Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sachin's helmet

If you've been watching today's cricket, and you have paid attention, you would have noticed a little patch on Sachin's helmet, right below the India crest. If you thought it looks like some sticker has been removed from that place, you are right. And what is missing is a small, rectangular tricolour.

Why would Sachin do that? Well, according to the grapevine, the Home ministry asked Sachin to explain why the tricolour was below the India (BCCI) logo. Being the sanctimonious pricks that they are, the minister and the bureaucracy asked the BCCI to explain why the players were using the tricolour on their helmets - Sachin, being the non-controversial person he is, promptly had it removed.

Just imagine - the tricolour flying on corrupt, criminal politicians' cars is does not violate it, but India's greatest champions (Sachin, Narain Karthikeyan, Rahul Dravid and others) wearing it on their helmets (note: not underwear) violates it.

What crap. And to think that my tax money is going to fund these idiotic fancies while bigger issues remain on the backburner. And if you read my "Freedom of Speech and Expression" post, you'll recognize the same feudal instinct at work here - no other democratic country prevents its sportspersons from wearing their national flags. No other democratic country creates two classes of citizens when it comes to the right to fly their own flag.

Yes, _I_'m back.

15 comments:

Prad said...

Couldn't agree with you more :)

kattricker said...

Agree with you Gops but with a minor exception. Its certainly everyone's right to fly the tricolor, so long as the flag code is adhered to. I am however not sure if the flag code restrains anything of this sort. (Its probably another thing that India's flag code is conservative)

Gops said...

Thanks prad! :)

Karthi,

The flag code - as given here:
Flag code is discriminatory. Why is it that a corrupt a*e like Laloo can fly it on his car, but I can't?

kattricker said...

Hey Gops, according to 3.12 looks like you can fly the flag on your car (unless there is another section that declines it for general public!). Found a site for the US flag code Flag Rules and Regulations. Looks quite similar except for a lot of mention of Central government in our flag code.

Gops said...

Karthi,

No, read, section IX which deals with who all can fly the flag. Also, read the section on how the flag should be flown in schools. _This_ is what the govt spends money and time on, when there are crises elsewhere.

Also, couple of differences b/w ours and the US flag code:

1) You _can_ fly the US flag on vehicles. AND
2) More importantly,

"Are there penalties for violating the Flag Code?
No. The Flag Code is intended as a guide to be followed on a purely voluntary basis to insure proper respect for the flag"

which is not the case in India.

So there. :)

kattricker said...

Hey Gops, just wanted to tell you I have started blogging again...

kattricker said...

I guess although India is a democracy, its constitution is still based on Britain's - state is higher than society! In contrast this was precisely something US founders were against. After fighting for freedom from a colonial regime, India now has to fight for freedom from the almighty state.

Anonymous said...

How true. We now need freedom from our own people!!!

Gops.

Balbir Singh said...

I guess the main point got diluted. There is nothing wrong in having the tri-color, the point was that it should not be below the BCCI logo.

kattricker said...

The point was the government's insistence on the flag code which says it shouldnt be worn on costumes and helmets. Although the flag code must generally be followed, this was taking a bit too much. A paleolithic flag code and a home ministry that has no other job but to police a good Indian sporting team against their patriotic fervor! The national flag is not the home ministry's property after all!

Gops said...

Well said Karthi.
And not to mention that the flag code is discriminatory.

Balbir Singh said...

BCCI refused to listen to the government of India and declared itself as a body independent of the gournment of India. To have the India flag below the BCCI (which I do not like personally) would be disrespectful.

Why not have it on your T-Shirt (shoulder) or chest - because those places are booked by advertisers.

Why does sachin need the logo only while batting?

I agree with freedom, but freedom also comes with responsibility and the need to respect the freedom.

Gops said...

Ballu,

[quote]
BCCI refused to listen to the government of India and declared itself as a body independent of the gournment of India.
[/quote]

So, why is that wrong? If you are saying because of this the BCCI has no right to fly the flag, I must vehemently disagree with you. The flag belongs to every citizen of India, not the government.

[quote]
To have the India flag below the BCCI (which I do not like personally) would be disrespectful.
[/quote]

More disrespectful than the flag flying on Laloo's, Shibu Soren's and Arun Gawli's cars? But also, our freedom should give us a right to fly the flag as we want. True democracy and unity do not come from false respect, but from non-discrimination, from equal opportunity, and from individual empowerment.

[quote]
Why not have it on your T-Shirt (shoulder) or chest - because those places are booked by advertisers.
[/quote]

The financial greed of the BCCI is not the issue at hand. The issue is whether an individual has the same rights as a politician or a judge, and whether our home ministry should be looking for flag code violations instead of naxalites.

[quote]
Why does sachin need the logo only while batting?
[/quote]

I guess because that is when he wears a helmet.

[quote]
I agree with freedom, but freedom also comes with responsibility and the need to respect the freedom.
[/quote]

Well yes. But, freedom should also come without discrimination. That is the problem I have with the directive given to the BCCI.

kattricker said...

In a free democracy, BCCI neednt have to listen to govt to fly the flag, sportsmen are free to fly the flag regardless of how much money they make.

But technically I agree with one point of Ballu - the flag shouldnt be below the BCCI logo. Now question is whether this is such a violation that home ministry shud put its foot down so hard. Well... it looks to me like the home ministry is settling a score with BCCI and its players.

Gops said...

I'll still say that it doesn't matter whether the logo was above or below the flag. There is no shame involved in it. India isn't insulted if Tendulkar puts her flag below the BCCI logo - India is insulted when hundreds go hungry while corrupt politicians grow fat.

Anycase, guys - this has been the most commented-upon post that I've written!!!

Thanks! do keep'em coming.