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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Greatest sporting icons Muhammad Ali, Pele and Sobers: Heroes of an Indian sports lover; coincidence all three of them are black!

In a conversation with a friend over the greatest sports icons, I instantly took names of three names--Muhammad Ali, Pele and Sobers.

The names just came out without giving much thought. In fact, I later thought over it again, but I couldn't find anyone else who fits in this league.

When I and those in my generation (who were born in seventies and began appreciating sports in the 1980s), these three sports stars were already icons for decades. We grew up with elders talking about them and reading about their heroics.

For the sports crazy, it's an exhilarating thought, something not easy to explain, that one just feels happy with the thought we have lived in this era and have the honour to see the sports persons. All of them are now septuagenarians.

Icons--they are in an altogether different league, those who are simply incomparable with other players or sports stars. In other sports, like Tennis, you may have Rod Laver, Bill Tilden, Don Budge or the Jordans and Johnsons, in Basketball, but none of them come close to my idea of an icon.

You may personally love a McEnroe or Roger Federer or more, but icons are different. An icon is an sportsperson who not only enthralls the world but inspires entire generations with their actions, both on and off the field, and the mention of whose name evokes respect.

While Pele and Ali are great sportsmen, for the cricket crazy Gary Sobers evokes similar respect and passion.

In our childhood, we heard that there was the incomparable Sir Don [Bradman], who hit 29 centuries in 52 tests, with an average of over 99.

But it was Sobers, who was almost an equal legend, in the second half of the 20th century.

Garfield St Auburn Sobers excelled in every sphere of the game. He amassed over 8,000 runs in his test cricket with more than 200 wickets, apart from nearly 100 catches, and his impact on cricket world was tremendous. For ages, his 365* was the highest individual innings of a batsman.

And, in the twilight of his career, it was he alone who could score 254 and demolish Dennis Lille, who was in his prime. Boxing legend Ali had the guts to speak up and take a strong [and highly controversial in those days] stand on the Vietnam war.

It is a strange coincidence that all these three icons are black. In the era when Apartheid existed [till late 80s in South Africa], they were role models and heroes for youths and sports lovers across the world. Ali is now 72, Pele is 74, and Sobers, 78.

Like Ali, Sobers and Pele also played an important role in confronting the racial prejudices and the idea of White supremacy. Great men, inspirational figures and statesmen, there is no one close to them in the world of sports.

Long Live, Pele, Ali and Sobers, my heroes.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Taliban are NOT HUMAN, surely NOT: Islamic world, leaders must stand up, go beyond condemnation to tackle the monsters and their ideology

The Taliban are NOT HUMAN.

SURELY NOT.

Which ideology, belief or motivation can turn humans to become monsters and kill innocent children with such brutality.

They are not MUSLIMS
They are not HUMANS

The world must shun Taliban and their ideology.
Muslim world must stand up and take a decisive step.

Taliban are MONSTERS
Taliban are not HUMANS

Ulema, citizens, should say loud and clear, that all these groups are outside the pale of humanity and religion. After the attack in the school in Peshwar in Pakistan, that's the smallest first step which is needed. If this doesn't wake up everyone in Pakistan, against the Taliban, what else will?

Taliban MONSTERS. You have shamed us all. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Media's excessive, hysteric coverage of Australia hostage crisis led to worldwide panic: Is one madman enough to scare us all?

The Australian hostage crisis was no doubt serious but the amount of coverage it was given--live reporting across the world, for nearly 14 hrs, created panic across the globe.

Is it fair? Is one madman or a criminal [and his actions] in a city [Sydney] enough to create scare in the entire world?

No one says that it was a minor incident. But it is also a fact that it is not the first such case. Hostage situations regularly take place in cities across the world.

The amount of live coverage and the publicity given to the incident, is astonishing. Aren't we terrorising ourselves?

Isn't it that any nutcase or delusional person or a hardcore criminal--who either wants attention or is lunatic, can now do a criminal act, and know that he would be able to create scare in the world for a day.

Media's high-pitched coverage across the world led to such a panic that everywhere people were discussing this incident. Even heads of states in other countries were being briefed about it, TV channels reported.

Aren't we giving too much attention and publicity to criminals and giving them ideas? Media must introspect. There are incidents of much bigger magnitude--in terms of abductions and deaths, but they were never played up in this manner.

Is it because it happened in Australia, and incidents in particular countries get more attention. Just like incidents in Africa, Latin America, East Asia are ignored! However, by any standards, the coverage was excessive.

Incidents of gunmen who have killed dozens in US in recent incidents, never got this much coverage. The Sydney siege and the manner in which media played up, is definitely disturbing. For the sake of eyeballs--for getting more viewers, an unfolding story is reported live and it creates paranoia all over.

Australia government, officials' role praiseworthy

The Australian government, officials and their people must be praised for their role. They dealt with the situation deftly.

Their maturity level was clearly visible. Australia's prime minister Tony Abott on TV said that it appeared to be the work of a 'politically motivated perpetrator', however, in India, a leading Hindi TV channel was translating it into 'Aatankwadi', even when not a single bullet had been fired.

The hashtag #illridewithyou on Twitter to show solidarity with Muslims, must be praised. It was no small gesture, given the kind of coverage and its possible backlash. We Salute you my Australian brothers and sisters for it. 

In comparison, in India, TV channels suspended other stories and throughout the day, aired it. In fact, a bomb blast in Manipur in which a person was killed and five were injured, was not even mentioned. See LINK

The world has definitely shrunk but in process, have our brains, especially of those in the media, shrunk too?