Indian Premier League, is not the solution. Those who think that sympathy and empathy will solve the crisis really don't know what they're saying.

You really want to help? Ask the IPL to create a corpus for things like this drought and other crises. It won't be easy, since our billionaires aren't given to sharing. Even paying taxes is an affront for them!

But silent stadia won't fill the wells and canals. Silent work in the background may.

The views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of the organisation.

First published: 7 April 2016, 4:58 IST
 
Jaideep Ghosh @jd0893

The author has been a sports journalist for over 20 years. He has worked with leading newspapers like The Statesman, Hindustan Times and The Tribune, as well as portals like espnstar.com

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