Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Visiting Ejipura.....

Once i had read about the demolition drive in Ejipura, i wanted to visit the site and offer some kind of help within my capacity. However, my work schedule prevented me from doing this. Eventually on 26th January i managed to get to the site.

By then, the whole place was razed down by bulldozers. Some families took shelter under the huge concrete sewage pipes at the site, some of them were loading their belongings to a goods-auto but was unclear where they will head to. Some elderly people who had no where to go and had pets that they weren't keen to leave behind moved on to the footpath across the road.

On the whole, displaced people and animals were fighting a lost battle against a group of policemen and ruffians employed by the builder who is going to develop the site. Reports suggests that on 26th morning, the prospective builder distributed 5000 Rs to the families who got displaced but the amount in offering reduced to a half by afternoon and many families that i met at the site did not get any money.

Very few from the civil society was around. Me, a friend, couple of others who were supplying tea to the displaced families, a girl who was frantically talking on phone seeking help and some foreigners were the only people who were present there.

The scene turned tense when someone who had a camera started clicking pictures. Ruffians pounced upon him and resisted his attempts at clicking pictures, policemen also lined up behind the ruffians. Some women who were feeling bitter about the forceful eviction (rightly so) started some last ditch arguments. While all this was unfolding, the bulldozers relentlessly scooped the debris and deposited it at the periphery of the site creating a mud wall.

After spending an hour or so, i felt completely drained seeing the helpless people, kids and animals. I was also very jittery as ruffians and policemen hovered around there. I bid good bye to my friend and got back. 

Saturday, October 06, 2012

I-league starts today!

Yes, I-league starts today. AIFF and their allies in IMG-Reliance has managed to rope in Ten Action + as the broadcaster.

Here is an interesting take on I-league and how crucial is this season going to be for the competition itself.

Follow I-league comprehensively on my twitter avatar fni, where i aggregate the best of the news on football in India for you.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A short Nehru Cup preview

Nehru Cup is back again. Matches are live on Neo-Sports/Prime starting today with India taking on Syria. I am late to the show, so i wont delve in to the finer details regarding the team and so on. A good account is available here

What excites ?

  • Wim Koevermans takes charge of the national team.
  • Expecting some Dutch flavor and total football tactics. Welcome change from the Bob-ping-Houghton era.
  • Youngsters and players who are on form are selected to the team unlike earlier, where big names and veterans automatically got inducted in to the fold.
 The skeptic's problem!

  • 600 Rs.  - This isn't probably the time for haggling but some skeletons have tumbled out. Unconfirmed sources say Indian national football team players receive only 600 Rs as daily allowance and they don't have a thing called match fees yet. More of that here.
  • Sponsor less - This edition of Nehru Cup is going to happen without the backing of a sponsor. ONGC, the public sector company which had backed the tournament since its reinstatement in 2007 did not show the same kind of mercy they did last few years. Testing times indeed. Catch more of that here.

As always , i am supporting this team with a belief that better is yet to come. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Do we need artificial football pitches in India?

All you need to know about artificial football pitches is in the shared Guardian article.

I am trying to analyse this in the Indian context.

I have always been circumspect about the proliferation of art-pitches in Indian football stadiums. This drive saw a decent grass pitch in the Bangalore football stadium being replaced with a art-pitch. I was surprised, because the Bangalore football stadium pitch was a decent enough pitch by Indian standards. 

I am not a big fan of art-pitches in football, but i think it is time we ponder upon this. The opinion differs from people to people. Stadiums across the world have installed art-pitches even though it is not very popular in U.K. Playing on a grass pitch offers a zizekian type of mental satisfaction but the serious impacts on environment, especially in summer, to maintain a grass pitch should motivate us to think the other way. 

Grass pitches need good maintenance. It would be absolutely difficult in Indian conditions to maintain a perfect grass football pitch. Considering that most football stadiums are owned by the local municipal/corporation authorities, when summer hits and drought sets in, watering and maintaining a football pitch would be the last thing on their mind.

Pitches also effect the pace of a football match. There is a considerable difference in the pace of a football match in i-league, when it is played on an artificial pitch. The wobbly, patchy grass pitches tend to cut out the fluidity of movement. As broadcast is the main source of money for any football league, a match played on a wobbly surface will be utterly boring. Turn on Tenaction + and watch an I-league match played in the Salt Lake Stadium and you will understand what i am trying to say.

On a short term, artificial pitches could prove a great deal in developing football in India. It will offer a great playing surface where kids can replicate their skills to perfection that they learn from Television and Youtube. Good pitches will also make I-league matches more "visually appealing". When football associations start owning stadiums, we can think of grass pitches.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Peasant revolt in the 6th century AD

I have been eagerly reading up a book by the eminent historian R.S.Sharma called India's Ancient Past. I may write down a review of the book and the reason why i picked up R.S.Sharma's book to know about India's ancient past at a later point of time. However, that is not the point of this post. While reading up the chapters on South India, i came across this interesting section called The Kalabhra Revolt.

R.S.Sharma says that Kalabhras are a tribe that overthrew the once powerful Cholas, Cheras and Pandyas of the South India, somewhere in the 6th century AD. The interesting aspect of their ascendancy to power was that it was not a traditional conquest, but more of a peasant revolt against the existing social order. He also says that this tribe had the patronage of the Buddhists, as that was a flourishing religion in the south at that time.

As a radical force that waged war against the existing social order, probably Kalabhras set the tone of the Dravidian fight against the Brahminical order, which is still thriving in the Tamil political landscape. Typical of the popular culture, this period in South Indian history is called the dark ages.

The land grants offered by the rulers greatly helped some sections of the society and the peasants, who were an integral part of the economy were marginalized by this unequal distribution of land. Sharma emphasizes that the ascendancy of Kalabhras and their 75 odd years of rule was forced out of the injustice meted out by the rulers at that time.

It is also interesting that the vestiges of the rulers ousted by the Kalabhras joined forces to oust them from power. The Chalukya's of Badami, the left over Pandyas and Pallavas fought together to bring an end to the so called evil empire of the Kalabhras.

This juncture in history is so important and fascinating because it shows that injustice meted out to people wont last long and the general populace will fight the tyranny at some point. It is also notable that not much of written evidence exists of this period. Kalabhras being a revolutionary state did not have much time to pen down their achievements, but were mostly tied up resisting the overtures of the rulers they dethroned trying to return back to power.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

On celebrity cricket league

Celebrity Cricket League is on full swing at the Jawahar Lal Nehru stadium in Kaloor. Fat cats in the Malayalam film industry is playing cricket against their peers in other south Indian film industries and Bollywood. The little known fact of the Celebrity Cricket League is that they used their influence and rescheduled the I-league football match that was supposed to happen in the stadium.

This got me seething and i wasted no time to write down a few words about this fiasco on You can read the same here.