God in the Parliament


When Abraham Lincoln defined democracy as ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people’, little did he know that one day, ‘God’ himself will be a part of the government. Of course, I am not talking about Church being powerful in entire Europe at some point of time, or Nepali monarchy’s fascination of being labeled as incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

It’s about the ‘God’ of cricket, Sachin Tendulkar. And him being nominated to the upper house of Indian parliament, Rajya Sabha…

When the Times of India runs a headline like, “God has a New House”, you’re bound to take notice. One does understand how the game is worshipped in the cricket-mad nation. And the little champion is above all human beings in that country. But yours truly (a self declared Sachin Tendulkar fan) – in this case – was more than bemused.

Everybody knows that Tendulkar has played more Tests (188) and one-day internationals (463) than any other player since his debut in 1989. He is the highest run-getter in both forms of the game and the first batsman to complete 100 international centuries — 51 in Tests and 49 in one-dayers.

Sachin was, and will always be, a hero for Yours Truly’s generation. He resembled what a common man can do, when you were getting disenchanted with the movie stars, realizing what they do takes a number of takes, and retakes. We identified with the diminutive man, who was able to stand tall, while everything around him was tumbling.

To start with, he was a young boy thrown into the wild world of international cricket, at the age of 16 something. A boy, with cherubic face, in the company of men. He caught your attention with his fearless play, and he grew up a few notches in stature right in the first international match he played. He scored runs with audacity, yet remained gentle to make you feel good. Childlike voice, yet achieving what a lot of men did not, and could not. Amazingly, he remained that child for more than 2 decades…

Revered, he was, across the vast country called India, for his accomplishments, and more for remaining simple. And in the process, he became God. Yet remained touchable…

If you spent your teens in the 90s, and belonged to middle class, he was your icon. Your representative in the big league! By his presence at the biggest stage, you felt as if you were present there. And when the biggies, the movers and shakers of elite circle, expressed their awe in his presence, you felt as if their awe is for you too. That’s what is God, isn’t it? Oriental philosophies always told us, there’s God in all of us, residing inside.

And suddenly, you learn through ESPNcricinfo:

The Indian president has approved Sachin Tendulkar’s nomination to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Parliament. Tendulkar met the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday and was offered a seat in the upper house’s nominated category. He accepted the offer and his name went from the prime minister’s office to the home ministry, and then the office of the President, who formally approved the candidature.

And then you wonder, what would a God do, in a place made for the mortals? An entirely non-political persona, entering the hub of politicians. You fear, what if the God gets tarnished, being in the company of those not respected (politicians have hardly remained saintly enough to be looked up to). A private man he has been, will he speak up at the parliament?

It’s not difficult to know that India’s ruling party, ailing with sagging popularity, needed something miraculous to save its image. But to use Sachin for vested interest? Doesn’t give you a good feeling. In some ways it is akin to fooling the great man (we all remember when the same party pulled in actor Amitabh Bachchan, then a Superstar, to cash in on his stardom in 1980s).

A parliamentary seat for somebody like Sachin, doesn’t improve his status. Rather, it diminishes his stature. A God becomes a man, one among the people (remember: ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people’; nowhere do we see god mentioned there).

Gods never existed, many philosophies tell you. It was the man, who created God. And it appears that the man can even fool God.

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