Tamil Nadu ban on Sri Lankans shocking and hypocritical
5 years, 2 months ago Posted in: IPL 32
Tamil Nadu ban on Sri Lankans shocking and hypocritical

The decision by the Tamil Nadu state government to prohibit thirteen Sri Lankan players, playing in the IPL, from entering the state, isn’t just shocking but also inexplicable. While the atrocities on Tamils in Sri Lanka are well documented and the anger is justified too, it doesn’t take much to scratch the veneer and figure out that at least this decision is being used to gain political mileage. To begin with, the most obvious question that pops up is that if it’s indeed right to ban the players from playing in Chennai, shouldn’t it be logical to ban them from playing in other Indian cities too? Why has the state been allowed to be autocratic? And if this is indeed the right way to protest, shouldn’t there be a countrywide protest too?

Ironically, and for the record, the promoters of this ban—the DMK also own an IPL team (Hyderabad Sun Risers), being led by a Sri Lankan (Kumar Sangakarra). In addition to that, the same Sun Group owns a private airline (Spice Jet) that frequents Colombo the most and also offers cheapest airfares from India. If a Sri Lankan can lead their IPL team and they can make money by plying to Sri Lanka, how shallow and hypocritical their protest against the Sri Lankans is, isn’t hard to decipher. In any case, is it even fair to mix sports with politics? IPL is a successful brand that grabs eyeballs, perhaps the reason petty politics is played out in its name.

Quite similar is the case with regards to Pakistan. On the one hand, we claim to be snapping all sporting ties with Pakistan (we sent their hockey players back, made their Women’s team feel unwelcomed by not allowing them to play in Mumbai and none of their players are allowed in the IPL), while we conveniently allow their coaches, commentators and other artists to ply their craft. If a Pakistani national can describe the action played out on our screens, and coach an IPL team, share his knowledge of the craft with Indian players, why can’t a Pakistani player come and play too? Aren’t we setting different rules for different people? Either there has to be a blanket ban or everyone should be allowed. It is unfortunate, that the biggest democracy in the world is turning out to be a hypocritical nation by making sports a soft target. We must evolve from being a sport loving nation, to one who abides by the spirit of sportsmanship too.

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32 Responses

  1. @AltCricket says:

    “We must evolve from being a sport loving nation, to one who abides by the spirit of sportsmanship too.”

    v well said Aakash!

  2. Saurabh says:

    Sports is perhaps the greatest human endeavor there is.It encompasses ideals and virtues that every person should aim for.It pushes men to be better, not just at plying their trade but also at being better human beings.So it’s clearly disappointing when something as transcendental and country neutral is targeted for political advocacy.
    In my general opinion, sports should not have boundaries, and athletes regardless of their nationality, race, and ethnicity should be allowed to participate in sporting events of all kinds.
    However, politics is a different ball game altogether.We have been following a precedent of not engaging with Pakistan in sporting activities, barring the recent visit by their cricket team,after which the unfortunate and extremely ghastly act in J&K of the savage killing of two of our army personnel, led us back to where things were. It’s a stalemate with Pakistan, but we still have visitors from across the border, and they are welcome in this country Akash.I believe the ban is on sporting encounters alone,and with regards to the IPL on ensuring that their players do not participate.I suppose the idea is to strike where it hurts.Commentators and supporting staff are fringe elements and do not really matter.Politicians have always found sports as an instrument to create pressure, and advance their ideology/propaganda. The present situation with regards to SriLankan players participation is just that.I agree that it smacks of hypocrisy and is unfair.But this is a case of bad precedence, and how political decisions are made in this country,and I am pretty sure elsewhere as well.All we can do about is spread the word,express our displeasure and vote the right people to power when we are given the chance.

  3. Panneerraja says:

    Nicely wriiten. I agree with most of your points made. I beg to differ with your points made with respect to DMK owning an IPL team. DMK, as a party, has nothing to do with SunRisers team or SpiceJet Airlines. DMK chief Karunanithi used to have some shares in Sun Network but nothing now. It’s wholly owned by an Individual called Kalanithi Maran who happens to be Karunanithi’s Grand-Son.

    • Bala says:

      I know this is a late reply. But wanted to correct Maran brothers are not grandsons of Mr.Karunanidhi but grand nephews.

