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The Great Tamasha

Cricket, Corruption, and the Turbulent Rise of Modern India

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


To understand modern India, one must look at the business of cricket within the country.

When Lalit Modi--an Indian businessman with a criminal record, a history of failed business ventures, and a reputation for audacious deal making--created a Twenty20 cricket league in India in 2008, the odds were stacked against him. International cricket was still controlled from London, where they played the long, slow game of Test cricket by the old rules. Indians had traditionally underperformed in the sport but the game remained a national passion. Adopting the highly commercial American model of sporting tournaments, and throwing scantily clad western cheerleaders into the mix, Modi gave himself three months to succeed. And succeed he did--dazzlingly--before he and his league crashed to earth amid astonishing scandal and corruption.

The emergence of the IPL is a remarkable tale. Cricket is at the heart of the miracle that is modern India. As a business, it represents everything that is most dynamic and entrepreneurial about the country's economic boom, including the industrious and aspiring middle-class consumers who are driving it. The IPL also reveals, perhaps to an unprecedented degree, the corrupt, back-scratching, and nepotistic way in which India is run.

A truly original work by a brilliant journalist, The Great Tamasha* makes the complexity of modern India--its aspiration and optimism straining against tradition and corruption--accessible like no other book has.

*Tamasha: a Hindi world meaning "a spectacle."

From Publishers Weekly

May 27, 2013 – In this pensive work—at turns historical, sociological, and journalistic—the Economist’s South Asia bureau chief, British journalist Astill, examines the beloved game of cricket in India. Cricket was introduced there by British soldiers and sailors in the 18th century, and it was taken up by the growing Indian middle class as the very “caricature of Englishness,” especially by the Parsis of Gujarat, who made their fortunes in Bombay. Cricket clubs sprang up in the Victorian era, and tournaments were played with the British and also with incipient Muslim clubs. Astill looks at some of the legendary players, such as the late-Victorian batsman Ranji (the first great Indian cricketer to play for England), and he studies how the makeup of Indian teams began to reflect a changing India with the inclusion of Dalit and Muslim players. The World Cup victory in 1983 put Indian cricket in the spotlight, and the 1990s were an era of commercial explosion: players got rich and rivaled Bollywood stars, games were being fixed, and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was challenged by the inventive upstart Indian Premier League (IPL). Yet in the end, as Astill graciously describes, cricket inspires in the poorest of India’s poor “a dream of advancement and leisure”—not to mention the marvelous entertainment it provides.
The Great Tamasha
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  • $18.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Social Science
  • Published: Jul 09, 2013
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
  • Seller: INscribe Digital
  • Print Length: 304 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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