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Choose your heroes wisely

Be he a highly successful cricketer or she an extraordinary singer, he a highly popular actor or she an accomplished fashion designer; we can look up to them for their skills only.

ByKajal Chatterjee

Updated 20 Apr 2022, 8:44 am

Johan Cruyff (PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons)
Johan Cruyff (PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons)

 

It is unfortunate that Indians (and perhaps the world also) often award status of "divinity" to the celebrities. Be he a highly successful cricketer or she an extraordinary singer, he a highly popular actor or she an accomplished fashion designer; we can look up to them for their skills only.  Now, just because he/she has excelled in his/her chosen field of sports/entertainment; the concerned celebrity does not become the "Conscience" of the nation/society.

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Why should we promote them to the skies as far as humanity is concerned? Why would we have to wait for their nod of approval/disapproval revolving around any burning issue! They have just excelled in their chosen trade (just like any doctor, engineer, professor or lawyer). They don't enjoy any monopoly over all things sanity; so why should their thoughts/silence on social matters be given so much importance! Why should we have to wait for the opinions of the celebrities! Would we take a stand on any issue after going through what the celebrities are thinking about it!

After all at the end of the day, they are also human beings with their share of faults and demerits along with goodness just like the rest. However, we must sincerely respect and draw inspiration from those sporting heroes (without deifying) who display exceptional values, morality , principle and courage outside the sporting arena, especially in the social sphere. 

In this respect the name of Late Johan Cruyff --- Dutch football legend --- promptly comes to mind. He had joined Barcelona FC in 1973 for a Himalayan deal of $9,22,000(double the previous world record for a player). Barcelona, capital of Catalonia province, seeks independence from Spain with the local language being Catalan. When Cruyff had joined Barcelona FC, Spain was then ruled by that ruthless military dictator named General Franco who had imposed a total ban on all things Catalan and even ordered all citizens of the country to name their babies or new born according to Spanish language. Within a few months, Cruyff's child was born. As a Dutch, Cruyff could have easily named his son in his native language. But he registered his son as  'Jordi' according to the Catalan linguistic heritage so as to respect the language of Catalonia province in which Barcelona is located!

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Despite strong opposition by the Franco regime which insisted on only Spanish names; Cruyff stood his ground, fought his utmost and succeeded in registering his son's name in Catalan language. Cruyff did not become a permanent resident of Barcelona. He went there temporarily on a football contract. Yet he named his son in Catalan language by ignoring the diktat of the dreaded  Franco regime, thereby  risking his  career in Barcelona fetching an astronomical $9,22,000! This is called gratitude towards the region in which one has set up a base. This is called remaining indebted to the language and culture of the soil which provides shelter, bread, butter and livelihood.  

Johan Cruyff was not only a great footballer, his courageous stance against dictator Franco and noble action of respecting the language of the soil proved that he was a great upright human being also of unique values and principles. What a contrast to certain migrant communities in various Indian states who despite settling in the concerned region, getting educated there, earning their bread there through jobs and business and enjoying a better life; simply refuse to learn or respect the language of their adopted land and raise barbaric hue and cry if  efforts are taken to accord the indigenous tongue its rightful linguistic due in its own soil. This narrow and imperialist attitude on the part of those migrants prove that they have settled in the particular region merely to exploit it's resources. These people of exploitative mindset should learn from Cruyff what respect towards the language and culture of one's adopted land is all about. 

(The views expressed are personal)

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First published:20 Apr 2022, 8:44 am

Tags:

humanitycelebrityconscienceJohan Cruyff

Kajal Chatterjee

Kajal Chatterjee

Special Contributor, KOLKATA, West Bengal

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