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Window Seat: It all started half a century ago..

10/01/2021 at 7:00 AM

Dr Mrinal Chatterjee

Half a century ago- on 5 January 1971, the first ever one day international was played- between Australia and England.

When the third Test between Australia and England was washed out, the Australian cricket board decided to host a 40-over one-day international in Melbourne on January 5, 1971. Australia won the match by 5 wickets.

The game of cricket began to change. 

In the late 1970s, Kerry Packer, an Australian media tycoon established the rival World Series Cricket competition, and it introduced many of the features of One Day International cricket that are now commonplace, including colored uniforms, matches played at night under floodlights with a white ball and dark sight screens, and, for television broadcasts, multiple camera angles, effects microphones to capture sounds from the players on the pitch, and on-screen graphics.

With time, the five-day test matches gradually began to lose its appeal to the generation in love with speed. The languid pace of test cricket began to give way to the slam-bam kind of cricket. Fast cricket began to take centre stage even as the connoisseurs of cricket rued the base-ballisation of cricket.

The next step in shortening Cricket to make it faster and more spectator-friendly was T20 or 20-20 game. At the professional level, it was introduced by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in 2003 for the inter-county competition.

The game has succeeded in spreading around the cricket world. On most international tours there is at least one Twenty-20 match and all Test-playing nations have a domestic cup competition.

IPL was established in 2008 and currently consists of eight teams in eight cities across India. Classic cricket lovers consider it as a tamasha – with glamour, high octane entertainment and loads of money pushing the gentlemen’s game to out of the stadium.

But admirers of this form of cricket like the energetic format and its power to draw raw talents and giving them a platform to perform.

It all started on 5 January half a century ago.

Calendar

Joys of celebrating New Year for me have always included getting few calendars and diaries. In fact without few new calendars on our wallsand at least one new diary on my study table- the New Year feeling was hard to come by.

My father used to get Hero cycle diary from one of his cycle shop owner client and I used to look forward to it. It used to publish Urdu sher and its Hindi translation in each of its pages. Thus began my fascination for Urdu poetry. We used to get many calendars with photographs of Gods and Goddesses. My mother used to hang them all on the wall of our tiny puja room.

My fascination for calendars did not wane as I grew up. I make effort to find interesting calendars on different themes. This year IIT, Kharagpur has come up with a calendar on the theme: India’s contribution to Science.

Calendars on Soumitra Chatterjee who passed away last year and Satyajit Ray, whose birth centenary is celebrated this year have been released by admirers. So was a calendar on Gour Ghosh and Parvati Ghosh, the hit pair of Odia cinema of yesteryear.

But all said and done I am missing the Kingfisher calendar with photographs of buxom beauties.

Generational Change

You can find the scene at any tourist place: kids taking photographs of their parents. The accompanying photo (of my student turned colleague turned practising journalist Patitapaban Sahu and his cute son) took me some half a century back. I was that kid’s age then.

But kids of that age in those times were not allowed to handle a camera; not many families had it anyways. If there was one, then it were the parents, in most cases the father – who would take the picture of the kid, never the other way round.

As I see a proud parents being photographed with them holding hands- by cute kids and early teen-agers- I notice how times have changed, how relationship between a father and son has changed from awkward respect-distance to close comradery.

I could not have clicked such a photograph of my father. I am sure, my father would also have felt very awkward. But half a century later, this kid did. And the father is mighty happy. My father would have been happy too. But it was just not happening. I am happy it happened. I am happy children are lot more ‘free’ with their parents.

Remembering Safdar Hashmi

It was 1 January 1989. JANAM, street theatre group was performing a street play titled Hallabol on the outskirts of Delhi. Halfway through the play, it was disrupted by goons. The founder of Janam, 34-year-old SafdarHashmi, tried to reason with the attackers but was brutally beaten up. He died the next day- 2 January.

Born on April 12, 1954 in Delhi, Safdar did an M.A. in English Literature from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University, in 1975. During his years at University he became a member of the Students Federation of India and then joined the Indian People’s Theatre Association. He was one of the founder members of the Jana NatyaManch (JANAM) in 1973. In 1976 he became a member of the CPI(M).

After brief stints of teaching at Zakir Husain College, Delhi, and the Universities at Srinagar, Garhwal and Srinagar Kashmir, he worked for a period as Press Information Officer at the West Bengal Information Centre at New Delhi. In December 1983 he became a full-time theatre activist and party worker.

Safdar’s creativity was not confined to JANAM. He had written poems and plays and done sketches and masks for children, designed hundreds of posters, written scripts and directed short films for television, and written on culture and theatre for national newspapers and the SFI journal Student Struggle.

When JANAM was performing a play on 1st January, 1989, it was disrupted by goons. Municipal elections were around the corner and a trade union leader, RamanandJha, from the Communist Party of India (Marxist), was contesting against a Congress-backed independent candidate, Mukesh Sharma. A violent mob accompanying Sharma attacked the artists enacting the play. Safdar died next day.

I translated Hallabol and another of his other street plays- Hatyare and some of his poems into Odia and put them together in book-form. My humble tribute to an artist who wanted to serve the society but became a victim of vicious body-politics.

Tailpiece: A to Z of 2020


A: Arnab Goswami

B: Black lives matter

C: Covid

D : Distancing

E: Elections

F: Farmer protest

G: Green

H: Herd immunity

I :IPL

J: Joe Biden

K: Kangana

L: Lockdown

M: Mask

N: NRC

O: Online

P: Pandemic

Q: Quarantine

R: Remote working

S: Sushant Rajput

T: Trump

U: Unemployment

V: Vaccine

W: WFH (Work From Home)

X: Xenophobia

Y: Yawn

Z: Zoom call

Tailpiece 2: Award for the most popular drinks..

The most popular drink of the year 2020 goes to….

KADA.

(Courtesy: Social Media)

***

Journalist turned media academician MrinalChatterjee lives in Dhenkanal, Odisha. Odia translation of an anthology of essays titled Mahatma Gandhi: Journalist and Editor, originally published in English is releasing by mid-January 2021.

mrinalchatterjeeiimc@gmail.com

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