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|June 23, 2000||
Wanted: Nothing but the truthAbhilasha Khaitan
You know how they go in courtroom dramas (especially in movies, and even more specifically, in Hindi movies)? Will you tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God? I always found that stuff horrifyingly melodramatic. What is it with quantifying truth? Either you're lying, or you're not. What is a part-truth in any case?
The last couple of days, I've been following (sort of) the King's Commission (live and all that), refreshing the window time and again, waiting. Waiting for the big 'un. Waiting for the truth to out, and that would be our cue, as a cricket loving people, to gape horror struck (expression pretty much similar to beauty paegant winners, feeling as disparate as it can get) and get on with life, as it were. However, after much hemming and hawing, the proceedings which began some 48 hours ago is still where it was, almost 2 and a half months ago, when the Delhi Police dared to bare. So much for confessions and soul purging.
Even as I write this, I have a message come in from a friend who says something which rings a bell, and surely, makes me want to wring a few necks. He says that Indians (and truly, cricket lovers worldwide) despite their angst and desperation at the ever losing cricket team, still believed in and held in the highest esteem, this game that brought them much joy. And now, would it be wrong to say that this whole mess (what else shall we call it) has killed one of the few joys that this country shared, differences in religion, community, culture be damned?
But, this is not about a country's love for the game. This is about the world, the cricketing world's search for truth. A rare and precious commodity, which eludes. Cronje, a self professed patriot, who 'gave his all for his country' when he stepped out on the field. Emotion writ on his face, appealling to those who so desperately want to believe in, again a self professed, mercenary. This need to believe in heroes (fallen or otherwise) can drive many a nation to forgive.
On the other hand, where there is passion, condemnation is not too far away either. And, on Cronje's face I see this need to wish away the condemnation he may just deserve. I do not say this objectively, being an Indian, and therefore detached from South African heroes. Because Cronje's dilemma touches all those who believed in the game, and surely Cronje was a hero, across the cricketing world. His betrayal has been felt by me, almost as much as the accusations against Kapil. As the truth attempts to emerge, the biases fade. And the need to know overshadows the comfort of ignorance. Can we ever be ignorant again? I think not. Having been pushed this far, a cricketing fan has to know the whole story, unadulterated and uncensored, feel the betrayal at one shot, and possibly remove himself from the game till such time the remedial measures taken warrant that the fan returns.
In an hour or so after I write this piece, the commission shall resume its proceedings. The King will sit in judgement, and the fallen hero will try and restore the glory of the war he was purported to have fought as well as the best of his time. He wants salvation, but will someone tell him that only honesty, truth and yes, nothing but the truth, can give him back, if nothing else, at least some amount of the respect that he has lost. His credibility, and certainly, of all the others accused or with information (with or without evidence) rests in them speaking up for the game. For if you don't, someone else will, sometime or the other. And then, someobody will get hurt, harder than what he might have had he inflicted the pain on himself by confessing.
Because by confessing you often become nobler in the eyes of those sitting in judgement. So, wait no more, because no matter how much we try, the truth will force itself out.
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