Tendulkar, Modi and ‘weight of a nation’

‘He has been carrying the weight of the nation for so long, now it’s our turn to carry him on our shoulders’ – said Yuvraj singh after that wonderful evening at Wankhede in 2011. I totally agreed then and I still agree now. Till around 10 days back, Tendulkar was the only man to ever carry the weight of the nation on his shoulders but then happened Modi and now it seems that he is the next one to carry the weight (and may be the last one) I was a Tendulkar fan for most of my life and all of Tendulkar’s cricketing life. I am however not necessarily a Modi fan… atleast for now. That said I do not have any issue with Modi. Having been a lifetime Tendulkar’s fan, It is little scary to be a Modi fan!!

Image courtesy - sandhira.com

Image courtesy – sandhira.com

Here is why – People like me set Tendulkar up for Failure right from the day we started cheering him. I am sure that Tendulkar never told me that he is going to score 100 100s. He never claimed that he was the best batsman in the wold. He hardly every said or claimed anything. I bet Tendulkar was not even as talented as some of his contemporaries. I am ready to go on record and say that a certain Vinod Kambli was more talented than Tendulkar. I would dare say that VVS was more natural than Tendulkar.. Heck I would say that Dravid has more mental strength than Tendulkar. Tendulkar just had it in him to work harder than any other kid around him to make most of what God gifted him. The whole thing about expectations was created by people like me. Fans like me.. We placed our expectations on his (literally) young shoulders. We wanted him to win for us. We wanted him to achieve what we could not. We wanted him to be superhuman. Thank God that Tendulkar was able to carry weight of those expectations, very few could. Tendulkar did not just carry the weight but excelled while doing so. I am sure it was a big burden and I am sure he felt it every day for past 22 years. If you need a proof then take a look at Tendulkar post his retirement, you can see the relief on his face..

Modi’s story might play out in a similar way. Now I may not have followed Modi’s career but I am sure there are more charismatic leaders around him. I am sure that Advani, Swaraj and others have a bigger stature … I am sure there are others in BJP with more and diverse experience.  While that might be true, I am also sure that Modi worked his socks off to reach where he has.. The problem starts now.. If social media is to be believed, the whole nation thinks that there are going to be miracles. Modi is going to win them every match as Tendulkar did ( or didn’t). Modi is going to be the solution to every problem. Just as there was a whole generation made up of Tendulkar fans, we now have a generation of Modi fans.

As a neutral observer and a Tendulkar Fan, the Modi fan following worries me. Tendulkar’s whole career was a fight against those expectations and for the record a lot of neutrals still view his career as a failure. His only fault was to raise the expectation. He in no ways knowingly contributed to the rise in expectations but it just happened.The ironic thing about Modi is that he has actively raised the expectation and now it is a genie out of the bottle. Neither Modi nor anyone else can put that genie back in.

Just like Tendulkar, Modi will have to carry the weight of a nation on his shoulders.. I am sure all the Modi fans will be more than happy if Modi retires after 22 years with similar successes / failures as Tendulkar…

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