It is a moment that has come about in a strange manner, building slowly over the years past. It is like a mighty river of immensely strong currents, built up of many tributaries, each of which started in its own time, from its own place – not knowing they were meant to meet, not knowing that there was a higher purpose.
One of those tributaries is cricket. It started in 1983. India lifted the World Cup for the first time, and all every kid ever wanted then on was to relive that moment again in his own time.
All sport is a metaphor. It is why we play, and it is why we are so fanatical about it. We worship our cricketers as we worship our Gods. Our cricketers are our heroes because they defy the odds, standing tall in the face of mighty opposition. They show us how to rally together when the chips are down, they show us how to lead when everything seems lost. They teach us the strength that one man can have to bury an entire opposition. They showed us together, as a team, we can be better than anyone else.
As India moved up the ladder to win the Cricket World Cup, the millions of fans turned to a single heaving mass of cheers, waving flags and blue team jerseys. Empty streets in all major cities showed the devotion to our team, screams coming out of homes and offices were children and parents cheering a boundary or bemoaning a wicket fall. The country was one, the people were one, no matter where we came from and no matter which gods we prayed to in our spare time.
Sport, I contend, is a metaphor. And we all know it. We shout our praise because we see ourselves in Dhoni’s final six to win the cup. We cheer till our voices are hoarse because Sachin represents the best in us, distilled and brought out in the light for all to see. Sport is a metaphor because it shows us the power that we ALL have – the power to bring change and the power to make our will a reality.
It is, however, a wasted metaphor if we cannot learn from it. In years from now, if we fail this moment in time, it will be a waste that Sachin once stood at 99 centuries, that an Indian bowler was the highest wicket-taker in the tournament, that from different parts of our country a team got together to be the best in the world.
It is time to put this metaphor, this surge of self-confidence, pride and patriotism into practice. It is time to use this newly-learned power to change our nation.
Sachin Tendulkar has been our one man against the entire world, in the realm of cricket.
Anna Hazare is also our one lone man, against the might of the Indian bureaucracy. His battle, which he has chosen, is not on a sports-field with thousands to cheer him. He does not have endorsements to cushion the blows he takes. He does not have wealth or riches to fall back on. Most importantly, he has nothing to gain for simply himself. He is fighting for all of us, from the richest people whom we never see to the poorest man we can never help. He fights without rest in the dirty world of Indian government, amidst scumbag politicians who steal our money every day, emptying our pockets in their gluttony, stealing still from the Golden Bird 60 years after the British Raj left.
We have the opportunity to be the biggest, most powerful nation of the world. We still are the citizens of the most powerful nation, dormant as it lies at present. We come from the longest, most well-recorded history that this planet has ever known. Invaders have travelled the world over thousands of years, destroying every culture they have seen. They could not change India. They could not destroy our lands, our ways and our lives. We have survived everything that was thrown at us.
Now we need to fight within. We need to cleanse ourselves of our own evils so we can be free.
A chance for immortality and heroism is up for grabs. Who will stand up and be counted?
We witnessed it a week ago, that something like that could happen. Events like that do not occur as mere coincidences. It was a lesson. It came about so it could lead to this. The winning of the Cricket World Cup, our great source of pride and happiness as Indians, was a tributary to this moment.
Who, I ask again, will be counted? In the empty struggles of everyday life, this is our shot at glory and greatness. We could change things. We could change this nation. Forever. It’s possible. It’s almost happening. It only needs us to do … something.
And we CAN do it. The time we spend every day or every week updating our facebook statuses, the time we spend listening to songs on YouTube, the time we spend in useless conversations online and useless apps on phones and laptops. All it needs is a little, tiny bit of THAT.
Support ‘India Against Corruption’. Support Anna Hazare. Write an email, or forward an email from someone else, to the Government of India. Write to your friends and your family, as I am doing. Make sure everyone hears the beat of the drums, for a change is coming. Walk to India Gate and make your simple presence a support to this great movement. Get over the movies and the music and the bullshit reality television for just ONE day and think about how you can make a difference to our country.
It is our country. It is our land. It is our lives. It is our future. And we have to claim our stake in it.
Not as silent witnesses. Not as hung juries. Not as hesitant bystanders. We are the new breed of freedom-fighters, and it is now time. It is time to claim our stake as Indians, to claim our stake as the single most defiant population in the history of this world.
As the descendants of heroes, leaders, fighters and a cultured, refined civilization for longer years than anyone else has ever known, once again it is time to bleed blue.
Today, I will email the Prime Minister, and the President, and the Minister for Law. They will ignore my one email, perhaps. But it will be one in over a million, I think. And numbers like that cannot be ignored for long. Tomorrow, I’m going to fast for one day. I don’t know if I can do it. I don’t know if I’ll give up and fail. But I know that WE can do this. I see it in the news, there are people sitting there at India Gate, who ARE doing this. And maybe this way I will have joined them. It won’t be so bad if I fail. I will have tried. And I will feel the pride which we all deserve to feel every day.
I solemnly declare that I am a proud Indian and will always be so. I prove my pride and my patriotism through action. I am one drop in a mighty river of change. And I will be counted.