  4. Chandra says:

    You are on the mark on all the items. It is not fair to mix sports with politics. It does not make sense DMK wanting to lead the protest and still having business making money with spice jet and IPL. They should have fought for not mixing politics and Sports, more than any one else. Couple of answers to your questions: Shouldn’t there be a countrywide protest? Practically, that is not possible. There can be a name sake protest, but sentiments are not well understood outside by common public, they have life to live and they can not sympathize for everything. As you know, India is multi-lingual multi-cultural country, think of a countries in Europe as states in India and how they are different by language and culture, EU is just there for economic reasons, but India is united, but local issues can not go across in the same vigor. It is the nature of the society we live in. Media brought it up and politicians dragged this on to the tamilnadu public and making use of their sentiments. No questions about it. In the democracy, we have let the minorities have a say, in this case, tamil speaking people in India, so they are protesting locally is perfectly fine. Given all the circumstances, it is better for SL players not to play because of security issues until this boils down, we do not want to take some risks. Let us take this as a risk management. The only way for the tamils to make this as an important issue is by doing things like this, so many are aware and take a note of it, that itself in a way is a protest. Should they be completely banned, defiantly not, because we do not want to drag politics in every where. Also, by having 3 SL players as captains, We, as India, telling SL and the world that we welcome them, we host them, we treat them well, while we are sorry that we could not have then in Chennai. While having the 9 games in Chennai is important for the IPL economics and for the cricket loving public, it is important that they move out both qualifiers matches out of Chennai.

  5. Sammy Lanka says:

    Great post. As you said on itv a few days back, being politically correct is an oxymoron. When politics finds its way into sport it ruins it for those who actually care about the sport

  6. Sanjeev says:

    Completely admire your style of writing and have loved reading your posts in Cricinfo. By your standards, this is a huge let down.

    For starters you research seems to be lacking. Prima facie you seem to have very little idea on the grounds of banning Sri-Lankan players, second of all you don’t really know the connection or relation between the owners of Sunrisers and the political party DMK. And then you choose a title like a 3rd rate copy writer who wants attention on the post rather than the content.

    Not allowing SL & Pakistan players are political decisions mostly but in SLs case, it was one of the historical student movements that led peaceful protest across the state which made the State Government take a strong stance.

    ‘Hypocrisy’ is not an appropriate word in TN’s stance and more so, when you don’t know the full picture. Unfortunately 90% of India has no clue on the situation and reasons, and jumps to making a statement.

    Please avoid such posts. You’ve been an amazing ambassador of the game, especially with your writings but this post just-lets you down.

  7. Aakash Chopra is one of those ‘Silven spoon in mouth” kids who is far far away from reality of life. Enjoying cafe at statue circle in jaipur is different that facing lankan terrorism.

  8. kumar says:

    SRH is not owned by DMK.. Kalanithi Maran owns it.. He owns SUN TV network which has over 20+ channels in the 4 southern states…
    I agree with most of your views but still cannot agree with your views on pak players..

  9. Sreeram says:

    Well written script.. Sports should not be a bait for the polictical drama happening in India..

  10. Ilovemynation says:

    Hi Aakash,
    I’m a regular reader of your blogs on cricnfo and they are interesting to read. I like your columns on cricinfo when they deal with some technical and mental aspects of the game. I may not agree with all your points on various articles, nevertheless the articles are interesting.
    We need to clearly understand that the interests of the nation are paramount and, sports are merely an extension of it. I agree, we should be more consistent in our approach. I would support a total ban on Pakistan and Sri Lankan players/ coaches and extend that to other fields too such as film industry etc. I fail to understand why as a nation, we exhibit timid character, when we confront enemies who are injuring our interests repeatedly. May be, as a nation we are habituated to suffer humiliations from millennia, when hordes from all over the world have looted and embraced us. It is especially visible, when I read the columns of ‘pseudo-intellectuals’ and ‘pseudo-seculars’ that we should forget everything in sports, how hypocritical of them to say that. If a neighboring nation is humiliating us by sponsoring terrorist activities intended to destabilize the nation, but these pseudo-intellectuals to grab headlines give peace sermons. This is the reason we have been embarrassed in the past and will continue to do so in the future. May be, if the current state of affairs continues in the political sphere and in the general public sphere, I’m afraid we will again be crushed by foreign nations. We are a nation of soft people who don’t have the spine to stand up and fight against enemies, instead sleep shamelessly in the name of peace. As a nation, we are champions in giving hollow lectures to be at peace with enemies, even when those enemies are planting bombs in our cities, butchering our brethren in their lands, and killing and maiming our brave soldiers. Sometimes, I feel ashamed when I read our history of humiliation and helplessness. We need to take a queue from a small nation like Israel and be independent and strong when dealing with ferocious neighbors. In the modern world, and against the onslaught of aggressive enemies, to survive we need to use all tools available at our disposal to keep the enemy at bay. In today’s times, the sermons of Gandhiji will not deter the enemy but the actions and courage shown to us by the great leaders and warriors like Shivaji, Subash Bose, Bhagat Singh, Sri Krishna Devaraya etc.
    I just hope there is an end to pseudo-intellectualism in the near future, and we open our eyes and embrace reality. An enemy has to be taught a lesson from all available tools, and in this era, sports and its associated commerical status is a powerful tool to take on your enemies and hurt their interests, so they may find some sense to come to terms and extend peace in real sense.
    Enough of my rant, just wanted to vent the anger that is burning inside me from very long. Very sad to see the selfish and indifferent attitude of our fellow people towards the nation.

