Hero Worship

It is an established fact that people in general always look up towards an icon or a figure which/who is associated with success – either spiritual or material. It kind of soothes them and for some, it provides a target to aspire to, in their lives. Keeps them moving and going, so to say. Nothing unusual about it. Such goals are refreshed every now and then as people progress in their lives and make new discoveries and achieve new milestones.

The business icons are listed out in the Forbes and Fortune magazines in various annual listings of the wealthiest people in the world, so it is easy to see the statistics of how the wealth grows in the business world. And it is only but natural that youngsters look up to the business icons in their quest to replace them in future.

But that is not akin to hero worship. In business, one learns from others’ successes and more from others’ failures. One imbibes the best practices and the likely hurdles that one has to face in overcoming challenges.

However, when it comes to sports and bollywood, somehow these thoughts do not apply. People call Sachin Tendulkar a god, or a Salman Khan as a prince, to be aped and admired and worshipped. In what way is this a reasonable practice in real life or in reel life ? People excel in their chosen line of job, and they need to be encouraged and appreciated, rather than worshipped as god. It is not as if entire India is dependent on one cricket batsman or one bollywood actor for its future. If that were the case, then a Tendulkar would not have followed a Gavaskar. I recently read a cricket commentary which eulogizes Sachin Tendulkar (no problem here, as he deserves all praise), but went on to conclude that without his godly intervention, there is no success for India. That was a ridiculous conclusion from a reputed cricket commentator, and borders on positioning Sachin almost as a god. The fundamental issue is our cosmic dependency on Swamis or Sadhus in the past and even today, bringing a human face into the equation between god and man, since man always wants an intermediary in the process of communication. So, was it a surprise to read such commentaries ? Absolutely not, that is the way most of us are made – believe in foolish hero worship.

It is a sad state of affairs that teamwork, consistency in performance, and passion are not as well counted and admired as is hero worship, which is typically centred on one or two batsmen in the case of cricket. Whether India wins or loses the Cricket World Cup, it is irrelevant at the end of the day. We cannot be partisan in our approach – the stadiums are half-empty when India is not playing, and if there is a great shot or a fantastic catch by another team then we do not clap and cheer on. It is the spirit of the team and the sport that should be the determining characteristic of a great cricket-playing nation.

Are we one ?


Vijay Srinivasan
27th March 2011


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