Indian Premier League – A Saga of Greed, Corruption and Cricket

When we consider all the signs and symbols collectively, IPL has a become a language spoken and understood by people who love to ride the tide on the surfboards offered by the media – the one it got is the on it deserves. Anything that happens to this lot can be defined in terms of things and ideas that IPL represents –impatience, consumerism, celebrity worship, quick-and-easy entertainment, obscene display of wealth, bang for the buck, semi-nude white meat served live in the stadium, false sense of pride, misplaced identity, a superficial sense of a community and belongingness, etc.

by | Jun 22, 2013

“But certainly for the present age, which prefers the sign to the thing signified, the copy to the original, representation to reality, the appearance to the essence… illusion only is sacred, truth profane. Nay, sacredness is held to be enhanced in proportion as truth decreases and illusion increases, so that the highest degree of illusion comes to be the highest degree of sacredness. “

Feuerbach, Preface to the second edition of The Essence of Christianity

In a 2009 South Korean horror film, Thirst, a Catholic priest Sang-hyun undergoes an experiment to help doctors find a particular vaccine, but the experiment fails and the priest turns into something like a vampire – neither a complete vampire nor a human, but something in between. And this what prevented him from burying his teeth in a person’s neck and quenching his thirst, instead, he settled for stealing blood transfusion packs.

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The vampire analogy fits the condition of Indian cricket well, which, in order to expand its reach and bank balance, embraced an experiment which turned it into something like a vampire – IPL. It is neither cricket nor entertainment, but a smudged outcome of the two, out of which an obscene face of in-your-face, soft-core pornography is visible, if you care to see – the hard-core ones are out with its commissioner Lalit Modi.

The current controversy around already-tainted tournament expresses the desire of this vampire-like being (the collective lot who own teams or run the tournament) to get more blood to quench its thirst. And like the priest who worked in the hospital, the vampire has a proper access to the transfusion packs (information that bookies required).

Greed and corruption are not anomalies, or indication of the symbolic failure of the whole tournament, but it is inbuilt into it, an intrinsic part of the system. All was well, until the managers of the tournament shared the blood. It became problematic only when low-caste zombies, who come from modest backgrounds and were not offered a bigger pie, tried to take their share from the game of the greed. A game that has been reduced to a mere vehicle on which marketing messages ride, and are poured down the ears and eyes of people glued to their television sets. It helps sell the products to people whose identities are reduced to and defined by the products they consume.

When we consider all the signs and symbols collectively, IPL has a become a language spoken and understood by people who love to ride the tide on the surfboards offered by the media – the one it got is the on it deserves. Anything that happens to this lot can be defined in terms of things and ideas that IPL represents –impatience, consumerism, celebrity worship, quick-and-easy entertainment, obscene display of wealth, bang for the buck, semi-nude white meat served live in the stadium, false sense of pride, misplaced identity, a superficial sense of a community and belongingness, etc.

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The meaning of IPL can be best understood through the words Guy Debord, a Marxist thinker, wrote in The Society of the Spectacle, “In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation.”

The language of IPL is qualitatively different from the language of cricket, which was product of pre-fast-food-and-I-need-it-now era. It represented a different set of values, which will now sound absurd. Like any other profit-focused enterprise, IPL is using the available production capability and the highly paid labors (cricket players) to engage people in a kind of entertainment that offers a superficial sense of solidarity, real sense of which is waning out from the society in general, and cities represented by the teams, in particular.

Bikram Kumar Singh

Bikram Kumar Singh

Bikram K. Singh is a freelance writer who after a brief stint with a leading media company got disenchanted with the corporate scene, and began his solitary journey thereafter. He tries to maintain an independence of thought and a critical outlook on the things that happen in the highly institutionalized world of ours.

email: bikram@probinglens.com

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