Yesterday we saw West Indian legend Michael Holding speak passionately against systematic racism and the de-humanisation of the black community. He also spoke about how education was the only way to solve this issue and make sure that the George Floyds of the world aren't murdered anymore.
In light of this, Twitter user Abhishek pointed out an excerpt from former Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar's book, Sunny Days.
Gavaskar, who had shared the stage with Holding and the likes for decades and is widely known and loved in the West Indies, describes its people are 'barbarians'.
The said excerpt is not just derogatory in nature, but extremely racist towards the black community, almost mirroring the literature white supremacists in the USA and Europe have used over centuries to justify the subjugation of the black race.
I was reminded of these lines by Indian cricketing icon Sunil Gavaskar in his book, Sunny Days.— Abhishek (@pusillanimix) July 8, 2020
This is how 99% of India sees black people, to this day. https://t.co/a9WrbTjvEh pic.twitter.com/mqzbVJLadC
In 2008, the former Indian captain had cried racism after the match referee for the controversial Sydney test, Mike Procter had banned Harbhajan Singh after Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds had accused him of using racist slurs.
According to Bleacher Report, Gavaskar had said:
Millions of Indians want to know if it was a ‘white man’ taking the ‘white man’s’ word against that of the ‘brown man.’ Quite simply, if there was no audio evidence, nor did the officials hear anything, then the charge did not stand.
Following George Floyd's murder, Gavaskar had also written about the systematic racism in cricket in his column in Sportstar.
Meanwhile, TM Krishna also asked when famous Indian cricketers like Gavaskars, Manjarekars, Dravids, Shastris and Tendulkars would speak against casteism and the discrimination against Dalits in India.
Waiting for the day when the Gavaskars, Manjarekars, Dravids, Shastris and Tendulkars will speak 'on air' about casteism, struggles of Dalits in India and their own participation in the system!— T M Krishna (@tmkrishna) July 9, 2020
This also led to a spiritied conversation on the subject of discrimination.
Nobody is calling for saviours. Considering most indian cricketers come from caste privilege and the system is controlled by people of caste privilege this would be a significant self reflection/realisation.— T M Krishna (@tmkrishna) July 9, 2020
Casteism can talked only when they allow dalits to represent the team. BCCI won't allow it to happen and even the cricket academy of states are casteists they will exclude dalits from beginning. So they'll never talk about it.— Alexander Supertramp😕 (@IntoTheWildGuy) July 9, 2020
My point is these men are too entrenched in the system to recognise the privilege. Just as #MichaelHolding called out the #WhitePrivilege you need a dalit cricketer to get the message home. Unfortunately can't recall any from the recent stock of cricketers.— Anant Jayant Natu (@anantjnatu) July 9, 2020
Zero chance...Indian cricketers are some of the most entitled,most insular and most self obsessed species. Sunny is my all time fav cricketer but I’ve zilch expectations from him for any reflection or action on casteism— VoltaireCC (@CcVoltaire) July 9, 2020
Tendulkar's contemporary Vinod Kambli is a striking example. Set world records with Tendulkar in school, impossible to ignore. Then he had a few low scores. So they invested in ironing out his technical flaws in view of his phenomenal talent.— Rahul Siddharthan (@rsidd120) July 9, 2020
No, of course not. They dropped him.
Well, all we can do is hope that someday, people we call heroes will actually do something heroic.