Tuesday, August 3, 2021
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Gandhiji and his cricketing spirit

Image Courtesy: Rediff.com

India is a secular country and after getting our independence on 15th August 1947, we have the right to express our views and nobody can stop us from giving valuable suggestions. Newspapers play a positive role in bringing the views of the readers by including them in Letters to the editor column. It gives an opportunity to the reader to give their free and frank opinion.

“India is my country and all the Indians are my brothers and sisters” goes a long way.  The Government is by the people of the people and for the people.  Pen is mightier than sword is true.  National Integration is the hall mark of Indian sub-continent.

India is a linguistic country and we have many newspapers in different languages to express our views. We need not get feared for exposing right things and try to provide solutions in a right way. Gandhiji brought freedom for India and it is up to us to preserve our independence in the best way possible.

Mahatma Gandhiji’s spirit for freedom struggle came from the cricketing field. Gandhiji, when requested for an autograph “played with a straight bat”, quite forgetting that he was engaged in a mighty and bloodless revolution with the British-and thereby became a member of an official in England Team. How he was chosen could not probably have been explained even by the MCC selectors.
Cricket might not have affected Gandhi, but Gandhi certainly affected cricket. The political movements he led and the social changes he sought to bring about had their consequences on how the game was played in the sub-continent. Mahatma’s classmates at Alfred High School, Rajkot. This man, Ratilal Ghelabhai Mehta, remembered Gandhi as “a dashing cricketer” who “evinced a keen interest in the game as a school student. He was, it seems, good both at batting and bowling and had an uncanny understanding of the game’s uncertainties as well.

Requested for his autograph Gandhiji turned over the pages and put his signature as the 17th player of the MCC team led by Douglas Jardine in 1933-34.  The autograph book is one of the treasured possessions of the Marlybourne Cricket Club ( MCC ) at Lord’s. Not only Gandhiji signed autograph book but also played for the team comprising of Indians of British origin. Mahatma Gandhi played for a team of British origin against a team of Indian origin at London and scored 21 runs with 3 boundaries. He took one wicket also. He was wearing pant and shirt while playing.

Gandhiji was not only a cricket enthusiast but he also wielded the willow. R.G. Mehta, a boyhood friend and schoolmate wrote” It is not commonly known that Gandhiji was a dashing cricketer and evinced keen interest in the game.  Once we were watching a cricket match together. In those days there were ding-dong battles between Rajkot city vs Rajkot Sardar (camp area). At a crucial moment, as if by intuition, Gandhiji said that a particular player would be out and hey presto the batsman was really out.  There is no doubt that the freedom spirit of Gandhiji came from the cricketing field.


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