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Mahatma On the Pitch: Gandhi and Cricket in India Hardcover – Import, 25 Oct 2017
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About the Author
Kausik Bandyopadhyay teaches History at West Bengal State University, Barasat, Kolkata. Formerly a Fellow of the International Olympic Museum, Lausanne (2010) and the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies, Kolkata (2006–2009 and 2013–2015), he is also the Editor of Soccer and Society (Routledge). Bandyopadhyay has authored and edited several books. His most recent works include Sport, Culture and Nation: Perspectives from Indian Football and South Asian Cricket (New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2015); Bangladesh Playing: Sport, Culture, Nation (Dhaka: Subarna/ ICBS, 2012); and Scoring Off the Field: Football Culture in Bengal, 1911–80 (New Delhi/London: Routledge, 2011).
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The Quadrangular and Pentangular cricket tournaments and Gandhiji's Independence movements go hand in hand while affecting each other positively or negatively. The most notable fact is that the ideals of these tournaments are contradictory to Gandhian idea of eradicating untouchability. The flagrant display of communalism has surely pained Mahatma and hence he played the game in the background against this communal cricket which would have been the twisted idea of the British to divide the Indians. There had been mixed reactions to Mahatma's interference in a game which he had hardly any idea about. While there had been Gandhi bashing and supporting, Gandhiji was delegated the role of a third umpire. As if Gandhiji had foreseen the disaster that was about to happen, India saw the worst communal riots and the pentangular cricket had to be given the final rites.
The level of research the author has invested is unbelievable. To recreate an era that is a century apart, is not easy especially about a topic that is not much talked and written about. The topics are systematically categorised. Instead of the unilinear approach about Gandhiji and his ideals, author has also portrayed another side of the coin where Mahatma was mercilessly criticised for his interference in the topic.
Why should you read this book? The subject is not new. You will find hundreds of books written on Gandhi by best biographers around the world. This book tries to explore a different side of a man whose connection with cricket seems as remote as Gandhi’s tryst with cricket. It is hard to cross in mind of any relationship between the two. The author is one of that curious mind tried to find the answer to the same. Read to know more about the relation between cricket and the Gandhi. It is one of its kinds you do not get to read every day.