Nationhood over Statehood
Why does the Shiv Sena take every comment made by any Indian so personally? Especially when national icons like Sachin Tendulkar states openly that he is an Indian first – is it not a proud mement. In fact it would seem so petty if he had made the statement otherwise, that is stating his State comes first. The whole concept of team spirit gets defeated here. Especially in case of India where every state level player has to wait his/her turn to get selected. The selectors have to take care that all states and religions are represented to keep everybody happy – and I guess the nation looses out on a good player in this process. But as a patient nation we are willing to wait out till the right combination of religion and state representation happens to give us the world’s greatest team!

Would the Sena supremo be happy if Sachin had stated I play for myself first, then my family, then the state and lastly the nation? Would it not seem selfish?

It did not matter to me which state Abhinav Bindra belonged to, but it mattered to me that he brought the first Gold for India. It mattered to me that P T Usha ran her heart out not for herself or her state but for India. As a citizen, a student and a parent when I witnessed these moments I always felt I was cheering for India and not the state.

At college I used to play basketball. What a significant day it was when I learned that I was part of the College team. Interestingly the team had players from 2 rival clubs. Let me explain – individually some of the top players also represented their clubs. But under the college colours we were all one. Then I got to represent the Pune district and had to forget that I belonged to my college. And so on it goes upto national selections. When we have such a selection process for all team sports – does it really matters which state we come from?

When Sachin is speaking on a national forum, and the world is watching him– it is definitely right of him to respect his nationality first. It’s a lesson for all to get the perspective right. As a role model that many youngsters look upto, Sachin made a bold statement, reinforcing the fact that the team will always come first over personal and state agenda.

Bravo Sachin ! What you said was not “a cheeky single” but a glorious SIX and I am glad “you stepped out of the crease” to come out and make the statement. Thanks for making us feel proud for being Indians first.