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The Indian Premier League: Tainting The Game Of Cricket Since 2008

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By Sumeet Kaur:

If I may ask you a question, how many of you really like the IPL? The world’s richest cricket tournament constituting 9 teams in which top Indian and international players take part? Will your answers be the same today as they were sometime back when you simply loved watching IPL matches, when IPL was an amalgamation of entertainment and cricket for you and the cricketers were your heroes? Just think for a moment. Why have the owners, officials, players who are essentially men of power, position and repute failed to think about their public image and moral ethics? Are they so deeply engrossed in the business scenario that they do not even care to think of the crores of people who watch these matches with a lot of interest, and that they are what they are because of the trust and faith of millions of cricket fans who are watching them play, either live in the stadium or at home glued to their television sets? Cricket is the only game in India that has a mass appeal owing to the fact that it is played in the spirit of the game. Posters of cricketers are purchased in hundreds of rupees by the cricket fans and they are worshipped as Gods. How can you possibly forget the scene throughout the country; skyrockets shooting in the air whenever the Indian team wins a match? But a series of developments, if carefully looked upon and analysed, make us realize that are we hurting the game spirit as a whole.

ipl

Neeraj Vyas, Business Head of SET Max the official broadcaster of IPL, claims that “Television viewership ratings have remained stable despite controversies of spot fixing surrounding the tournament.” Others claim that there is a sharp 14 per cent drop in the television ratings (TVR) in the evening matches before and after the scam broke. We can’t predict as to who is telling the truth. But what if the Indian people come up with a resolution and stop watching cricket matches totally? What about the millions of advertisement revenue generated through match broadcasts? Who would like to watch a game which is tarnished, which doesn’t have any standards, a game which is no longer a game but solely business and the audience are nothing but mute spectators. And this is not the first time that the public should let it go and just wait for improvement from the players and the management. IPL has been in the news ever since its inception in 2008 for something or the other, right from franchise agreements or rave parties, allegations of cricket betting, money laundering or spot fixing. This time S Sreesanth, was arrested with two other teammates Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandola for spot-fixing, putting many players and teams under the scanner. Now N Srinivasan, the President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India himself in the spotlight, as his own son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, Chief of the Chennai Super Kings team has been arrested for connections with Vindoo Dara Singh, arrested for betting and links with bookies.

Can the people of India forget the previous controversies associated with this game of repute? The former IPL chairman Lalit Modi, the founder and architect of the T20 League and the Champions League, was sacked in 2010 after allegations about misappropriation of funds came to light. Shashi Tharoor, the Union minister in 2010 also had to resign and his wife Sunanda Pushkar, was also caught in a raging controversy over the IPL Kochi franchise as she was gifted a stake worth Rs 70 crore in Rendezvous Sports World. Pune Warriors’ Rahul Sharma and Wayne Parnell were among several people who were detained for allegedly taking drugs at a rave party in Mumbai last year. Indian bowlers Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh were involved in an on-field controversy in the first IPL season in 2008. In the year 2000, a big match-fixing scandal had come to light that involved top players like Mohammad Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja. Last year a sting operation by a TV channel caught 5 players discussing ways of spot—fixing. Some earlier scandals dealt with the governance scenario and some dealt with the game itself. May it be in any form but, the people of India are definitely being cheated.

IPL is helping players earn more money and it does not surprise me that the spot fixing scandal has made the IPL the butt of all jokes, even online for that matter. Our law minister, Mr Kapil Sibal has said that the government will soon come out with a law to deal with malpractices in sports. We can only hope that this law comes up soon else millions of fans for whom cricket is almost like a religion, will feel cheated. The BCCI needs to take stern measures to revive the brand value of the IPL and not just turn a blind eye to the current state of affairs. Laws need to be strictly enforced. Even legalizing betting can be an option. There is a need for a massive clean-up for the credibility of the game to be restored, else cricket lovers will stop caring about the game and for cricket lovers to enjoy the game again, and quick action is the need of the hour. If all of this does not happen, watching the IPL will be just like watching a manipulated and pre-judged reality show on television, the contents of which are scripted and directed. I am still in a dilemma and forced to think as to what I should tell my children. Is it the money that counts or is it the game?

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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