By Ramachandra Guha
C. ok. Nayudu and Sachin Tendulkar certainly determine during this pleasing historical past of cricket in India, yet so too—in arresting and unforeseen ways—do Mahatma Gandhi and Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The Indian careers of these nice English cricketers Lord Harris and D. R. Jardine offer a window into the operations of Empire, whereas the intense lifetime of India's first nice sluggish bowler, Palwankar Baloo, introduces the still-unfinished fight opposed to caste discrimination. Later chapters discover the contest among Hindu and Muslim cricketers in colonial India and the intense passions now provoked while India performs Pakistan. a big, pioneering paintings, this is often additionally a beautifully-written meditation at the ramifications of game in society at huge, and on how recreation can impact either social and political history.
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Extra resources for A Corner Of A Foreign Field: The Indian History Of A British Sport
From Bagot’s account, it seems that in both city and country the Indian had no feel for cricket at all. At this time ‘the native mind had not grasped the delicacies and intricacies of “yorker” “longhops” and “half volleys” but were rather apt to look on a cricket match as proof of the lunatic propensities of their masters the sahibs, and to wonder what possible enjoyment they could find in running about in the sun all day after a leather ball’. In the great city of Calcutta, where Bagot was once stationed, the only Indian with a connection to cricket was the club’s official ‘Fecknee waller’, or thrower, who was by no means bad practice; very straight and very fast, of course with no break and little variation of either length or pace, but with six annas on the wicket, apt to be very deadly if you did not play with a straight bat.
This dissolved itself in two years, to be replaced by the Young Zoroastrian Club, still going strong 150 years after its inception. The Young Zoroastrians were funded by the emerging business houses of the Tatas and the Wadias. The club’s prime mover, however, was one Hiraji Gosta, also known as Kuka Daru. 34 At least thirty Parsi clubs were formed in the 1850s and 1860s, named for Roman gods and British statesmen: Jupiter, Mars, Gladstone and Ripon, for example. The emerging Parsi bourgeoisie welcomed the growth of cricket for strengthening their ties with the overlord and for renewing the vitality of a race that had lived too long in the tropical sun.
Far quicker than the Hindu or the Muslim, the Parsi took to Western dress, Western music and the English language. With his ‘elastic and fascinating character, half oriental, half occidental’,26 he took readily to cricket, too. The origins of Indian cricket – as distinct from cricket in India – lie in an expanse of green ground at the southern end of the island of Bombay, acres of open space now broken up into half a dozen pieces and ringed by those colossal works of colonial Gothic: the High Court, the University, St Xavier’s College and the Victoria Terminus.
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