Sachin Tendulkar – From Cricketer To God

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?”

17 Responses to “Sachin Tendulkar – From Cricketer To God”

  1. April 12, 2010 at 05:44

    For me, Kapil Dev & Hansie Cronje are still the champs.


  2. April 12, 2010 at 08:42

    Jonty Rhodes, Shane Warne, David Boon. My problem with cricket-crazy Indians is something else. I’ll whack ’em with it when 2010’s international T20 begins. Make them shit in the World Cup.


  3. 3 Sam
    April 12, 2010 at 09:45

    First and foremost, do not equate cricket or for that matter, sports to religious attributes. When Sachin is hailed as God – it purely implies God of cricket not the ‘universe’ as you have made a vague reference towards. On a level I tend to agree with your view point that Indians tend to hero worship and go berserk with the adulation. But Sachin in the world of cricket has assumed that divine mantle of ‘God of cricket’. His phenomenal success and his demeanor on and off the field with his impeccable conduct and his humanitarian side does justify his legacy and his yeomen contribution to every Indians’ happiness.

    He has a pulverizing effect on Indians as a unifying factor as whenever he performs as a supremely gifted batsman, whole India rejoices. He is a unifying factor which integrates all Indians irrespective of caste, colour, religion and region. For instance, yesterday’s match between Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals, even Rajasthani natives were chanting ‘Sachin Sachin’ even though he was destroying their chances of qualifying to the semi final. Such is the appeal of one man’s frantic appeal to a nation of over a billion and his name needs no introduction – Sachin R. Tendulkar.

    Sachin is virtuous as he is spotless as far as controversies are concerned. He is a saint in cricket and thus, serene. His reputation is squeaky clean. I am a Sachin fanatic just as I am an ardent admirer of Sunny Gavaskar. Even though, I belong to same caste and religion as these two stalwarts of their profession. What Sachin has achieved is truly outstanding in its truest sense of word! In the echelons of cricket, whenever and wherever it will be played, cricket’s legacy won’t be justified till the mention of Sachin R. Tendulkar.

    Let’s chuck the whole debate as it will go on for ages. I tend to take the middle way out since I have faith in faith as to me, faith is god. What we do with righteousness is godly act and whoever commits dastardly act is demonized and is justified. πŸ™‚

    But as far as Cricket and India is concerned, Sachin will remain the undisputable, untouchable God of Indian and World cricket too!

    In his epic 21 years running, he has remarkably transcended barriers – be it cultural, religious, caste, regional. It may make you smile after knowing that Sachin’s every successful exploit is equally applauded by our arch nemesis.

    Indians run of belief and that belief is nothing but the act of faith. After all, Hope and Faith are the two sides of the same coin.


  4. 5 Devdutt
    April 12, 2010 at 12:20

    It’s just a metaphor. Indians are prone to chronic hyperbole. With due respect to the time you’ve obviously spent thinking about this, I believe the reason for Indians indulging in gross exaggerations is a monumental inferiority complex and servile mentality, which is usually compensated for with self righteousness and an ‘ours-is-best’ attitude. Also, a generally myopic world view, an innate aversion to absorbing new experiences and perspectives, and an eagerness to consign them to the moral dustbin of Western decadence – I think all that plays into Indians being such insufferable pricks.


  5. 6 Guru
    April 12, 2010 at 12:31

    Sachin came to the fore as an international cricketer at approximately the same time when the idea of “India, the future superpower” took birth (remember the opening up of the Indian economy and all that in 1991?) As India grew and started proving its mettle, so did Sachin. The nation grew in confidence to take on the world in almost every field. And at the same time, they were witnessing the phenomenal rise of Sachin Tendulkar, who was proving to be the best there is in the field of sports (for India, unfortunately, sports=only cricket). Also, by this time, Indian hockey and its glorious heroes were all but dead. Sachin was the only ‘hope’ after Kapil Dev, Gavaskar etc. He surpassed every other modern ‘hero’ the nation produced, which were anyway not many in number. He, as Sam said, became the all-unifying factor of the always-at-each-others-throats Indians. He brought glory to the nation (the only exception being the ODI World Cup). Over time, he has done justice not just to his supreme talent but to the faith people had in him. The rest of the story is known by everyone.

    He became GOD!
    All hail!!!


