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|May 11, 2000||
Of small fish and sharksSujata Prakash
Some years back a young and beautiful Indian girl in London hit the headlines for her romps with various British MP's and newspaper editors, who were paraded one by one in their gray- headed and sometimes abdominous shame on various front pages.
In India, Pamela Bordes was surprisingly seen as less of a harlot and more of a heroine. 'Beauty queen Pamela rocks British Parliament!' screamed one eveninger and the junta cheered. The 'rocks' might as well have been 'socks' for all the applause she won. Fine work, ol' girl, give it back to the colonialists with scheming Gandhian non-violence. They thought you were a curry-in-a-hurry but you're a slow cooked vindaloo with a surprise punch. Hooray.
Alas, there is no such joy in the subcontinent for today's sizzling news du jour. 'Dalmiya in hot seat as head of ICC!' state the papers ominously. If Pamela threatened to bring down the British government, Dalmiya threatens to bring down the ICC's credibility along with himself. And perhaps a whole lot of other not-so-innocent but appearing-to-be-innocent compatriots and collegues. Colonial seat of power it may be, but the ICC represents a sport which for many Indians stands on a pedastal higher than the Empire state building, and thus this current fiasco brings only a 'Good grief, get these Bombay mafia types out of here!'
But who should be shown the door? Bad question, this. A week back we were all asking 'and who else is guilty?' but as the finger pointing brings up a new name every twelve hours or so it's now 'For God's sake if anyone's innocent stand up so we can see you!' It was easy to sniff out a pair of stockinged feet in government corridors, but how on earth do you follow the numerous footprints made from the soft-soled shoes of The Fraternity, the members of which form one happy family and strike deals obscurely behind the side screens? Don't worry old chap, if the spotlight happens to fall on you just deny it in hurt incredulity and we'll provide the chorus of 'Leave him alone he couldn't have done it, oh no he couldn't have!'
How much longer will we have to wait to see at least one more guilty gentleman being indicted and then one more and another... . Is Hansie Cronje going to be the only one nailed to the cross to pay for the sins of his bretheren? Yes, he has sinned too, but he confessed and is prepared to carry the burden of isolation for life.
The small fish is netted but the sharks remain on the prowl. A powerful government servant can lose his status easily if proven to have been susceptible to a short skirt, but powerful men in cricket who have been seen with bookies, or named as match-fixers or are on record to have made dubious television rights deals are allowed to remain virtually undisturbed.
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