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January 18 , 2009

All That You Can't Leave Behind

Why we can never do without Cricket


If one were to do a nationwide poll of Indians born after Independence and ask which is the one date they remember the most, the answer may well be 25 June, 1983, the date on which India won the cricket World Cup. It is Often said that cricket in India is a like a religion; nothing could be more misleading. Religion has scarred the nation more deeply than anything else. Cricket is the balm that heals. In our collective consciousness, there is nothing quite like cricket. As the most visible expression of national identity, as an obsession or a dream, cricket is the only thing that possibly unites a country as diverse and as contradiction-ridden as India. In this brilliant book, Soumya Bhattacharya shows how we have made this game our own, given it our own colour, our own customs, our own codes. And how cricket in turn has come to permeate every aspect of our public life, from popular culture to politics–so that, when a game is on, the rest o life happens strictly between overs. In the end, All that you can’t leave Behind is as much about India as it is about cricket.

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