The Great Tamasha: Cricket, Corruption and the Turbulent Rise of Modern India

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A&C Black, Jul 4, 2013 - Sports & Recreation - 304 pages
On a Bangalore night in April 2008, cricket and India changed forever. It was the first night of the Indian Premier League – cricket, but not as we knew it. It involved big money, glitz, prancing girls and Bollywood stars. It was not so much sport as tamasha: a great entertainment.

The Great Tamasha examines how a game and a country, both regarded as synonymous with infinite patience, managed to produce such an event. James Astill explains how India's economic surge and cricketing obsession made it the dominant power in world cricket, off the field if rarely on it. He tells how cricket has become the central focus of the world's second-biggest nation: the place where power and money and celebrity and corruption all meet, to the rapt attention of a billion eyeballs.

Astill crosses the subcontinent and, over endless cups of tea, meets the people who make up modern India – from faded princes to back-street bookmakers, slum kids to squillionaires – and sees how cricket shapes their lives and that of their country. Finally, in London he meets Indian cricket's fallen star, Lalit Modi, whose driving energy helped build this new form of cricket before he was dismissed in disgrace: a story that says much about modern India.

The Great Tamasha is a fascinating examination of the most important development in cricket today. A brilliant evocation of an endlessly beguiling country, it is also essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the workings of modern India.

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THE GREAT TAMASHA: Cricket, Corruption, and the Spectacular Rise of Modern India

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The Economist's South Asia bureau chief finds the game of cricket a telling metaphor for what ails and heals the new India.Cricket has functioned as a tool to both institutionalize India's caste ... Read full review

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I've only read excerpts of the book and interviews with author James Astill.
The binding of extremes, most rotten and the most vitals of Indian culture, is an interesting and accurately representing
India. However, as cricket is played in broad daylight on any town's market corner or village harvested field, corruptive actions take place in the dim lit and non-computerized government branch offices. A foreigner, such as myself during stays in India, encounters less trouble by authorities and unbelievably supportive and welcoming local "strangers" (anyone on the street...)
As for cricket, for the billion Indian minus several thousands pro-players and league managers, it's a source of pure ecstasy, joy and daily social sport. Here is my short story of my experience along 2 years backpacking remote towns and villages across India:
Thanks for bringing up both subjects side by side in your book.


In the Land of the Blind
The Cricket
The Pawar and the Glory
Boundaries of Belief
Cricket Caste and the Countryside
Cricket ą la Modi
With the Daredevils
Twenty20 Vision
List of Illustrations
A Note on the Author

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About the author (2013)

James Astill is a journalist with The Economist. He has worked as the newspaper's Afghanistan correspondent, defence editor, energy and environment editor and political editor. Between 2007 and 2011 he was the South Asia Bureau Chief, stationed in New Delhi. He has won several journalism awards including America's Gerald R. Ford Prize for Reporting on National Defence, the Grantham Prize for Excellence in Environmental Reporting and a Ramnath Goenka Award for writing on India.

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