Month: November 2011

Hitler Didi should remain

A Jewish group known as Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has objected to the title of a serial Hitler Didi on Zee TV. Some in India support them and say the channel should drop the title and find something else.

It seems there are two standards; one for Jews, one for others. When some people do something like books, cartoons, films, TV serials and paintings, that offends Christians, Hindus and Muslims these people speak freedom of speech and expression. They advocate tolerance and say freedom of speech and expression is meaningless if something that offends someone is excluded. When something offends Jews it must be banned. There is no discussion. There is no talk of freedom of speech and expression, tolerance and the right to offend.

When I first heard Mahmoud Ahmadinejad say in some European countries people can be put in jail for denying Holocaust I thought it was a joke. Later I came to know it was a fact and at least one author was jailed for his book on Holocaust. A journalist who covered White House since 1960 lost her accreditation because she said Jews in Israel and Palestine are outsiders and they should go back to where they came from like America, Russia, Poland and England.

In India somebody or the other finds something or the other offensive and there are many restrictions and Books, magazines, films and TV serials. If Indian film and TV serial makers have to change something because in a foreign country some people find something offensive then that is further restriction on creativity. If the Jews had their way The Passion of the Christ would not have been shown in theatres. There was one restaurant in Nagpur named after Hitler and the Jews put pressure on him to change the name. No self-styled liberal or votary of free speech came in his defence.

If Hitler was evil so were his enemies. What about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? What about incendiary bombs on Dresden? Winston Churchill and Harry Truman are not better than Adolf Hitler. More people died under Joseph Stalin than under Adolf Hitler. What about Israel’s evil towards Palestinians?

It is not for someone in America to dictate what should not be a TV serial title in India. What are the Jews doing today in Israel and Palestine? USA speaks of people’s rights in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Libya, Bahrain and Yemen. It does not speak of the rights of Palestinians. It has threatened to veto UN membership for Palestine. When UNESCO admitted Palestine, USA, Canada and Israel cut off funding to UNESCO. They should be expelled from UNESCO.

Hitler may have been a fascist dictator and mass murderer but he was not the only one. There have been many like him before and after him. Hitler was a friend of India. He helped Subhash Chandra Bose fight the British. Rudolf Hess came to Britain with a message of peace and Churchill put him in jail. World War II weakened UK and facilitated India’s independence. For some Hitler may be a villain of incomparable evil but for some he is a hero. India has many admirers of Hitler.

Zee TV should ignore ADL and keep the title Hitler Didi.

Calcutta Semi Final 1996

Vinod Kambli on 17/11/2011 claimed that Cricket World Cup semi-final in Calcutta in 1996 could have been fixed. The team had decided to bat first if it won toss as in quarter-final against Pakistan it had batted first and won the match. Mohammed Azharuddin had won the toss. Navjot Singh Sidhu had padded up. Mohammed Azharuddin elected to field. Vinod Kambli was stunned. Sri Lanka batted first. India batting second went from 98/1 to 120/8 and there was crowd trouble. Match referee Clive Lloyd stopped the play and awarded the match to Sri Lanka. Vinod Kambli was in tears. Sri Lanka went to final and won the World Cup. India could have won the World Cup. He said he was made a scapegoat, shunned by team members and his career was over.

Mohammed Azharuddin contradicted Vinod Kambli. He said the decision to field first was a team decision and Vinod Kambli was perhaps sleeping when the decision was taken. In a previous match Sri Lanka had batted second and had defeated India. He said Vinod Kambli has no character, uneducated and uncouth. Sourav Ganguly suggested Mohammed Azharuddin should sue Vinod Kambli as whispers go around. Sanjay Manjrekar backed Mohammed Azharuddin. Ajit Wadekar who was manager said he and Navjot Singh Sidhu wanted to bat first but to field first was a team decision.

Some have questioned Vinod Kambli’s motive and timing. What was he doing for 15 years? He played ODIs after that and his last ODI was in 2000. Some said he was frustrated and desperate for attention.

There has been talk that Indians were told to lose the match to avoid playing in Pakistan. Some years later Mohammed Azharuddin was found guilty of match-fixing and banned for life. Ajay Jadeja was banned for five years. Two other cricketers were banned for some years.

Vinod Kambli’s statement came after Paul Condon, former head of ICC’s anti-corruption unit, said every international team in 1990s fixed games and spot-fixing began in World Cup 2003 in South Africa. He blamed proliferation of spot-fixing partly on popularity of Twenty20 cricket.

It does not matter Vinod Kambli did not speak for 15 years. He played in the match. The matter needs to be investigated. Mohammed Azharuddin is Congress MP. Navjot Singh Sidhu is BJP MP. Sachin Tendulkar continues to play. All cricketers in the Indian team at the time must be questioned.

Death of Peter Roebuck

Peter Roebuck, cricket writer and commentator, died on 12/11/2011. Officially his death is a suicide. He was questioned about sexual assault at 9 p.m. At 9.15 p.m. he jumped to death from his sixth floor window.

There is reason to suspect foul play. The death came after Cape Town Test which had inexplicable batting collapses on 10/11/2011, second day of the Test. For the second time in Test history four Innings were played on a single day, two in full and two in part. Most of the wickets fell after lunch and before tea. Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis were ruled not out by field umpire and on DRS appeal out by third umpire. Mark Boucher was ruled out by field umpire and on DRS appeal there was no reversal. It is possible that the Test was fixed and Peter Roebuck knew about it. His death could be a murder. On 17/3/2007 Pakistan lost to Ireland and next day Pakistan’s Coach Robert Andrew Woolmer was dead. He was once coach of South Africa.

It is necessary to investigate betting on Cape Town Test. Who were the bookies? What were the odds on Australia winning, South Africa winning and draw? What were the odds on scores by teams and individuals? What were the odds on wickets by bowlers? What were the odds on the Test getting over by the third day? Who gained and who lost and how much by betting on the outcomes? We need to know the answers.

The death also comes in the backdrop of three Pakistani cricketers serving sentences for spot-fixing, two in jail and one in detention centre. If Peter Roebuck had exposed spot-fixing it could have been jail for all involved.

It is easy to target a whistleblower with a sex crime as happened in the case of Julian Assange. Peter Roebuck is not alive to give his version about the accusation of sexual assault. Truth about Peter Roebuck must come out.