  6. 7 Sam
    April 12, 2010 at 16:39

    I beg to differ with what Devdutt has to say. He is obviously coming from the other side of the boundary. But the fact remains that being a sports savvy nation where Cricket is a way of religion and obviously, Sachin is the God. Look at this ‘Little Big Man’ who has surpassed all odds and has achieved the insurmountable, almost. Although, records are meant to be broken. But the manner in which Sachin R. Tendulkar has gone about achieving it is simply exemplerary.

    Every Nation has a hero and people tend to idolize them – Just as Dalai Lama is to Tibet, Mother Teresa was to India and the world, Swiss Armada Roger Federer is to Switzerland, Lionel Messi is to Argentina and Barcelona, Sachin R. Tendulkar is to India. Look at the man, he is simply magnificent – both on and off the field. As a human being too, he is equally simple. That’s remarkable for a man for whom playground is where he feels at home.

    Being emotional by nature, more or less, all Indians are emotional and adore their heroes. So blame it on our genes as Indians. Unless and until, you are devoid of sports and cricket which seems to be your case. Either y9ou must be oblivious to what Sachins stats mean to every Indian who seems to be a proverbial struggler in life. His example is apt since he hailed from a typical middle class upbringing so it’s natural to follow his example and sing paean.

    What music is to you, Sachin is to his legion of fans including me. πŸ™‚

    In a nation where Politicians are goons and scamsters as people have expressed disinterest in politics over and again so it’s but natural that they will follow and emulate those who have all the right virtues. Sachin happens to embody them.

    In India, metaphors are a way of life as people get to enjoy them to get away from daily drudgery of life. It’s not a crime to hero worship. If it was then Indians would be criminals and nation of criminals. Amazingly, India is high on corruption. But people still admire Mahatma Gandhi and most amazingly, indirectly you also tend to worship him as he is found on our national currency. He wasn’t spotless but Sachin is! πŸ™‚

    Besides all Satanists can’t be saints! πŸ˜‰


    • 8 Devdutt
      April 12, 2010 at 17:26

      Samar, I know more about cricket, past and present, than anybody I know, and definitely more than fairweather fans who seem to discover the virtues of the game everytime the IPL comes around. So keep your presumptions to yourself.

      I like the fact that Sachin has remained humble, but that is a noteworthy observation only in the light of what stardom does to others. Of itself, humility is or should be the norm for all decent and normal human beings, and not some holy cow that warrants worship. SRK comes across as an asshole, Sachin doesn’t. The former invites my disdain, the latter my admiration. But that’s where I draw the line unlike fans like yourself who piss over all sense of reason to derive some form of self-worth in the face of your “proverbial struggles”.

      Anyway, “hero-worship” isn’t an attribute I find terribly appealing in a human being so everything I have to say about Indians stays confirmed.


  7. 9 Amit Shedha
    April 12, 2010 at 18:59

    Yes, it is interesting, call him a great cricketer, I don’t even agree with the greatest tag .. to call him God is ridiculous.. If Sachin is God, then McGrath tamed God.. He had his number in all important matches.. now does that not sound ridiculous, ‘McGrath tamed God’, it seems as ridiculous to me that he is called God..
    I can’t believe it is not well publicised that he was very stubborn and cried in the media when asked to bat in middle overs in ODIs in last world cup, when team needed it. You have to trust the coach, you are not above the team. that is so much for humbleness..
    Taking nothing away from his record, He played great in 90s and back to playing great from past 3 years.. So let’s toast a great cricketer, I have personal reservations against his great attitude or humbleness, but he’s served cricket well.. better call him a great servant of the game.


  8. 10 Sam
    April 12, 2010 at 19:43

    Well, I don’t believe in boasting. Fact is, in a nation where superstardom is equated with God. It’s inevitable. And hell yeah, I don’t give a damn about what you have to say. I will have my say and that’s the beauty of democracy.

    It is exactly what I wanted to point out and now, you have brought it up yourself! Everybody claims to be an expert as you categorically said. Everybody is an expert here. Giving God’s status is purely on his cricketing acumen and not in any other sense. Did you even read what I said? I think, you were busy rummaging through pages to get your cricketing knowledge or probably, sifting through websites. That any layman can do it, mate!

    “In this Cricket savvy nation, Everybody has something to say as they claim to be the pundits.”
    Whether you or like minded people like it or not, Sachin is a product of rare extraordinary prowess. He has a god gifted ability to leave an indelible impression. His legion of fans will follow him till the day his hangs up his boots. By that time, he will sit on the top of the mountain of records which will be untouchable by quite some distance.

