Super Saturdays from Anna Hazare and M S Dhoni, and the 3 C's of India

Rajshekhar MalaviyaCorrespondent IApril 13, 2011

MUMBAI, INDIA - APRIL 03:  India's cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni poses with the  ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy during a photo call  at the Taj Palace Hotel on April 3, 2011 in Mumbai, India.  (Photo by Ritam Banerjee/Getty Images)
Ritam Banerjee/Getty Images

I guess it would be safe to bet that most Indians didn't know of Anna Hazare as they came out to celebrate India's victory at Wankhede on that Super Saturday of Indian sports.

A day that also saw Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi get to the No. 1 doubles team in men's tennis.

If the Team India victory was special, so was this, as the two icons of Indian tennis came together after feuding for several years, even as Indian tennis lovers very much wanted to see them together.

Most believed that had they not broken their partnership, they would have swept everything in sight in men's doubles. Well, they are back at last, and winning together. It's also time for me to get back to Hazare.

If Dhoni and his boys got India to party until Sunday morning and got strangers to hug each other while waiting or rather enjoying traffic jams, Anna got millions of Indians together on an issue that's assumed monstrous proportions in the last year or so.


Until about a year ago, it was easy to get a conversation going with a stranger on two topics: Cinema and Cricket.

It is only since the last year that the 3rd "C", Corruption has come into the collective consciousness of Indians, and the fast from the 73-year-old former soldier worked up such emotion that the day after Hazare broke his fast, one of the leading newspapers carried a headline that alluded to the previous Super Saturday: INDIA WINS AGAIN.

In a country that's growing a bit weary of being called an emerging power (how long will we continue to be emerging, they ask, and not without reason), its interesting that these 3 C's should hold center stage.

Cinema, Cricket and Corruption make for strange bedfellows, even as one could argue that cricket in India has ceased to be a game, its entertainment, its an industry and it has had its trysts with Corruption as has cinema.

Well, one can find and create all kinds of connections, but it is a fact that most of India's recent celebrations have come from Cricket and Cinema, and most of its recent distress, from Corruption.

That corruption could also give Indians a reason to unite and rejoice, would never have occurred to even the most imaginative.

Media has played a huge part in the popularity of both, and those of my vintage would recall how there was a break in the telecast of the 1983 World Cup Final as Doordardshan, India's sole TV Channel at that time, also needed to telecast the evening news bulletin.

Thankfully, the news ended just before Kapil Dev raced with the ball to pluck Viv Richards' wicket out of the air as it were, and set India on course to an unexpected victory.

If 1983 was Kapil's India with a severely limited media, constrained as well in many ways, 2011 is truly Dhoni's India, and an India that's led by media in many ways.

The Sunday after India's victory had no other news on news channels except Cricket World Cup, Team India, Dhoni's freshly shaved head, Tendulkar's dream come true, Yuvraj's amazing high after a terrible 2010 and other sidelights.

And Anna Hazare's India of 2011 is also the India of media.

Facebook, Twitter, other social media in the digital space as well as the hundreds of news channels that dot the Indian media ensured that news of the protest at Delhi's Jantar Mantar spread like wild fire, and got Indians to call it the second war of Independence.

And, as a wag remarked, India's corporates missed a great sponsorship moment: The most televised breakfast ever.

True, it could have had a sponsor, co-sponsors, media partners and so on. Jokes apart, thanks to Dhoni and Hazare, Indians have had something to celebrate.

Of course, we would like that Corruption is not a reason for celebration. We would prefer to stick with 2 C's: Cricket and Cinema. What say?