Mumbai. Sachin Tendulkar is being flown to the forests of Chhattisgarh to reconcile the Naxals and the Indian state. The cricketing legend reluctantly agreed to “do something for India” after pressure from the Center, which was impressed by his speedy reconciliation of two warring parties: Andrew Symonds and Harbhajan Singh.
Tendulkar is set to enter the forest and deliver the same message that made peace between Symonds and Bhajji: “We are all (Mumbai) Indians here; we’re all on the same side.”
However, critics point out that lip readers watching the TV footage of the conversation between the three Mumbai Indians stars claim that Sachin’s message was somewhat different, including the line: “…carry on arguing and you’ll both find yourself playing for county cricket for Nottinghamshire or Essex all day every day in the rain for no money…”
Won over by Sachin’s message, the Naxals will then become reconciled with the Indian state and hand over their weapons, claims the Center.
But precautions are in place in case the message is misunderstood. Sachin will be wearing full batting kit “including an arm guard”, said a Home Ministry spokesman, adding “and that’s more protection than our boys get”. Although some point out that many of the archaic Naxal rifles are “medium pace” compared to Brett Lee.
“This shows an almost religious faith in the powers of Sachin,” said Prof. Paras Sanyal of JNU criticizing the Government’s decision, “Maoists political thought would consider cricket a bourgeois frivolity. I think India is confusing religion and politics here as usual.”
Civil society activists have also criticized the move with Arundhati Roy calling it a Brahminical conspiracy to sell off whole of Chhattisgarh to a Baniya Ambani.
Sachin himself is understood to be uncomfortable with the plan but agreed to it due to his commitment to a united India. If successful, the batsman may become a useful tool of Indian foreign policy. “Think of the border between North and South Korea as a 300km crease,” said our contact at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs canteen, “and of the Gaza Strip as a dry wicket.”