Mahatma on the Pitch by Kausik Bandyopadhyay- Review

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Name          – Mahatma on the Pitch
 Author                 – Kausik Bandyopadhyay
 Publisher              – Rupa Publications
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My Review
Rating : 4.0

Mahatma Gandhi and Cricket, two seemingly mutually exclusive topics. Author Kausik Bandyopadhyay has successfully generated intrigue in the readers about the relevance of cricket in the freedom struggle. The author has started off with how Mahatma Gandhi had skipped cricket practices due to disinterest as well as taking care of his ailing father. The author notes that Gandhiji has counted the games like cricket and football as expensive in comparison to inexpensive Indian games like gilli-danda, kho-kho, kabaddi, etc. According to him, the King of the exercise was walking.

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 the 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 has 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 in is unbelievable. To recreate an era that is a century apart is not easy especially about a topic that is not much talked about and written about. The topics are systematically categorized. Instead of the unilinear approach to Gandhiji and his ideals, the author has also portrayed another side of the coin where Mahatma was mercilessly criticized for his interference in the topic. 

Every cricket lover should know the history of pre-Independence cricket and hence I recommend this book to all cricket lovers.

This review is in return of a free book from the publisher  

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