How dare you say this? The sentence perfectly defines the attitude of Indians. And it takes a little effort to expose that. And there is always the same answer: ‘we need to teach X, Y, Z a lesson’. This time it is Maria Sharapova, five times Grand Slam Champion, who has accidentally exposed the inferiority complex we Indians cope with.
Indians are obsessed with personality. And when they hear something which is different from their version of that personality, they behave like a touch-me-not flower. But they do not shrink inward like that flower. Instead, they rise and attack scathingly. So when Maria Sharapova remarked that she has no idea who Sachin Tendulkar is, she automatically became the target of those Indian fanatics. Had Sharapova said the same for any other Indian cricketer, leave aside any other game, she would definitely not have received any attention, forget abuse and condemnation. But since in India the word sports revolves around cricket, and because we are not good at many sports, Sachin Tendulkar is considered a legend. And Indians are dazzlingly skilled in using legends as required, when needed.
The extent of insensibility we, including our media, have demonstrated on a certain woman tennis player saying that she does not know who Sachin Tendulkar is, is astonishing and being more than louts. And because a woman was involved and had spoken, the highly misogynistic Indians automatically got charged up. On Twitter and Facebook, Sharapova’s character certificate was on offer. Written on it: ‘she makes sexual noises while playing’, ‘only great players are remembered, not glamour dolls’ and so on. Nadal also screams while playing. Is that also sexual noise? And anyone having a little knowledge of tennis knows that Sharapova is a good player, in fact the greatest ever Russian tennis player. So dear Indians, you have even failed in your all-time favourite work of distributing character certificates. And if you insult and create memes of other country’s greatest player, in a certain game, what about the other way round?
What is bizarre if Sharapova does not know a cricket player? Cricket is not even popular in all the commonwealth countries, leave the world. So even if India continues to dominate in cricket, which the country does not, the world does not care. And also consider this. Tendulkar went to see Sharapova play, has Sharapova ever? Or for that matter, Nadal, Djokovic, or Serena Williams? Have you ever spotted them watching a cricket match? Even the cricket world cup? If not, why should it be expected from them to know a certain cricket player? Face the truth: they do not care about the game of cricket.
When Sharapova said that she is clueless about Tendulkar, she only provided an honest answer. It is neither mandatory nor even necessary for the world or the players of the other countries to know Tendulkar. Not knowing Tendulkar is not a sin. And nobody should be trolled, excoriated, insulted and abused for the same.
There are a large number of admirers of Sachin Tendulkar, of a humble man who never even replied to his critics in his 24 years of long career and always remained untainted from controversies. He will certainly not sanction the act of his bhakts, who seem to have left their heads somewhere else and the hands on the keyboard in order to type vituperative tweets and Facebook posts.
Let’s hope a better sense prevails if next time someone says she/he does not know Sachin Tendulkar or any other Indian personality we are obsessed with.