    • Raks says:

      Excellent. Kudos my friend. Spoken like a true patriot. Our film industry and sports have lost sense of patriotism. We do not lack singers actors and ex-cricketers in India. Are our artits/players required in our neighbour countries ever? TN Govt has been anti-hindi throughout. They are highly intolerant people when it comes to North Indians. India is not one single country. Sad but true. We are divided.

  11. ramanujan says:

    Hi Aakash,
    I 100% agree with your views. I do agree that the Tamils in Sri Lanka issue is sensitive one ,but what solutions the politicians are trying to figure out is nothing more than a political recipe.

    Now coming to cricket.
    Had this been some other franchisee,the venue would have been shifted because there is a political unrest in state(We saw venue being shifted fro hyderabad to cuttack in previous seasons ).What i feel is the venue not being shifted from chennai is related to the Stature of Mr. N.Srinivasan who is heading BCCI/Owning the CSK team/Owner of a cement manufacturing company INDIA CEMENTS Ltd.

    Now what is most pitiable is that none of the affected franchisees are blowing their whistles against this bias towards chennai franchisee

  12. Raks says:

    Dear Akash,
    I agree sports and politics should not mix but me being a mumbaikar agree with the blanket ban. Only someone who has lost someone to terror can know this feeling. Others can say what they want and cry for not mixing politics and sports but try to explain that to those who cause terror.

  13. Hassim says:

    its not appropriate to combine sports for the politics

  14. Srinivasan L says:

    Hi Akash,
    It might be an over-reaction from TN state govt, to ban Lankan players from playing in Chennai, but this pales before the atrocities the Lankan govt heaped on Tamils. Targeting sports would not have been our course of action if the Lankans were to re-absorb Tamils as equal citizens or at least our Indian govt made the necessary amendments to the UN resolution against Lankan aggression. Given the humanitarian crisis that is happening in Lanka and the targeted killing of TN fishermen by Lankan govt, we in TN felt it highly inappropriate to engage with Lanka in any sporting ties. The whole of India was aligned with the Indian govt,when we agreed to sever sporting ties with Pakistan as a mode of protest against their terrorist activities. But its rather unclear as to why Indian govt hesitates to take similar step against another aggressor country when the victims are from its southern most state. However its sad that we need to hit soft targets like sportsmen even to raise the issue with our fellow country men. The sad truth is Lankan Tamils issue would not have gained any national traction had it not been for the IPL ban on SL players

    • Abhishek Jain says:

      Mr srinivasan,
      i hope u understand what SL has faced in last 30 years. as per ur argument pakistan is right in supporting Kashmir . what atrocities. they have lost president and 30 years of a nation. think about nation, china is investing hugely in Sl and we are loosing our strength in region because of people like u. think about country first. and we dont have any right in other nation affiar.

    • Saurabh says:

      I believe the world community is doing all that should be done to help Lankan Tamils.The very fact that India voted against its’ neighbor and long-standing friend Sri Lanka, is evidence of the concern that there is, in India and elsewhere, for the well-being of the people in that part of the region. But one must also at the same time recognize the sovereignty of Sri Lanka, and respect its’ right to make decisions pertaining to its’ people and lands.
      We in India ourselves have been arguing for something similar in our long-standing conflict with Pakistan over POK, and have been dismissive of the idea of any third party mediation to help resolve the impasse.

  15. Naresh says:

    Aakash this whole issue is on wrong side. If a person lives in a country or citizen of that country doesn’t necessarily have the same opinion as the state. How many of us have a say in our foreign policy? It’s not their fault to be Sri Lankan or Pakistani cricketers. This is just black-mailing politics which will set a bad precedent in the future. Will TN players Vijay, Karthik, Ashwin should sit out of the future SL tours just because DMK or AIDMK don’t want them to?

  16. guyfromktm says:

    So what happens if India is, in the future, touring Sri lanka and the government there says – no players from Tamilnadu allowed? Or say, they no one India associated with CSK allowed?

  17. guyfromktm says:

    “We must evolve from being a sport loving nation, to one who abides by the spirit of sportsmanship too.”

    India is not a sports loving country or even a cricket loving nation. It only loves any sport when India is playing. Look at their news channels and their coverage plus the empty stands when anyone else is playing other than India.

