I received my first hate mail a few months ago. But it didn’t dishearten me – Winston Churchill’s famous words came into my head: “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
Last week, the Delhi High Court upheld the death sentences of four men accused of raping and murdering a student on a moving bus – a case that caused fervent outrage amongst Indians and led to a subsequent change in anti-rape laws. Although the defence will appeal, many Indians who demanded the death penalty may feel justice is finally being served.
Although he is not as well known in the western world as Ravi Shankar, any Kolkata citizen will know the name of Pandit Nikhil Banerjee and his legendary status in Hindustani classical music. As I write this piece, in a few hours, 27th January 2014 will mark his 28th death anniversary.
“Theatre of Dreams” reads the plaque on the classroom door of Manchester United Soccer School in Mumbai. Nutritional advice and tactics are scribbled on the whiteboard and a Wayne Rooney portrait hangs on the wall.
But if the future of the domestic sport lies at the feet of new talent, youngsters are dreaming of playing in stadiums abroad, not at home.
‘Eve teasing’. It’s such a cute, endearing term, isn’t it? Almost sounds like a child’s game, like ‘Hyde and Seek’ or ‘Kiss Chase’.
Well, it’s not. It’s a sugar-coated expression commonly used in India for the sexual harassment of women; invading their personal space as they walk down the street; and heckling, amongst other less pleasing but truthful terms.
Believe it or not, India is not just a cricket-crazy nation; football has been played since the 19th century when British soldiers introduced the sport to the country. And according to marketing experts, football is India’s second most popular sport today – after cricket.
So what is a football match like in India? I went to a game in Kolkata, the founding city of the sport, where a revered footballer’s last match pulled in a crowd of 30,000. Here’s my review (click on image to enlarge):