By Janak Samtani
There is no need to write about Sachin Tendulkar as a cricketer or a star. Everybody knows his achievements & even has memorized his stats. So I’ll get straight to the point.
Recently there was a meeting between Tendulkar & Saraswati Vaidyanathan. She is his fan. Fine. She is 87-years old. I respect that. Now, this meeting was covered by the media and some excerpts of it were shared. I did not find anything interesting in the news article as much as I did to the comments people had shared. But, it was worth noticing how that article described Sachin’s approach towards the elderly lady. As expected, people picked it up & went to the point of saying that we all Indians should learn being humble from Sachin & we should try to find Tendulkar in ourselves. All those comments literally cracked me up.
Then, there was – Sachin is God.
Now this really gets me thinking. These people have first not seen God and neither what God does all day, and then they call a mortal as God. I thought at that moment that this required a post after analyzing the reason behind this superficial belief & labeling.
We Indians, have more identities than people from other countries. By identities I mean nationality, religion, race, language, name and lots more. So for us, when someone else excels or performs, we associate that with one of our identities and feel proud and highlight it all over. Look at all the Indian origin people who have excelled abroad. We try to associate them with ourselves and say, hey we Indians are just great. Really? That individual was born abroad and is not Indian anymore. This is something we got to understand. Coming back, when Sachin performs & achieves another milestone, we associate his identity of being an Indian with ours and go hysterical. Is it that majority have restrictions to do what they like and feel good about someone else’s achievements as their own because of the association of identities? I can completely accept it when it comes to a resident national.
The serious issue is of labeling Sachin as God. Why is it done? Because as per the populist belief, there is no one mightier than God in his field of work, so Sachin in his field of work has equaled him and no one can be above him. Now, who are the people who label Sachin as God? The answer is not so simple. Let’s just deviate a bit.
A few days earlier of me reading the news on the meeting between Sachin & Saraswati V.; my colleague & me were discussing the concept of Prophet and God. He mentioned that Jesus Christ is not God, but a Prophet, who is also worshiped in Islam as one of the earlier Prophets to Mohammad, who was the last of Prophets. He should be accepted as the Prophet in Christianity too, but instead worshiped as the Lord. He later mentioned that probably Buddha too was a Prophet, but in the course of time worshiped as God. To me, it sounds logical. Since all religions are made of people, this only means that the definition of Prophet and God should not change. If there were several Prophets in Arabia, is it not possible that there were several in the Indian subcontinent as well? At this moment we cannot deviate further in questioning Prophecy. We’ve accepted that for this post. So, who could it be in the sub-continent other than Buddha? I cannot call Ram & Krishna as Prophets as they are characters of epics. So I only see characters which were idolized. Idols which we consider as Gods. So if you’ve not already realized, it’s the way of the Hindu religion to idolize. So, to answer the question, I’ve not seen people from any other religion calling Sachin as God apart from Hindus. The others clearly understand the distinction between God, Prophet & a human. My colleague mentioned that in Hinduism, we probably mistook all the Prophets as Gods and we landed up worshiping all of them. Not sure, since most of the Hindu Gods sat on large flowers, or flew, or had cool skin color. But I feel it gets quite vague. Some do idol worshiping and some don’t & say that God is within us. It is probably this flexibility that permits a group of people of this one religion to go ahead and claim Sachin as God. Of course, I am not labeling the entire religion like that.
If Sachin is claimed to be God by one group, then why is the same or different group struggling to claim his superiority to the late Donald Bradman? By no means am I taking any credit away from Sachin. An important point to note is that he has remained clean & out of all match-fixing cases we have seen so far. I’ve heard a lot of people doubt that Sachin plays for his records. Maybe or maybe not. I’m not going to bother with that.
In a few years, the commentary might go “God is batting on ninety eight not-out and Sachin has already blessed nine thousand eight-hundred Hindus today. When are these innings going to end?”