IMF chief Staruss-Kahn & Indian IPL players same to same?

Discussion in 'Sports' started by Singh, May 25, 2011.

  1. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

    Feb 23, 2009
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    Former IMF chief and potential French president Dominique Staruss-Kahn, charged with sexual assault in a New York hotel and now out on bail, is living with the ignominy of wearing an electronic bracelet, and the indelible halo of disgrace heaped on him by incessant and uncritical media coverage.

    Cyber space is inundated with conspiracy theories and Kahn is being portrayed as having been set-up for sharing the humanist and ethical concerns of Jo Stiglitz and that the real target is control of the top job of the IMF.

    Be that as it may, the labor of this comment is to draw attention to a less noticed but similar development that is doing the rounds on the IPL cricket social circuit which has deplorable connotations. I must hasten to add that this is not a comment on cricket, but about the insecure status of women in general in India and how certain societal attitudes and behavioral patterns are being tacitly endorsed in one part of glitzy India.

    It has been widely reported that Gabriella Pasqualotto (GP), the 22-year-old cheerleader for the Mumbai Indians had her services terminated for writing a comment on a blog about the post-match behavior of the IPL players. The young South African girl made reference to how some players treat young women like 'a piece of meat' - very soon, a breach of privacy clause was invoked and she was asked to leave.

    Many intense views have been voiced about this incident, both for and against, and some celebrity names have chastised GP for here temerity to publicise this matter and that this amounted to 'abuse of privilege' - that is being allowed to mingle with the players at post match parties. Like the Kahn episode, I am sure wiser counsel will prevail about gender protocols at major, market-driven sports fixtures and what kind of self-regulation is to be invoked.

    What bothered me more deeply was a passing reference in the media reports relating to the GP incident which alluded to some IPL players behaving in a totally deplorable manner with air hostesses while flitting from one fixture to another.

    The report notes: "Cricketers belonging to a southern team were all over a couple of air hostesses. The cricketers initially tried their charms on the air hostesses but when it did not work they began giving hints that clearly bordered on the offensive." (Mail Today, May 21, 2011; page 17)

    Female cabin crew being sexually harassed by male passengers - either overtly or covertly is one of the many hazards that women face in the airlines industry. But the fact that some of our cricketers, who have acquired larger than life status and are role models, are behaving in this manner, if true, is deplorable and merits objective scrutiny.

    The IPL series is reaching its closing crescendo and has been staple fare for the widest cross-section of Indian media, the social media addicts and cyber-space. Concurrently, market forces supporting this effort have made India and its cricket supporting eco-system a major factor in the global arena.

    hus an element of candor in reviewing this "cricketers-harassing air hostesses" incident and I repeat, if true, should be embarked upon. Sweeping it under the IPL bonhomie and festivities carpet as a case of "boys-will-be-boys" and "why-are-you-stressedae", the air hostesses did not complain" would be most undesirable and unethical.

    It is this kind of collective social indulgence of deviant male behavior that sees the woman either as 'property', thereby justifying honor killings, or as 'meat' to be preyed upon, that should be illuminated and corrected. India has the dubious distinction of having the highest incidence of female feticide in the world and stories of newborn girl babies being thrown into dustbins are gut-wrenching but true.

    In the flurry of reportage that has been triggered by the IMF's Kahn incident, there have been familiar positions adopted by the advocates on both sides of the rape and sexual harassment debate. But some red lines need to be recognised in this era of frenzied globalisation and a deluge of provocative images.

    Modern advertising of which the Indian variant is more innovative is case in point. Consensual sex is par for the course; sex workers are a grim reality; sex trafficking is one of those opaque areas that nobody wants to really grapple with. But when the exemplars of a gentleman's game decide that such behavior can be condoned, we have lowered the bar of sports and social norms.

    We love our cricketers and their misdemeanors may not be 'breaking news', but if these reports are true, it reflects a breaking social culture. Gabriella has only revealed some unpalatable truths that need to be acknowledged.

    An ancient Semitic proverb says that no man is the owner of his instincts, but "controlling them, that is civilisation". On that score, India with its current track record may be an ancient civilisation, but most of its men are yet to acquire that texture.

    IMF chief Staruss-Kahn & Indian IPL players same to same?-Politics/Nation-News-The Economic Times on Mobile

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