The problem with BCCI’s show-cause notice to cricketers Hardik Pandya and K L Rahul for their supposedly misogynistic comments on the show ‘Koffee with Karan’ is that it will have plenty of takers among the general public.
One, over-the-top reaction is a national malaise. Two, the society always likes to censure young men who seem carefree and enjoy life on the fast lane. In other words, this is also a version of patriarchy.
It is debatable whoever is running the administration in the BCCI today actually saw the show and found the words of the two young cricketers objectionable. More likely that the BCCI is reacting, with an alacrity that it seldom shows in actual matters of cricket, to the outrage that has been spewing on social media platforms ever since the show was aired.
In any case, the most natural reaction to anything said on Karan’s show has to be cool indifference or indifferent coolness. Any other response would be falling into the unseemly trap that the show unabashedly sets up. It is a show, under the elastic label of modern-day edginess, gathers participants, usually Bollywood headline-huggers, and gets them to talk sleaze and dirt in posh patois. It is a Dada Kondke show in clipped accents.
To be fair to Karan Johar — an extremely smart and articulate person —he has conceived the series with the precise idea of titillating with words, and the questions by design have that double entendre mischief that at best carry appeal only to puberty-hit college kids.
But the BCCI is responding like the parent of the same puberty-hit college kids, trying to crack the whip hoping that it would work. But most parents in such situations end up looking farcical only. Pandya, at one point in the show, says that on the day he lost his virginity he came and he told his family and they took it cool. When actual parents behave that way, what is the BCCI trying to prove here?
The BCCI also says it is thinking of banning players from attending non-cricketing shows. Hah! No surprises there. In the 80s, when Sunil Gavaskar wrote in his column calling the selectors to be ‘court jesters’, the BCCI first talked of stopping him from writing, and then suggested that he can write on non-cricketing subjects. Gavaskar cheekily retorted, “what do they expect me to write on, Bofors?” The point is BCCI’s silliness is not new. It has been its trademark forever. In that sense, the affairs of the BCCI are the longest running controversial show in the country, and not ‘Koffee With Karan.’
Contrast the BCCI’s approach with the way the England Cricket Board is handled the violent attack case involving Ben Stokes outside a pub. It has let the law lead the way and avoided any moralistic posturing from its side. It is not as if the ECB has better administrators (Administrators everywhere are, by definition, irredeemable). But boards like England’s and Australia’s are generally more realistic and practical when it comes to handling players who tend to lead a colourful life.
To the question whether what Pandya said was misogynistic, well, men when they spill the beans on their sexcapades, they are bound to be seen as that only. Sensitivity is seldom attendant on philandering. Also, a school dropout man-child is not going to couch his
expressions in romantic evocation. Rahul’s was even less controversial. At any rate, less controversial than his batting show in Australia.
The most outrageous thing that the duo said in the show actually pertained to cricket. They both picked Virat over Sachin as the better batsman.
Now, that is an opinion actually deserving of a severe show-cause notice.