Kolkata achieved a rare double this year in sports. While the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) bagged the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) under the captaincy of Gautam Gambhir, Sourav Ganguly-owned Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) won the inaugural edition of the Indian Super League (ISL).
Both feats are memorable but the average Bengali spectator was seen making indirect digs at Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan who owns the KKR after ATK won the ISL crown. Connection? It was said Ganguly drew it level with Khan, who allegedly 'dumped' the cricketer from his IPL team and betrayed the sentiments of the Bengalis, and that too in Mumbai.
IPL win under Gambhir was not convincing for Bengalis for the team had almost no Bengali player
In June, when the KKR won the IPL tournament under Gambhir for the second time in two years, many Bengalis felt it was hardly a win for the community since not many Bengali players (Bangladeshi player Shakib-al-Hasan was the only Bengali man in the squad) were members of that team of Shah Rukh Khan. In case of ATK, it was not the case and pictures of the former Indian cricket captain holding the trophy were seen everywhere even if he was never a member of the playing eleven!
This selective celebration of sports by Bengalis speak volumes about their xenophobic mind. The logic that KKR's victory was not worthy because it had no local players doesn't stand any ground in a sporting discipline.
'Son-of-the-soil' formula doesn't apply in sports like in politics
The concept of 'son of the soil' applies more fruitfully in politics and not in a game where professionalism and results only matter. Secondly, the Bengali fans were annoyed more by the dropping of Ganguly, first as a captain, and then as a player, irrespective of the fact that the ageing player had little to offer to a fiercely competitive game like T20 cricket.
Ganguly failed to perform as a captain (neither he was extra-ordinary with the bat) in the IPL, whether for the KKR or Pune Warriors India but the xenophobic Bengali was never bothered about the on-ground statistics. It was only the emotions that mattered.
Why Ganguly was celebrated more after ISL win?
But the ISL scenario was more surprising. The footballers ran, scored the goals and did all the hard work but it was Ganguly all over. What for? Is the man bigger than the sports of cricket and football combined? Were his fans so desperate to see the man overcome SRK's double trophies in the IPL that Ganguly emerged a champion in another game which he himself never played?
Bengalis have lost all hopes? Then what about the doctor who is fighting for Ebola drug?
It is disappointing to see the Bengalis' pride today has been reduced to one Sourav Ganguly. Several posts on social media site like the Facebook said Ganguly is the only remaining pride of the entire community. Is it so?
Dr Jayanta Haldar, who is fighting day in and out with two of his students to find a drug for the deadly Ebola that has rocked the entire world, also deserves to be a pride of the Bengalis. Isn't it? For he has taken up a cause that matters much more than either cricket or football. But may be not many Bengalis even know about him.
Unfortunate indeed. Bengalis love to feel themselves betrayed and saddened by some 'outside' force. They really lack the capacity to think big. A Sourav Ganguly just soothes their dented feeling.