“Cricket is religion in India”

Well, I have something to add to this cliché. I believe that cricket is much more than that.

In a country where the term secular finds itself only in print and not in practice, cricket is much more stronger than any other religion or philosophy. For it has the power to break down barriers of not only religion alone but also of age and money, of status and language. People leave behind all of these just to hear how their team is performing. The mention of just “Score?” opens up a dialogue between strangers who have nothing else is common. I myself had many conversations with laundry delivers, watchmen, courier boys , carpenters, electricians about a match. And one experience that all cricket fans must have is to watch a cricket match in a crowd on a TV in a shop or in a loacality. There is nothing that can match that. The variety of actions and responses all bound together by an single emotion are just a treat to watch. Everybody in India has a opinion on cricket. Everybody believes that they have a right to cricket. Does anything else give everyone the same right?

Sunil Gavaskar while commentating during the recently concluded Ind-Aus test series remarked one morning that since had India had done so well in the morning session of that particular test, it would be a happy day back home. He prophesized that there would a general feeling of happiness and less number of trite quarrels and disagreements! Conversely is always true when India has a bad day on the field. Nothing affects India as a whole than Cricket. Everyone surely observes the sudden rush of traffic just before an important match starts and the quiet calm on the streets when it is progress and the jubilation and the firecrackers if India wins. Newspapers regularly print pics of these situations! I remember one very vividly at the time of the India-Pakistan match in the 2003 World Cup… And many of those who miss seeing the match are informed about the result just by the presence or absence of firecrackers around the time the match is supposed to finish!

Cricket is an unspoken bond between the people of India. It is a very much a part of being an ‘Indian’! Cricket is not a religion; it is life in India.


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