Tendulkars innings as MP dwells in possibility. It need not be just about cricket
Nothing is more important to a democratic polity than the health of its politics. It must,therefore,take the business of politics very seriously. Sachin Tendulkar,Indias premier sporting icon,who has been nominated to Rajya Sabha,is not a politician. But the prospect of his new innings as a member of the Upper House of Parliament is welcome. Especially,when politics and Parliament are being pilloried by the reductive sab chor hai mindset which actually understands little of politics. Under Article 80 of the Constitution,the president can nominate 12 individuals of exceptional achievement in their respective fields possessing expert knowledge or practical experience,in the arts,in science or in social service. While Tendulkar is the first active sportsperson to become a nominated Rajya Sabha MP,the practice of such lateral entry to the countrys supreme legislative institution is grounded in the idea,and expectation,of the enrichment of politics and policy from those who are respected by citizens and who do not have a party structure to help them enter the House electorally. These men and women are expected to add to the efforts and insight of the elected representatives by bringing with them expertise and ideas that would otherwise have languished outside the portals of electoral politics. True,successive governments have used this discretionary power to choose their own who have made hardly a ripple,but that cannot and should not be held against Tendulkars nomination.
Of course,as an MP he will be under critical gaze but his term dwells in the realm of possibility allowing for every bit of brilliance. Tendulkar brings to Parliament that possibility. His is a space of myriad opportunities,which he will know best how to use,or not use. What is known for certain is that he is a role model for an entire generation and more of young and old who believe that the path to achievement is paved with hard work,excellence and commitment. In a way,therefore,he captures the best of the spirit of the young,aspirational India that is defining the countrys socio-economics and may wish to define its politics.
Clearly,Tendulkars innings as an MP need not be just about cricket.