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Millennium Post

Playing spoilsport

Indians are an angry lot. Particularly a peculiar breed of urban, middle-class, professional and ironically venom-spewing bigots whose latest pastime is social media policing. These are the Indians who take unkindly, almost comically so, at the slightest remark that goes offhand, be it about one of their hallowed leaders, or a blindly worshipped film or sporting star. So when the ace tennis player (oh, she’s a Russian beauty to boot) Maria Sharapova expressed her ignorance when asked what she thought of the ‘God of Cricket’ Sachin Tendulkar, all hell broke loose in Cyberistan. Naturally, how could Sharapova, irrespective of her brilliance on and off the clay court, afford to not just stay blissfully unaware of the devotion and fondness that Sachin commands (justifiably so), but also pay no heed to the daily trivia that drives cricket, India’s national sport, and perhaps the glue that binds this forever self-balkanising geopolitical landmass. According to this army of belligerent Indians, the Russian tennis champion should have not only kept a detailed diary of devotion to the Little Master, but should have nurtured the equally idiotic tendency to turn players into one-dimensional sporting stars, who should act and breathe the image while also delivering breath-taking performances on and off field without any diminishing returns. It is obvious that the Indians who trended the hashtag ‘WhoIsMariaSharapova’ for a good two days on the social media platform Twitter had not only been extremely offended by Sharapova’s ignorance, but had measured the Russian sporting universe through their own cricket-clouded lens. Perhaps Argentines or Americans would learn how to be playfully patriotic and take umbrage when Indian teenagers fail to recognise a Diego Maradona or a Mike Tyson.
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