Unseemly haste in unedifying times

In the season of Twenty20 cricket, it’s not surprising that everyone is in an unseemly haste. While the frantic running between the wickets, the ambitious heaves and even bowlers trying to get their overs through in the stipulated time makes eminent sense, what seems amiss is our impatience in trying to get to the bottom of the off-field mess.For three years now the IPL has thrilled audiences – those that watched on TV and took in the seamless merging of cricket and entertainment and others who were lucky enough to make it to the grounds. Having visited every venue to watch a match in the first season, and recently enjoyed the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s home games at the Chinnaswamy Stadium this season, the difference is clear.

The public have taken a genuine liking to the tournament, beyond novelty value and merely an evening out, and are turning up in numbers to support their team. Tickets are being bought at serious prices and the demand has grown to a point where the IPL has intrinsic value.

And then the floor has caved in.

The charges of impropriety, the allegations of money laundering and fraud, the suggestions of nepotism and favouritism, these are all very serious. And for once, there isn’t an attempt to sweep them under the carpet. If anything, the Modi-Tharoor spat has taken things to such a level that there’s no way any dirt can be swept under the carpet.

From all indications, Modi will go, and it’s a question of when and how rather than if. But, that said, ever since the controversy broke, the stories have flown thick and fast. Everyone who had a grouse about the tournament, real or imagined, has piped up, slamming not just Modi, but the entire idea of the IPL.

What’s laughable is the number of politicians – several of whom have been accused of scams and other impropriety – sermonising from the pulpit about the evil influences of money, parties, alcohol, drugs …

The issue has reached such a tipping point that people like Manmohan Singh, the prime minister, have been forced to get involved. Already one minister has had to resign. Certainly, more heads will roll.

But if you watched news channels or read newspapers, you’d think there was a pressing need for Modi to be tried and sentenced this very instant. Why are we so impatient? Can we not wait till April 26, just days away, when the Governing Council will take the matter forward?

If we all enjoyed the IPL, which certainly seemed the case, we should at least give Modi the opportunity to defend himself, or resign. What’s that phrase about giving the devil his due?

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