  18. Shyam says:

    Hi Aakash,

    Most of the points mentioned in the article are valid. However, the reason the Lankans have been kept away from Chennai is for security purposes. Just imagine protests and fireballs when Lankans play in Chennai.
    I think the call had to be taken by the IPL and BCCI and they chickened out due to vested interests of the board chief. whay say Aakash?

  19. The great one says:

    Well written blog. But let me tell you something. If u truly believe what u have written then y don’t u let pakistan players play in india or in ipl. Sport exceeds everything someone has written above. Does it exceed human life also. The pain and suffering tamilians undergo in sri lanka can’t be told in one blog. If some one attacks north india then they should not enter india. If our south immigrants are attacked then no one cares and people start critizing people who do something about it. This ban is not to make CSK win the cup. It means nothing to tamil nadu govt if csk win or not. The only thing which matters to them is the safety and sentiments of tamils worldwide not only in india. so before all of yhou start speaking that sports is above all and all that stupid things, know this…..sports is not above life or our country’s integrity (which i think is at stake now). One more thing aakash you do have the right to say what ever you want and what ever is on your mind. But pls do read about the problems of tamilians in sri lanka before blogging about it.
    Note – DMK doesn’t own sun risers team and they are not the chief opposers

  20. Venkatesh says:

    Hi Aakaash,

    Rightly articulated as always AAKASH. In a democracy like India its pathetic that the autocratic regional politicians are playing dirty politics to lure the voters by showing fake patriotism towards their ethinicity and the Central government continues to be ineffective and indict themselves with such predicament of bogging down to coalition’s pressure.

    Its high time that ‘WE’ as cricket fans or for that matter sports fan start realising our priorities and demand that. After all ‘WE’ are the community that keeps the sports in this country alive.

  21. Suresh says:

    If at all it is necessary to ban the srilankans ban the coaches commentators and officials as well and ban should extend all over india

  22. Funny ha ha says:

    Well written.

    From a srilankan fans point of view, i don’t mind whats going on at the moment, both akila and kula enjoying a paid time off from cricket, don’t really care how far franchises who play srilankans go in the tournament. I am happy as long as they get the opportunity to play and have some fun.

    People really need to come down here to sri lanka and see for themselves what is going on, rather than reading or watching something on internet. Obviously there are issues, not extreme as some TN politicians made them out to be.

    Angelo Mathews, whom have been recently named as our test/odi captain is of tamil descent, if some of you people did not already know.

    • Yes or No says:

      Dear Friend.

      You people did not ban Muralidharan or Matthews or Dharmasena because they help you to grow your cricket. So what we watch on TV / Internet is wrong? Oh God please give me a break. We are not hating SL as a whole but we only say STOP this NON SENSE on our fellow brothers and sisters.

  23. jerry says:

    People have been asking why polictics should be mixed with sports??…I have been wondering being a cricket fan and played cricket in the school level…what good does come out of playing cricket or watching the game itself…When Britain banned its English team for Zimbabwe’s Mguambe regime and why not TN ban it for Rajepakse’s cruelty…Cricket helps to bring peace and goodwill between nations…after Kargil war Cricket bridged two countries close together…but Pakistan attitude has not been the same and its the same with Lankan Govt…they kill tamil fishermen or ethnic tamils in Lanka. Aakash you have no idea what goes down south and cricket is the least thing in our minds!!!

  24. Do you think SUN Group & DMK are the representatives of TN public ?? They are doing injustice to the feelings of TN & they will get what they deserve in the coming days. First try to understand after a huge protest against Tamil Genocide in SL, the ruling ADMK government banned the SL players playing IPL in Chennai. Try to aware that many of our fellow Indian Citizens (TN Fishermen) are attacked by the Sri Lankan navy daily. Do you think it is right ? Please don’t estimate TN public’s feelings with DMK & its people !!

  25. Jayakumar says:

    A blog written with nil understanding of the issue behind the ban. If one some writes something, he should first understand the issue 80% or at least he should have a bird’s eye view of the issue. This is written with only knowledge from what North Indian media feeds its people. I am not in support of the ban either, but someone who claims to be a blog writer has to read neutral news and has to have ability to assess information he reads and hear.

  26. Yes or No says:

    “Why has the state been allowed to be autocratic? ” I do not agree with this question. Will you be sitting on a couch and watching Human bloods and our Tamil women getting naked and treated brutally? TN Govt was right in its move. Others cities allowed SriLanka because no one respects value of a human life. After we are people who allowed that Rajapakse the real culprit to enter Tirpathi. I too agree sports and politics not to be mixed but what else can be done to show our protest and anger? Millions of them are watching IPL and is the correct way to communicate. Will you listen if TN Chief Minister issues a News notification on this? The BAN was RIGHT. We are not emotional by supporting this move by State Govt but we RESPECT fellow human not getting tortured.

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