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|July 13, 2000||
Crime pays. And how!Sujata Prakash
The one thing that this match fixing saga has made so many focus on, besides of course the corruption in cricket, is how lawless our society actually is.
Turn around and you'll find someone next to you asking the question, and answering it as well: 'But is anything going to happen finally? Will we see accountability and the law upheld? If I know anything about the police or the government, nothing will come of it!'
For the vast majority, it's fait accompli before the actual results of the probe are out. No one believes, in their hearts, that there will be a result. So, the question of accountability is moot. What we must ask ourselves now is, do we deserve anything better than this? Read below an extract from a letter sent to Prem, by Shakeel Abedi (kindly forwarded to me) and which reflects the helplessness which I think we all feel to some degree.
"When icons fail, when a society reaches the level of apathy that good men, true men, men of intergrity remain silent while the very system that gave them fame and fortune is rotting, there are very few options left. I have been thinking about the singular lack of true and honest people in this nation. It's amazing, but I will leave those thoughts for another time."
If there is such a paucity of truth and honesty in our country, then why do we even hope for the CBI to make an exception for cricketers, as opposed to, let us say, the thousands of other corrupt and morally defunct men in public life who have been allowed to go scot free? This is the way our society has functioned since 1947, and it's not going to change in a hurry. If we want change, it has to start at the grassroots and the top, together.
But that is for another day. What I find very interesting is how sometimes a good old-fashioned, heartfelt, confessional-type apology can reap such lucrative results. Not that any of the guilty Indian cricketers and administrators (do we have any?) will emulate Hansie Cronje, but surely the irony can't be lost on them.
Here is a man who admitted that his love for money led him on to such dastardly deeds as fixing matches. Barely had the world recovered, than comes the news that one Max Clifford has offered to present Cronje properly in the media. Which translates to Cronje standing to make as much as 500,000 pounds from deals involving books and television talk shows, among other things. So who said crime doesn't pay?
Unfortunately, we are not going to have the pleasure of seeing even this kind of honesty here, as Indian icons have a distinct distaste for saying sorry. Which tells us that whichever way you look at it, we are not going to see a South African-style purge in India.
And that is a pity. Cronje has shown us that the rewards of recantation can be gratifying both personally and socially. South African cricket is better for it, society will have learned from it, and I wager that after all this is over Hansie Cronje will not have too many regrets.
And the next time Ram Jethmalani makes a statement about nothing coming out of the match-fixing probe I will not trash it as one more uneducated statement from one more politician. His words have the ring of truth in them. It's a bitter pill to swallow, but this really does seem to be as far as it will go. Unless, as the sports minister prophesies, there's nothing to worry about if a jail term doesn't happen, because a public sentence can be worse.
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