Guha’s Article on Gavaskar/Shastri: Translated for Mere Mortals

by Devanshu Mehta

Recently, the great Ramachandra Guha wrote an article on Shastri and Gavaskar for the Kolkata Telegraph and Cricinfo. It’s meaning was not clear to mere mortals. Here is a translation:

Guha: Surely many MCA members would have voted the other way if Gavaskar and Shastri had publicly endorsed Vengsarkar? [..] Why? What would it have cost Gavaskar and Shastri to ask the clubs of Mumbai to cast their votes in favour of the man who was far and away the better candidate?

Translation: Since I’m not a journalist, but writing an editorial, I can pose questions without asking affected parties for their statements on the record.

Guha: The recent revelations that they are paid propagandists of the Board of Control for Cricket in India have confirmed, for many other fans, the lack of principle in Gavaskar and Shastri.

Translation: Rather than explain the truth of the situation, which would have taken about 16 words, I chose to boil down a nuanced situation to two words: “paid propagandists”. See above statement re: not being a journalist.

Guha: My impression, based on press reports and conversations with friends, is that the fans felt more let down by Gavaskar than by Shastri.

Translation: I hate Shastri.

Guha: Gavaskar has answered the charge that he is a spokesman for the board by claiming that his newspaper columns have sometimes been critical of its policies. However, in hundreds of hours of hearing Shastri and Gavaskar speak on television, I cannot recall them ever being critical in any way of the BCCI.

Translation: Gavaskar is a liar either because I have watched and read everything he’s ever said, or because I chose not to do any actual research for this article. See above statement re: not being a journalist.

Guha: My view, and not mine alone, is that the existence of the IPL is the main reason India is no longer the No. 1 team in Test cricket. [..] One would expect Gavaskar and Shastri, as active, influential, full-time commentators on the game, to make these connections between the board’s obsession with the IPL and the poor performance of the Indian team in England. That they have stayed silent suggests that their commitment to cricket is not as dispassionate as it perhaps should be.

Translation: I hate the IPL. Implies everyone with integrity hates the IPL. Implies Gavaskar and Shastri must hate the IPL to demonstrate their integrity. Quad Erat Demonstrandum.

Guha: [W]hy must they be so blind to the ways in which the IPL is bad for Test cricket in India? Having watched them, time and again, help Mumbai defeat my own state, Karnataka, I wonder: why could they not support their former team-mate in the MCA elections against a cricket-illiterate politician?

Translation: Again, they disagree with all truth and freedom loving people.  Again, I pose questions whose answers are a phone call away. See above statement re: not being a journalist.

P.S. Outside of this article, I think really highly of Ramachandra Guha as a writer. As with Yudhisthira, this article caused his chariot to fall halfway to earth.