Writing is like T20 batting. If you block, you might as well retire to the pavilion! -- Pete Langman
Expat in Germany

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Gladiators...ready for combat!!!

One hundred and forty lakhs...once...twice...thrice!!! No, it is not Gandhi's waist watch or Karl Marx's razor which is being auctioned. It is people, some of them idolised by millions round the globe that are "under the hammer!!" In the IPL 7 "auction" today, a famous Indian cricketer who has a great comeback story was auctioned and won by a liquor selling company for fourteen crores. The other sad thing is that people are watching every detail of the auction on television and are celebrating by sharing the happenings immediately on social networking sites!!

Back in the 17th century, when colonies were established by the Dutch and the English in the Americas, people were taken from Africa into America for work. Soon, they were kept as life long helpers. Oh! wait there is a word for this right! Ha...slavery! Yes, people were enslaved for a lifetime too by the colonizers! Auctioning people has an even more history to it. In Rome, I do not know the exact time, slaves (women included, yes!) were bought in auctions. These slaves were initially kept in a pen, cleaned and applied tar/oil so that their skin would look attractive (you are guessing it right!!). Even today, there are countries to which people are being "sold". Coming to sports and slavery...
Player No. 143!!

Recently one morning, as I ran for the newspaper to gobble the sports news, my room mate asked me what was so important in sports that I follow it so feverishly! I have one explanation I guess! When humans grew in population, they became what we call, 'social'. Then was discovered the fire around which people used to gather, sing, dance, cook and play!! Soon it turned out to be more of competition than entertainment. Humans evolved, empires formed, emperors ruled (of course!!) Emperors needed entertainment. Soldiers who were enslaved became "Gladiators", fought against other gladiators, wild animals and criminals!!

The EPL, IPL or whatever it is, I do not see any difference from the history. Historically, slavery was institutionally recognized by most societies and having slaves was considered a royalty. Examples can be found in Harry Potter series too. Elves were enslaved!! In the auction of IPL 7, players are being tagged and called by numbers!! I remember reading that such a thing was done to slaves put to work in tea estates in Sri Lanka and gold mines in Africa! But these are players of national importance we are talking of! They are our heroes, not antique tea cups!! How can some one BUY them in an auction and own them. They belong to the country. If they want to conduct a league, find better ways, atleast like how it is done in football!
I wonder...hundred years back, if an Indian was asked who he was enslaved by, he would have replied, the British! But now, who or what are we a slave of??