India’s Tendulkar upsets right-wing Hindus
Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar on Monday found himself at the
centre of a political storm after comments he made about his identity
upset a hardline regional Hindu party.
The 36-year-old batsman, who at the weekend marked 20 years in Test
cricket, said in interviews with television channels that he was an
“extremely proud” Maharashtrian, referring to his home state of which
Mumbai is the capital.
“But I am an Indian first. And Mumbai belongs to all Indians,” he
His declaration — in a country where regional identity is still
fiercely guarded — provoked the ire of the founder of far-right Shiv
“Your statement that Mumbai belongs to all India has hurt each
Maharashtrian’s heart,” wrote founder Bal Thackeray in the local
Marathi-language newspaper Saamna.
Indian cricket’s governing body, the Board of Control for Cricket in
India (BCCI), on Monday reacted strongly to the row involving Tendulkar,
who is seen as one of Mumbai’s greatest sons and is revered like a god
“These comments are completely uncalled for. Tendulkar is a
He was born in India, he is for India. If somebody calls himself an
Indian first, is it a crime?” said BCCI spokesman Rajiv Shukla. MUMBAI,