    Instead of celebrating the genius of Sachin R. Tendulkar, people tend to give their unwarranted opinions and thrust them on others through public forum. If want to be a good scribe, try to take everything sportingly. I hope, I don’t have to simplify the meaning of ‘Sporting Spirit’. It’s gentleman’s game.

    Dude, I agree with you that sometimes it spills over. But Sachin R. Tendulkar is once in a lifetime cricketer!

    I don’t give a damn about what you have to say. keep your jargons to yourself and try to take a bit of criticism and adulation with ease, if you can! Besides, it’s a freedom of expression. I will have my say and so can you. That’s the beauty of it. Different individuals can have a healthy interaction. Unless folks like you want to make things ugly with a spat. I don’t give a damn about what you claim to know!

    I am only concerned about what you present here on Mehta’s blog! Besides, I am not a braggart. I will never be.


  9. 11 addicted
    April 13, 2010 at 00:43

    There are many points I would like to address:

    1) First of all, as is quite clear, no one considers Sachin to be God of the Universe. People use it either as a metaphor, or as hyperbole. It is a reference to his great achievements, while having remained clean of controversies.

    2) As far as religion goes, the concept of God in Hinduism is very different from that of the Abrahamic religions, which is very different from the concept of God in Buddhism (large parts of which dont even believe in a “God”). While Christianity and Islam may have God, prophet, and mortal, Hinduism breaks people (and living beings) into many more categories. The category of God is not as exalted for Hindus as it is for monotheistic religion followers.


  10. 12 Max.jr
    April 13, 2010 at 02:13

    Well Amit to say that Mcgrath tamed God looks more ridiculous to me because the stats say the other way , Sachin has 4 TEST HUNDREDS & more than 10 FIFTIES against MCGRATH….


  11. 14 Guru
    April 13, 2010 at 11:43

    Just because McGrath got Sachin’s wicket a few times, that too when he wasn’t in the best of forms, and to say that he “tamed” Sachin based on that is preposterous.

    And just because of one incident where he might have expressed his discomfort with batting in the middle-order and to call him not humble is even more ridiculous.
    Why is it so difficult for people to get it that he’s the greatest ever batsman this game has ever seen???


  12. 16 Janak
    April 13, 2010 at 16:59

    ok, here is my response –
    1. I’ve made a clear mention of ‘field of work’ & done the comparison. I think the way you guys have responded, you’ll have in fact exemplified for this post. i should thank you’ll for that.

    2. He is unifying factor? i don’t think so. it’s not that he has improved anything. he has just played cricket & made a lot of money. if you just consider the game, then it has been played for decades before he came in and Indians have loved the game from that time. So just because you like Sachin’s success, pls do not think he is divine & his presence has integrated all Indians irrespective of caste, colour, religion and region. When people were sharing radios, televisions to watch cricket – that was togetherness. But, that came because of lack of medium’s to watch cricket. Not everyone had television sets or cable connection to watch a game. This is even true for hockey & even for Indian films & other entertainment.

    3. Even during the period when Sachin was not performing, he was kept on the squad. have you wondered why? it is because of tv rights, endorsements, betting and everything to do with that. there is lot of money being put on a person. Just like what happens on EPL, UEFA. Why should cricket be any different? As you’ll have rightly helped to prove this point, such a big population tunes in to see him, why will not he be a prized player for helping businesses & advertisements. Go see his endorsements & sponsors.

    4. Sachin has remained clean till now? That’s a basic expectation. So do not make him a hero for it. The number of people who were found guilty of match-fixing have so far been very few. In fact they got caught. Not everyone is caught yet. Why dont you appreciate that for the rest of the cricketers as well? What you have to note is that Bob Woolmer got murdered during the WC and the case got abruptly closed. He was a British national. Hansie Cronje got killed in the plane crash after he spoke out. Don’t you sense something? Does this prove how much money is involved & how the game is being controlled?

    5. Have you wondered why no one can speak anything against Sachin? Two reasons for this. one that people have put him at that supreme position. Two, if at all anyone tries to make a valid point, which even if remotely is against him, he will get a lot of criticism. This if comes from mainstream media or any brand, then it will have a financial loss associated to it. The tone & nature of responses on this post have shown that.

    Try to look through, if you can.


    • 17 Deep Zanzarakiya
      March 8, 2011 at 07:01

      Great points Janak and Devdutt

      It disgusts me everytime I hear or read someone call Sachin “GOD”.
      It can happen only in hero-crazy India.


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