Mohali Madness: Just being essentially Indian
The hysteria doesn't get any bigger than this.
A Chandigarh-based woman screaming on a Hindi television channel that she is ready to give away a kidney for a ticket; Indian Railways running a special train to Mohali; some 30-plus private jets of the rich and the high-heeled seeking permission to land in the city; SMSes and social networking sites buzzing with Mohali gossip; prayers and religious ceremonies across India -- all this frenzy to ensure that 11 Indian cricketers beat traditional rivals Pakistan on Wednesday to book their place in the final of the cricket World Cup 2011
But with diplomacy getting mixed with cricket, a deadly cocktail has been brewed in Mohali. This is not merely the cricket fever, it is a mass hysteria that the nation is passing through.
Mohali is the grand theater, playing with the emotions of Indians. The city has aroused irrationality, prompting those who hate the game to claim that the Mohali event has been over-valued and the reactions absolutely senseless.
People are glorifying cricket to such an absurd extent that a 79-year-old Mumbai-based Grandma has decided to sit on a fast till the match is over. Her granddaughter told Dr Ashit Sheth, a psychiatrist, "What do I do? Look, how my grandma has gone cricket-crazy? In every over she swears foul words. When Sachin (Tendulkar) gets out or Bhajji (Habhajan) makes mistake, she shouts."
Click on NEXT to read how rediff.com's Sheela Bhatt tries to decipher the Mohali phenomenon with help of Dr Sheth...
Hype builds a certain amount of hysteria
India has gone cricket-crazy. How do you look at this madness?
First of all, we should take this as the case of mass hysteria. Two world-class teams are playing against each other and related messages are constantly beamed on television, newspapers, here, there and everywhere. This hype builds a certain amount of hysteria.
This repetition of the issue and exposure to finely shot footages arouses emotions of certain class of people.
That brings them together for the particular event and cause. For them, the cause of arousal was India's win against Australia. It was a big event. All the time, people are talking how after so many years India has walked into the semi-final. Now, India and Pakistan have been pitted against each other; it has only added to the intensity of that emotion.
'Cricket is an emotion; an object of love'
But why is that so?
What's mass hysteria? It is an extreme emotional arousal for a common cause. To watch cricket has become 'In' thing. In society, when such hysteria comes many more people want to do it. I tell you it is so difficult for me to see some people lose lakhs of rupees in cricket betting.
One knows that in this game, behind the hysteria everything is manipulated. The more viewership you have on television and in newspapers, more emotions it arouses. When one falls in love, tell me, who will he/she like the most?
When one falls in love he or she does make a mistake, right? Why do you make a mistake when you are in love? You can make mistakes because you are emotionally aroused. Cricket is an emotion; it is an object of identification; it is an object of love.
The craze for World cup is due to the arousal of certain emotions. People have made cricket a very important thing in life. But I must add that after five days, this craze will subside. This emotion will diminish. If India loses the match with Pakistan, this fever will not be so intense in Mumbai on April 2. But if India wins, people's interest would last till the final.
'All nations witness such madness'
Why has cricket mania intensified so much this year?
All nations witness such madness. United States, England and many other countries see mass hysteria. Masses play by certain tunes. In US, soccer arouses such emotions. Times spent and devoted to debate soccer is no less than what we do for cricket.
In such an event, you play with the emotions of the masses. This time the debate over Sachin Tendulkar's possible century is touching our nerves. Facts and figures are thrown to us. (Greg) Chappell and (Sunil) Gavaskar's opinions are printed, cricket kits are sold, tunes of battles are played on TV screens Cricket is class-less.
This hysteria has nothing to do with one's intelligence. Intellectuals do fall in love. They do want sex. In a similar way, writers and artistes will have a craze for cricket if his/her emotion is suitably aroused.
Is it not touching ridiculous levels?
No. This is normal. All societies go through such a thing. It is a known emotion. When war on Germany was being planned, how did Winston Churchill (British Prime Minister during World War II) take the masses with himself? How did he motivate people to go for war? Didn't Churchill instigate people to fight the war?
'Anybody can be a cricket fan'
Are certain kinds of people likely to be cricket-crazy? Say, for instance, people who are feeling empty or any other unique characteristic...
Not at all. The amount of people who are in love with cricket is so big that you can't generalize. It is not the case that people who are emotionally deprived will like cricket more. People love the Sheila ki Jawani song (OST Tees Maar Khan). The love for cricket is similar. It is an emotion; it is mass psychology.
Why do you want to wear a certain pair of jeans or a watch? The old watch shows the same time as new watch, but still so many people love to wear new watches. Anybody can be a cricket fan; it is not related to your inner-self always. Why do people want a Blackberry or certain computers? The thing catches your emotion and you get hooked.
So Indians would be like this only?
Of course! It is human psychology. See in Mohali or in our homes when we see the match, we get inner satisfaction -- this is my team; these are my players. You identify with these players. This is my country; they play for India. And you want India to win. This emotion runs through all of us. That unites and creates hysteria.
'Who creates mass hysteria? Advertisers and the media!'
If you want to see fun and get brickbats, say loudly that Pakistan will smash India! The fellow will be lynched. I get very few patients who tell me that he or she hates cricket. That's because idol worship is common in India.
Thirty crore people go hungry every day in India. This sort of tragedy has not created any momentum or even a news headline. But just to watch 22 players action and inaction, so much hungama!
That is a part of the game. We love hero-worshipping. It is a part and parcel of a human being. See advertising is something that creates illusion for the product that most people don't want. Best-seller books, soaps, watches, travel destinations, restaurants, cigarettes and drinks are all creation of marketing that appeal to psychology. Cricket is one such product.
See, who is creating mass hysteria? The advertisers and the media! Do you remember what happened to all of us when terrorists were inside the Taj Hotel in Mumbai? There was total paralysis and numbness in the nation. After two years, nobody bothers to remember it. That constant commentary on television channels was for any cause? Has it served a purpose?
'One should also go a little mad sometimes'
It just happens when people's emotions are aroused. During the attack on the Taj Hotel, television commentaries gave traumatic neurosis to some people. Media exploited it then, media is exploiting it now.
Are you a cricket fan?
I do watch cricket. I will log in to my computer and keep track of the score. I don't watch the match ball-to-ball. It is too boring. After all, I also need some excitement in life, no? If I keep tracking my patients, I will go mad. One should also go a little mad sometimes. It's fun.
You very well know how hysteria is being created. Will you still watch the Mohali match?
I am 60-plus. At this age, very few things exite me now. Even at my age, I do need some excitement.
You are cool, doc! Thank you.