February 21, 2001
Frontier, Vol. 34, No. 17, pp. 6-8, November 18-24, 2001
The Indian national identity is imagined from the perspective of cricket apart from the other traditional modules like language, race, religion or ethnicity in connection with print and electronic capitalism. Let us concentrate on the language-issue here along with the cricket-module. We are told by the pioneers of Indian Sociolinguists that we were least bothered about our language-identities in imagining nationality until British government decided to run the Indian administration in vernaculars from 1837. Indian linguistic nation states are going to be born from then on and we have seen that Vidarbha, Mumbai and Maharastra; Sourastra, Baroda and Gujarat; Hyderabad and Andhra Pradesh are playing state-level Ranji Trophy Cricket Matches. These teams like Vidarbha, Mumbai, Sourastra, Baroda, Hyderabad have nothing to do with much acclaimed geopolitical boundaries of linguistic states but almost all of them bear the legacy of old royal or princely states, the kings of which were cricket-enthusiasts and all the so called linguistic states in India are always multilingual states as opposed to Euro-centric monolingual states. Peculiarly enough, the so called Sanskrit dramas contained in at least four to five languages. One or two things are to be noted here: (a) there was no communication problem among the characters of the play; (b) there was no communication problem to the consumer of the play; (c) the language-names that indicated place-names, ultimately turned out as names of sociolects.
The immediate question arises that on the basis of which modules the demands of nation states are shaped. The answer is not easy as in different times and spaces different affiliations are formed to give birth to nation states. In Bundelkhand, one man fighting for Bundeli language showed their affiliation with Sanskrit poet Vyasdeva and Hockey-player Dhaynchand. In the Maynaguri-district of W.B., an old propagator of Kamtapuri language showed their affinities with Sanskrit to prove their classical-heritage compared to dominant Bangla. All these demands are of course generating in the local-intellectual (newly emerged civil society consisting of language-managers/-judges/-police) space and not in the sub-altern spaces. Sub-alterns are least bothered about such identities until cricket and mediators can penetrate their essentialist inner domain.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 4
Keywords: Electronic Capitalism, Cricket as nation statist module, Lila, game (Wittgenstein)