The Bombay High Court order on India Premiere League matches is bad. By directing the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to shift matches outside the drought-Maharashtra after April 30, it has, apart from glorifying tokenism, also emboldened professional revolutionaries who want to stop or ban everything they don’t like—and their list of dislikes is pretty long.
To begin with, the court verdict bestows respectability on the socialistic, zero-sum doctrine: businessmen fatten by exploiting workers; cities prosper at the expense of villages; and extravaganzas like IPL take place at the cost of farmers. The truth is that the zero-sum equation is grossly wrong and dangerously misleading; we get evidence against it every day, the latest being the jump in Sensex following the news of good monsoon.
Second, the scales have been mixed. The public interest litigation filed by the NGO, Loksatta Movement, claimed that 6 million litres of water is needed to maintain IPL pitches. Now, in Maharashtra the water used for irrigation is over 31 trillion litres, which is more than 5 million times than the amount of water the IPL needs. Therefore, to link drought, or its aggravation, with the IPL is a preposterous exaggeration.
Third, the high court order is tantamount to scapegoating, as it diverts attention from the real issue—gross water mismanagement in Maharashtra in particular and in India in general. Why and how is it that sugar, planted in 4 per cent of cultivable land in Maharashtra, ends up consuming over 71 per cent of irrigated water in the state? Isn’t it because of the fact that powerful politicians own sugar factories? Why does sugar made in Maharashtra consumes more than two-and-a-half times more water than it does in Bihar?
Fourth, the Bombay HC has been selective in targeting the IPL. For there are no restrictions on swimming pools, water sports in amusement parks, the maintenance of parks and gardens (including those within court premises), showers, and so on.
And lastly, the court has erred in reading the intentions of the petitioners and their loud, sanctimonious supporters. Like the puritans who hate bull-baiting not because it causes pain to the bull but pleasure to the spectator, the anti-IPL jihadists detest the cricketing festival anyway. The mindset is totalitarian: all resources should be used for the collectivity; the individual is useful to the extent that he promotes the cause of the collectivity; otherwise, he is dispensable if the need be.
The natural corollary is: the individual should always be working for the tribe, the commune, rashtra-nirmana, etc. Even arts, culture, cinema, and literature should be subservient to the cause of the state. Is it surprising that everybody in our country talks about the importance of message in cinema? Totalitarians of all hues despise the pleasures, joys, and ecstasies of citizens, for when one is delighted or ecstatic, one is often beyond the control of the state, society, etc. Hence the tirade against Valentine’s Day, Westernization, consumerism, and so on. And hence the jihad against IPL.