Sourav begins batting for ISKCON

Krittivas Mukherjee

Kolkata, June 5:

The Hare Krishna sect has found an able champion in India’s cricket captain Sourav Ganguly, who says Westerners have often taken a skewed view of Indian religious practices.

Revealing a side of his personality that was hitherto little known, Ganguly has written a special article for the order’s souvenir on the occasion of the famous chariot festival of Hindu god Jagannath, considered another form of Lord Krishna. Lord Jagannath’s chariot festival is on June 19 and the festivities take place in Puri in Orissa where over a million people congregate to pull three huge chariots.

“Lord Jagannath looked to them (British colonial rulers) like a demon with bloody lips and their newspapers described him as the ‘Moloch of Hindustan’, in other words, ‘the devil of India’,” Ganguly wrote. Ganguly, who is known to be deeply religious and even a little superstitious when it comes to his cricket, wrote: “They (the newspapers) reported that Indians still bow down to wood and stone and they are not civilised people. Standing on the threshold of the 21st century, we can realise that these are misinformed conclusions.”

A copy of the article was made available to this writer.

The two-page signed article describes in detail the genesis of the chariot festival and also the greatness and relevance of the philosophies of the Hare Krishna order or the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon). Iskcon, a sect of Hinduism that worships Lord Krishna is headquartered in West Bengal’s Mayapur town.. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, better known as Srila Prabhupada, established Iskcon in 1966. It was not be known if Ganguly is a member of Iskcon, but the cricket superstar did seem to have studied the order’s philosophies.