If Shivam Dubey, who was swinging that day to watch Dhoni’s match, shouted ‘Dey out Aguda’ is personality worship, a form of hero worship, even more ‘sacred’ when Dhoni’s image appeared on television, a fan… no no… a devotee showed him the Deeparathan. .
The trend of worshiping cricket heroes instead of deities is not new in Indian tradition, idolatry of actors and actresses, balabishekam to cut-outs of actors, shouting in semi-conscious ecstasy as if Sami is the leader, it must be said that sports and sports personalities are driving the common man into a mass hysteria.
While there was a time when Dhoni’s mass appeal came naturally from his cricket and image, now after the advent of the IPL, many marketing departments are using Dhoni’s image as a trademark to artificially create a mass appeal for him.
THALAIVA @msdhoni pic.twitter.com/DnVO7Hmtj5
— DIPTI MSDIAN (@Diptiranjan_7) April 3, 2023
At one point, any player who played for CSK said that Dhoni played this shot, I made that run, Dhoni said that an off-spinner turned the ball like that because of Dhoni, if the batsmen hit a winning shot, the credit goes to Dhoni, the marketing department acted as a commercial part of Dhoni. This was also during his international cricket career. But since the IPL debuted in 2008, it has not only branded the players through propaganda cannons but also used multiple sources, including the media, to construct him as a free-spirited megalomaniac who transcended the limits of his talents. It was during this period when critical journalism was dying that these new cricket gods like Sachin, Dhoni, Kohli, Rohit etc emerged.
On the other hand, television companies that broadcast IPL matches, including commentators, continue to sing praises of Dhoni and draw special attention to him. Commentators, especially in Tamil, have become propaganda cannons about Dhoni and promoters of Dhoni’s lifestyle products, ensnaring young cricket fans in a cult of personality. The current negative development, where commentators are marketing representatives of a particular player or players for the Kanda Varakotlunga, ‘His Kanda Varakotlunga’ range, is a very sad thing.
Dhoni at one point in one-day international cricket only comes in the last 10-15 overs. Astute readers will know very well that if he came and got out, India would have won if he stood till the end and maybe if India lost, ‘what would he do he tried his best’ on social media and some mainstream media. All this continues to build an image that he is beyond fault. This is made possible by his business background.
Now, a person worships Deeparathana in Chennai whenever Dhoni appears on TV. Such a mentality is that the true nature of the worshiper is not based on talents, but rather on the images created about him by the media.
Cricket is a casual game which has been hit with a sudden craze and popularity for some time now. Hero worship is dangerous. Hero worship can engulf one. There is nothing wrong with having heroes but worshiping them as gods is a pathological mentality. In ancient times strong warriors were worshiped as heroes, as we know through many myths, in modern times the upholders of virtue/justice were celebrated as heroes.
Hitler was also celebrated as a hero, Gandhi was also celebrated as a hero. A certain period of mindsets in their respective cultures created and worshiped heroes as a utopian solution to the crises of external realities. But today’s hero-worship, especially heroes from the sports and cinema industry, is a danger of ending up as an empty substitute for one’s shadow self and leading to the loss of one’s own self.