by Naresh Arya

Cricket is something that really needs to be given thought by all Indians! After their cricketing debacle in the World Cup ’99 played in England recently, India as a country is slowly limping back to normalcy after being inebriated with a cricket fever stupor that nearly lasted for six weeks. In a way it was good that India lost and now most Indians have come out of their craze for arguably the most overrated, over promoted, and overpaid team and are hopefully now paying attention to real issues closer to home and more important in nature.

Counting Casualties
There is a undeclared war on in Kashmir and India have lost several soldiers and officers till date. A lot more people of the Indian Armed forces are going to come back in body bags till such time the incursions carry on by people who have been branded as infiltrators; nameless men without a country by the Pakistani authorities. These brave Indian soldiers are fighting at a height of 17,000 ft. under severe adverse climatic conditions in sub zero temperatures.

The intruders, 80% of whom are regular Pakistani army soldiers, are at the top of a mountain range and the brave Indian soldiers are fighting back with the terrain logistics totally in favor of the intruders.

Defining Details Down
Some figures that may shock the average Indian:

An Indian Air Force Flight Lieutenant is paid a US $30.00 flying allowance per month and he is required to make 40 practice sorties per month in vintage Russian MIG aircrafts. That is about 75 US cents per sortie after taxes. If he dies his family gets paid a lump sum amount of approximately US $4,651 only.

The man of the match from any World Cup cricket team gets US$ 5,000.

When flying over Kargil where most of the incursions are taking place, at an altitude of 18,000 feet, at times the Indian Air Force pilot is just 1,000 ft above the intruders who are armed with American Stinger missiles and can easily be shot down. Yet, they do it. Flt. Lt. Nachiketa who recently returned from Pakistani captivity will be back for action again. Why do they do what they do? Simply because they (The Indian Armed Forces) love their country very dearly.

Coconuts to Cricket
A person in the Indian state of Bihar had offered 111 coconuts and intended to offer 10001 more had the Indian cricket team come back victorious.

A large Corporate House and the local unit of the Bhartiya Janta political party in the city of Bombay offered prayers at the celebrated Siddhivinayak Temple and distributed sweets. A youth in Gujarat went on a fast unto death. No, none of the above commitments were for the well being of the Indian soldiers but for the Indian cricket team.

Callously, it seemed, a country whipped itself into mass hysteria over a silly game of cricket being played thousands of miles away while every day those hideously bland, black coffins brought back home more dead countrymen. Such is the obsession of cricket in India that it comes before any kind of priority. The intelligent educated elite has failed this country. Human life takes second place, at least after cricket. Is this madness worth it for a ball and six wooden stumps? All Indians should ask themselves this question.