One can by no means get one’s head round to simply how a lot this nation likes to ape the West. Not all of us can carry off western outfits, however what the heck, it’s cool. We could have the very best pure coolers in our nimbu pani, jal jeera and lassi however colas are what we serve our friends to look urbane and hep. Ayurveda is a system of medication that’s preventive and faucets pure and seasonal components to remedy illness; our nation now touts extra allopathic hospitals with their chemical medication than Ayurvedic dispensaries. Our spiritual texts, Rig Veda onwards, deplore gambling. However since each different nation on the earth has embraced it for the commerce, allow us to additionally look to legalise betting in sport.
Sport, to me, is an extension of our tribal roots. It’s the purest type of one in all our most atavistic survival instincts. It’s the struggle within the quintessential struggle or flight. Sport is the purest type of fight left; it’s merged with and reverberates to the thrum of nationalistic fervour. At the same time as India seems in direction of a extra triumphant nationalist agenda underneath a authorities that guarantees to prop up a extra aggressive overseas coverage, will we dilute the material of nationalism by taking a look at groups that symbolize India as instruments for gambling? I don’t suppose so.
The West has a special morality. It’s not my place to sentence or condole it; it’s not for me to applaud or admire. Simply that we, in India, have a special outlook in direction of morality. And, morality condemns dilution of family revenue in a sport of likelihood. It condemns diffusion of meagre monetary features into a person’s propensity to strive his luck. Betting on sport is basically a male pursuit—identical to alcoholism is throughout the Indian hinterland. There may be nothing flawed with having a drink or two, however alcoholics don’t cease at that. There could also be nothing flawed in laying a wager or two on the end result of a match, however what’s to cease compulsive gambling from morphing into one other social evil?
I discover the arguments in assist of legalising sport laughable. To say that one must hyperlink Aadhaar card to bets and, subsequently, comprise the quantity might be flawed logic. Is it potential to examine me from inserting a number of bets utilizing the playing cards of my mom, father, uncle or a cousin?
The Indian cricket crew, for example, excites excessive ardour. All people, and their auntie, have a agency conviction that India will win most occasions that the Males in Blue exit into area. Identical to voting patterns on this nation, which stem from emotional connects comparable to caste and faith, rooting for the house crew will not be grounded in actuality—it’s extra about jingoism. How can betting selections be made logically? Most followers operate in a universe of notions with imperfect data concerning the skills of their stars or of the crew. Betting will largely be emotion-driven and never primarily based on chilly motive. As a nation, do we actually want extra emotional selections to dictate the funds of a family of meagre means?
The Manusmriti, has its critics for its advocacy of the varna system. I’ve no quarrel with them. However few know that the textual content served as the idea for Hindu regulation underneath our colonial rulers. As such, it has additionally seeped into the legal guidelines that proceed to control us. The Manusmriti condemns gambling explicitly: “MS 9.221. Playing and betting let the king exclude from his realm; these two vices trigger the destruction of the kingdoms of princes. MS 9.222. Playing and betting quantity to open theft; the king shall all the time exert himself in suppressing each (of them).”
The Rig Veda too doesn’t mince phrases: “The gambler’s spouse is left forlorn and wretched: the mom mourns the son, who wanders homeless. In fixed worry, in debt, and searching for riches, he goes by evening unto the house of others.”
There may be additionally discuss of the riches which will accrue to sport by way of income which will come from betting. I worry this can be a chimera being paraded for the gullible. Nice wealth can come from sport simply by way of tapping corporates seeking to enhancing model visibility. However for that, our sports activities federations must evolve a contest construction that’s vibrant and connects with the plenty. They’ve failed to take action. How will we then count on that the identical lot will do a beautiful job as soon as funds from betting begin flowing in? I worry blaming lack of cash for the state of affairs of our grass roots sport is a charade that inept sports activities directors enact to carry onto to their jobs. I wager nothing will enhance; simply the fats cats of Indian sport will get fatter.
Betting on sport is morally, culturally and traditionally flawed. I hope in one other quest to ape the West, we don’t herd on in direction of it.
Anurag Kashyap runs the NGO Shakti, which focusses on empowerment by way of social change
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