The kar seva
November 22, 2009 1 Comment
The unusual choice of title for this note may surprise a few but let me at the very outset clarify that I have no intention to go anywhere near Ayodhya.
This is more about the recent debate that the senior and if I may daresay the original Thackeray Mr. Balasaheb Thackeray has sparked of.
Just who is the true Maharashtrian of the ‘kars’?
According to my very limited resources of memory, I can recall about 4 ‘Kars’ who have represented India in cricket :- Gavas-kar, Vengsar-kar, Manjre-kar and ofcourse Tendul-kar.
While I wouldn’t want to get into the main issue of Sena versus Sachin, the conclusion of Mr. Balasaheb truly made an interesting reading.
Before we proceed any further, I think it would help to settle the basic premise very clearly that these cricketers owe to the Marathi Manoos, there should be no doubting that.
Coming from a family of ‘kar’, it would be so inappropriate that would not discharge their ‘karz’ towards the Marathi Manoos.
Though the sena strongman has only pitted Gavas-kar versus Tendul-kar, I would for one like to include the other two kars also into the discussion to have a proper perspective.
Let me first turn my attention to Sunil Manohar Gavas-kar. Just on the lineage, I certainly think that Gavas-kar scores over other kars. As the nephew of Madhav ‘Mantri’, Gavas-kar is symbolic of the political power that the Sena has a liking for.
Next is the important consideration of debut. Yet again, I think it favours Gavas-kar that he would make his debut against the West Indies, the West and India so reminiscent of the geographical location of Mumbai in the Indian map.
Sure, Tendul-kar made his debut against arch-rivals Pakistan but in spilling the Marathi blood on Pakistani soil, he actually dented the Marathi pride just a tad.
Now there are politicians and there are politicians but none to match inimitable Mr. Balasaheb Thackeray. The Tiger as he is often called, is known for his stubbornness certainly not for his soberness. Clearly this works to Gavas-kar’s advantage that he was the one to rip the Windies attack and prevail over them in a manner that drew accolades from none other than the great Sir Garfield Sobers. If this isn’t the victory of the Marathi manoos over ‘soberness’ what is ?
Manjre-kar fares better than Tendul-kar after scoring a magnificent double hundred the highest on Paki soil till it was bettered by Sehwag at Multan.
Gavas-kar led India to a famous world series victory in Australia while the less said about Tendul-kar’s captaincy exploits the better. Tendul-kar has clearly let the Marathi Manoos down with his captaincy.
Gavas-kar apart from his technical prowess and concentration powers also had an eye for the record, that is to say, to ensure that records always remained the prerogative of the Maharashtrians. Did he not quite famously drop Kapil Dev at Kolkatta to ensure that the record for most number of continuous appearances was not held by someone from the North ?
Tendul-kar on the other hand made the Marathi manoos depressed by losing his captaincy to the very man he took over from, the MP from Moradabad, Mohd Azharuddin.
So where does this all leave the other kar we haven’t spoken about Vengsar-kar ? After promising much he too was a letdown, afterall he never progressed beyond being a ‘Colonel’. How could the Marathi Manoos hold his head high without any promotion ?
Vengsar-kar hardly did himself any favour being the only batsman to be ever run-out by Curtly Ambrose. Now Ambrose was a fiery, miserly bowler feared the world over but he wasn’t exactly known for his looks or fielding skills. Was he ?
Manjre-kar after promising a lot, degenerated into a classical batsman who was adept in picking up fielders when gaps existed. It almost got to the point that when India chooses to bat first the bowling team didn’t go through their fielding drill if they knew that Manjre-kar was in the Indian line-up. He was so good at giving fielding practice to the opposition bowlers, that too as a freebie which clearly does not meet with the approval of Sena. Marathi Manoos giving anything free with the exception of blows, slaps and kicks.
I know that the readers may be itching to get back at me about the 60 over 36 run knock of Gavas-kar but hey let’s understand this. Gavas-kar was only ensuring that the Marathi manoos got his money’s worth that day and didn’t want the game to end sooner. Paisa vasool to the Marathi manoos who I am sure would have been thrilled to see one of their sons of the soil graft for 60 overs without a worry in the world about Run rate.
Tendul-kar certainly redeemed himself a bit by edging (it wasn’t a smash puhlease) Akhtar over thirdman for a six in the 2003 world cup but he also did considerable damage to the Marathi pride by getting bowled by him in the Asian Test Championship in front of a choc-a-bloc Eden Garden. Now the Sena clearly resents both the ‘Eden’ and the ‘Garden’ the result of which we get to witness on every February 14th.
Gavas-kar also became the first man to reach 10,000 runs a feat that left every Marathi manoos swelling in pride. Tendul-kar to be fair and accurate would in all probability be the highest run scorer in atleast 2 forms of the game but he cannot recreate the magic of 5 digits that Gavas-kar did by late cutting Ijaz Fakih.
The only sour note if anything is that Gavas-kar’s son Rohan does not play for Maharashtra or Mumbai. But the shrewd man that Gavas-kar is, he has ensured that his son doesn’t play for UP or Bihar. Bengal is what Rohan Gavas-kar chose to play, the homeland of the famous Tiger which yet again finds resonance with the Sena supremo.
I can’t for sure foretell what is in store for Tendul-kar in the future but as things stand today, one cannot but help agree with Mr. Balasaheb Thackeray that atleast temporarily Gavas-kar has the better of Tendul-kar in the fight of ‘little big men’ in their service to the Marathi manoos.