Sreesanth: India has changed, Indians haven’t, hence shocked

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It is surprising how time and again we feel shocked by instances of corruption, financial or moral, as if they are happening for the first time. Take for example, the latest IPL 6 spot-fixing scandal allegedly involving three players of Rajasthan Royals, including one who has represented India at the highest stage. There is nothing to feel being let down by the latest scandal for it is not the first time that cricket has been tainted in this country. Just like terror attacks in our cities, which are no more something fresh to have occurred.
But yet we feel shattered and engage ourselves in witch-hunting. It is more disappointing. There is an unwritten law in this country that whenever something ‘bad’ happens to us, we raise our finger at our western neighbour and other related elements. A terror attack means Pakistan’s hands and betting in cricket means connection of the underworld.

Sree: Can we seek a structural change?

Witch-hunting has become a tiring game
These allegations might be true but how are we really going to get things rectified and put a much sought-after cleaner system in place? Just by creating an uproar each time we feel betrayed and blaming others? It is absolutely foolish to blame the IPL for whatever has happened on the 22 yards for match or spot fixings had happened in international games as well where national honour is at stake. We had seen how a much-revered captain like Hansie Cronje fell into the trap and could never come out of it till his mysterious death.
We had also seen how a popular coach from South Africa, Bob Woolmer, was mysteriously killed in the middle of the World Cup, the biggest cricket tournament held on this planet. We have seen how some of our cricketers were banned from playing cricket (one even fell one short of 100 tests) because of fixing allegations. These low-points in the history of the game were much more devastating than what has happened to a mediocre cricketer named Sreesanth today. Yet, we are behaving as if our trust has been breached for the first time.
Our hollow morality, shaped by the media, is not helping anything
It is a pathetic state of denial that we live in today. Our sense of morality has become so superficial and media-influenced that we fail to see things in the right perspective. If we are seeing a so-called steady degeneration of moral standards, it is not because suddenly as a people we have turned bad, but because our structural reality has changed.
The uproar over corruption is slowly turning into a farce in this country because corruption has emerged into a structural issue which has been internalized in our system and minds. External display of opposition can not change the prevailing state of affairs. Never. What will change is the subject of the media’s ‘breaking news’ section and the names that an Arvind Kejriwal takes every time. But even there is no guarantee that the crusaders against corruption will remain clean in times to one.
These issues are structural and we need a thorough approach
In post-liberalisation India, the socio-economic structure is undergoing a serious change. This transition has been unseen so far. After years of choking our own economic fortunes, India learnt the hard way that the path it had chosen was not tenable. It was an incredible situation where our political credentials improved but the economic capacity was crippled. The nationalistic passion suffocated a massive market and energy till it was obvious that they had to be exposed and unleashed, respectively. The disadvantage was that we weren’t prepared to adapt ourselves to the sudden surge of libralising waves and the consequences were obvious.
We need to institutionalise our economy for the people, just like our politics
The problem we have got today is that we don’t have an institutional mechanism to deal with economic matters as we have in our political sector. Just like we had nurtured our democratic political structure, we need to develop institutional ways to achieve a viable economic structure.
At the moment, the charm and attraction of a neo-liberal economy imposed on a half-feudal social structure are not doing much favour to our economic behaviour. This situation can not be changed just by making laws. India needs to think anew on its economic structure, just as it had done on its political structure over 60 years ago.
Corruption is not confined to a section: What we do? Punish all?
What we are doing at the moment is attacking people for trying to make good fortunes by utilizing the offers that the system offers. But it is not the tendency among the politicians, cricketers, filmstars or other VIPs only. The tendency is also widely seen among ordinary people in the society. Do we then punish the entire society for feeling an urge to make a few extra bucks fast? Or if it is better that we put into practice a viable economic model whereby all sections of the society get a valid share of what is in the offing, just like the political rights that our democracy offers?
Coming back to Sreesanth, people like him are vulnerable victims of the new half-developed system that India offers at the moment. This country has changed permanently since the 1990s and we can not afford a purist view to judge things in the black and white today. The IPL can’t be called bad because of the cheerleaders’ dance or bars are keeping open till late night. We must also see that it has emerged into a major industry and given a livelihood to many people. Do we curse the IT boom? If not, then we can’t blame IPL either. These are all part and parcel of the new economy.
The real issue lies somewhere else and it is far more important than a Sreesanth involving himself with spot-fixing or a Dawood influencing bookies or one of Pawan Bansal’s kin taking illegal money. Is there any leadership to take the bull by its horn?

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