Talent spotting

But of course, makes perfect sense. Sreesanth was found guilty of spot-fixing by a disciplinary committee headed by Shri Arun Jaitley. Less than a year ago, BCCI general secretary (and ABVP national head) Anurag Thakur confirmed the life banafter the Delhi court found it not feasible to pursue charges under MCOCA. You could say Sreesanth’s candidature has been vetted at the highest levels.

Seriously — is the party so poor in talent that it has to rely on the illusory appeal of a cheat?

Earlier today, while trawling through my archives, I came across this column by Pritish Nandy. This section resonates:

While these are a few stray examples, the point I am making is simple. Why do our achievements in every area of life and endeavour get outshone by our single most prominent area of shame — our politics? Why does our politics grab the media, grab our mindshare, our reluctant attention day after day? Loathsome leaders; corrupt MPs; thieving ministers; ugly, despicable louts and historysheeters masquerading as netas; blackmailers; extortionists; thugs. Why do these people hijack our attention again and again and again? Always for the wrong reasons.

This is what institutionalises crime. Legitimises it. This is what attracts the worst among us to politics. The fact that they get their one shining moment of glory when they enter politics. Arun Gawli leapt from page 5 to page 1 the moment he entered politics. So did Raja Bhaiya in UP. Rabri Devi went from her kitchen into the national headlines. Phoolan Devi, from her cell in Tihar jail. Chandra Swami painted all his crimes with different political colours.

It is the Lennon syndrome at work. Do something utterly despicable — kill someone famous, loot a bank, cheat the nation, set fire to a Harijan village, badmouth another politician — and you can bask in the glory of national headlines. You are the flavour of the day, the week, the season. Newspapers will frontpage you. television news bulletins will chase you. Your chamchas will fete you. And, if you are lucky, weak and feeble governments will reach out to you for your support.

No wonder the scum of the world is in politics today.

I’ll leave you with this thought: The column was written in 1999.