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Central Information Commission slams BCCI for sticking with "colonial legacy"

The CIC slammed the cricket board for holding on to a symbol of India's colonial past.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 18: Virat Kohli of India during the ICC Champions Trophy Final match between India and Pakistan at The Kia Oval on June 18, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)
The BCCI logo represents the Order of the Star of India, as seen on Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s shirt

 

What’s the story?

The Central Information Commission questioned both the Prime Minister’s office and the sports ministries regarding the BCCI’s logo, claiming that it is a part of India’s colonial past, and should be replaced with a more Indian symbol.

They were also stern in their request for a progress report on a bill that the government claimed to have initiated to weed out match fixing and corruption in cricket.

In case you didn’t know…

The BCCI was founded in 1926, during the British Raj. Consequently, its logo represented the symbol of the Order of the Star of India, a British award for princes loyal to the Raj. The star remains on the logo till date, despite its colonial roots.

This is one of several logos that have not adapted since pre-independence times, including the Indian Navy Flag and even the logo for the Pakistan Cricket Board, which, somewhat fittingly, has the same star as India’s.

Also read: The BCCI, Indian cricket and the issue of transparency

The details

"After the First War of Indian Independence in 1857, to consolidate its sovereignty over India, the British Crown created a new order of knighthood to honour loyal Indian princes. No such honours were given after 1948. Did anybody notice that the BCCI is still hanging on to this colonial legacy, 'symbolically', and our team flags this logo even today," the CIC said.

The continued changing of logos and names to erase India’s colonial past has reached the world of cricket, itself a remnant of the British Raj. It is as much a political move as it is a symbolic one.

In a more significant development to the game, the CIC urged the government to place all sports bodies under the RTI Act. In 2012, the (then UPA) government had moved to eradicate corruption in sport by placing sports bodies under the Right to Information Act, making them more transparent.

This applies especially to cricket, where the levels of corruption and match-fixing are enormously high. The Modi government had pledged to get the bill through to the Lok Sabha, and the CIC are pressing them to do so. 

What’s next?

A change of logo may not be surprising, but resistance from the BCCI could shelve the issue indefinitely. The move of putting sports organisations under the RTI Act could be a breakthrough in curbing corruption in cricket, but it seems a long way off.

Author’s take

The move to change the logo is a largely political one and bears little significance to most people of the country. The issue that does concern the people and the game, however, is that of corruption. If the bill can save the people’s tax money by reducing corruption in the sport, it will be a breakthrough in Indian cricket, and a success for politicians everywhere (well, not the corrupt ones).

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