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Maharashtra Minister’s Special Treatment Of Gavaskar Raises Serious Celebrity Bias Questions

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Batting great Sunil Gavaskar needs no introduction. He is arguably one of the greatest cricketers to have played sport for the country. He was the first batsman in the history of the game to breach the 10,000-run mark in Test cricket.

Batsmen like Sachin Tendulkar, who is referred to as the ‘God of Cricket’ by his fans, idolised Gavaskar and wanted to be like him.

© Reuters

After he retired from international cricket, the Maharashtra Government allotted the ‘Little Master’ a 2,000 square meter land in the Bandra-Kurla complex to set up a cricket academy for the benefit of the budding cricketers. The land was allotted way back in 1988, a year after Gavsakar played his last match for India.

More than three decades have gone by, Bombay has become Mumbai and the city is full of sky-scrappers but the land allotted to Gavaskar is still living in the 20th century.

© BCCL

In a series of tweets, Maharashtra’s Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad expressed his disappointment with the legendary cricketer for not fulfilling his promise. Awhad said he was so close to cancelling the allotment of the land but the cricket fan inside him stopped him.

The Minister said had it been for any other person than Gavaskar, he would have cancelled the allotment of this plot and would have utilised it for some other project.

“I had almost taken the decision to cancel the allotment of the 2,000 sq metre plot located in Bandra (East). Despite such a huge size and prime location, the proposed cricket academy has not yet come there. I did not cancel the allotment because of Gavaskar’s stature and his great contribution to the game,” Awhad wrote on the micro-blogging site.

© Reuters

“I was ready to take the plot back along with MHADA (state-run housing agency) and utilise it for some good purpose,” he stated.

Explaining why he couldn’t take away the land from him, Awhad said it was because he had some great memories of Gavaskar growing up. He used to consider him a God during his playing days. He also recalled how he came home crying after Gavaskar was cleaned up by former English pacer Phillip DeFreitas.

Had it not been #sunilgavaskar as the housing minister would have cancelled the allotment I m one who used to c god in #SunilGavaskar
Now at least he should make the best out of the plot.
Can’t forget the day he was clean bowled by #PhilipsDefraitis and I left the stadium crying

— Dr.Jitendra Awhad (@Awhadspeaks) September 15, 2021

“Had it not been #sunilgavaskar as the housing minister, would have cancelled the allotment I’m one who used to c god in #SunilGavaskar. Now at least he should make the best out of the plot. Can’t forget the day he was clean bowled by #PhilipsDefraites and I left the stadium crying,” he explained.

© Reuters

While the exact reason why the land was not utilised for so long is still not known, one of the possible explanations could be that the plot was reserved for an indoor academy complex. But the state government has now given the Sunil Gavaskar Foundation the permission to convert the land into a multi-facility sports complex.

The government has also ordered the foundation to start construction on this land within the next 12 months and finish the construction in the next three years.

As per Indian constitution, every person has the equal right before the law and there shall be no discrimination based on various social norms, including religion, race, caste, sex, and place of birth.

© Twitter IPL

And  here we have a state housing minister getting influenced by a person’s social status and bending the rules to suit his needs. Not just that, he even had the audacity to brag about it on a social media platform. The reason why he did that was because he knew that rather than questioning his actions, people would praise him. And if you also fall in the latter category, then you’re equally culpable of  spreading such discriminations in the society because we all know he wouldn’t have given the same treatment to a common man.

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