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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Forgive Sachin Tendulkar for his 'blasphemies'

Usually he manages to steer clear of controversies — the way he steers clear of deliveries outside the off stump. But last week, he dragged himself into a couple of them. Yes, I am talking about Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar.

The fact that he sold off the Ferrari that was gifted to him and borrowed money to buy a 1BHK flat in Panvel has not gone down too well with his fans who worship him like God. Of course, he is the God of Cricket.

Being on top of the game for two decades, despite carrying the expectations of a billion people, is no joke, and he has done that without showing any pain on his face. He has rarely faulted on the cricket pitch. And also off the pitch. But if he did, so what? Let’s deal with the flat first. What’s wrong in borrowing, if it is going to give him tax breaks? It is merely an accounting issue, a decision made by his charted accountant, fully endorsed by him. Everybody does that and it’s allowed by the system
Similarly, I don’t understand the whole brouhaha surrounding the Ferrari sale. Did he sell off a gold medal? Did he sell off some trophy? It was a gift from a company with whom he had a commercial deal. The company was interested in being associated with the legend and hence gifted its product to him. It helped the company’s brand image. Remember how Fiat sold its cars, riding on Sachin’s popularity?

At least he hasn’t done what Shane Warne did. Do you remember how he threatened a girl who had taken his picture while smoking? He was bound by a contract with Nike that offered him great money if he stayed off cigarettes for the contract period. If the picture were to be published, Warney would have lost money. Is Sachin’s ‘crime’ so big?

There is another angle for those who consider him God. Don’t temple authorities auction off things offered to deities? Devotees make offerings to the god and his managers sell them off after a while. We don’t object to that. In fact, many make a beeline to buy them and offer big money to get them as they are considered sacred.

As long his core values are intact, there is no need to criticise the man who has been a real ambassador of the game. He refused to fix matches as he strongly believes in the spirit of the game. He refused to endorse liquor brands even though his teammates and even the Captain Cool didn’t find anything wrong with it. He could have easily added a few crores to his kitty, but he made a conscious decision.

Agreed, he is seen as a God. But he is not the God. And even our gods have had their failings. There could be a few minor blemishes in Sachin’s image. But who doesn’t have them? The problem with us Indians is that that we see things only in black and white. No grey shades are ever allowed.

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