Hyderabad: After receiving flak from netizens for organizing Brahmin Cricket Tournament, the organizers said they had 'no bad casteist intentions' behind organizing the tournament. The two-day long cricket tournament was held on 24th and 25th December in Uppal, Hyderabad. The tournament was organized primarily by four Brahmin engineering students.
The cricket tournament that happens every year since 2018 caught social media attention when the poster which says "no other caste players are allowed" went viral.
A total of 16 teams with names like Keesara Veda Pandits, Parashuram, and Bharadwaja participated in the cricket tournament that happened in BSR cricket grounds in Nagole. All the players were 'poojaris' (Priests). Though the match got over, the poster of the Brahmin cricket tournament is still circulating on social media.
One of the main rules mentioned in the poster says, "Every player should carry their ID proof compulsory and no other caste players are allowed". Organizers said that a local private NGO donated a major sum of registration money for the cricket tournament.
Susheel Kumar, one of the organizers told Madhyamam that this cricket tournament was conducted for entertainment and not for creating rivalry and clashes. "I honestly don't understand what's wrong with this tournament. We believe in 'Vasudaiva Kudumbakam concept'. We are not against other caste people. Through this tournament, we don't have any intention to insult other castes in India. This is for the development and integrity of the Brahmin community. By this, we can develop sports skills. In other tournaments, they will not give opportunities for Brahmins to participate. That is why mainly we conducted the matches. In our poster we clearly mention that no other castes are allowed, what is the mistake in it?" he says.
The organizers added that they are receiving threat calls from unknown people for conducting the Brahmin cricket tournament. They have lodged a complaint in Bowenpally Police Station against those who made threatening calls.
Sources say that Andhra Pradesh has been witnessing caste-based cricket tournaments for years, even though the Brahmin cricket tournament commenced in 2018 by Parishads.
Discussions on caste privilege and under-representation of Dalits and Muslims in Indian cricket is not new to netizens. Recently, Sachin Tendulkar posting pictures wearing the 'Janeu'- a thread worn by Brahmin males- sparked debate. Before that, Ravindra Jadeja posted a picture wielding swords with a caption 'Rajput boy'.
Yuvraj Singh once referred to his former teammate Yuzvendra Chahal as 'Bhangi' and later claimed he did not know the caste implications. Hardik Pandya faced criticism when he supported #BlacklivesMatter movement after George Floyd's death while remaining silent on caste atrocities. Critics say that the urban concentration of the game resulted in creating structural barriers in cricket.
However, Twitter stormed against the tournament by calling it 'Casteist and Manuvadi'. Tweets slammed the assertion of Brahmin merit and noted the pervasive and regressive nature of Brahmin elitism.