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A Corner of a Foreign Field: The Indian…

A Corner of a Foreign Field: The Indian History of a British Sport (2002)

by Ramachandra Guha

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853216,984 (4)6
Ramachandra Guha is one of the world's foremost historians and writers on cricket. Here he is offering three books to Picador. The first will be an Indian history of a British sport - cricket which will be written in his usual animated and highly informed way. The second book is a fascinating anthology of what people have said about Gandhi - from politicians, writers, artists. It will be very international and hugely enlightening. The third book is a definitive biography of Gandhi - Gandhi is regarded as one of the greatest figures of the twentieth century and Guha is the perfect biographer. Ramachandra Guha's book is an extraordinary work of non-fiction. Charting the social history of cricket in India he not only sheds light on the way a society works during a time of massive social and political transformation (the small but important social arguments that take place - for example, the staking out of territory in terms of public parks; the changes in position between the ruler and the ruled and within the limits of caste and class) but he also brilliantly traces the links between sport and politics. A Corner of a Foreign Field makes references to the 1936 Olympics and the cricket… (more)



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A history of cricket in the subcontinent written by a good historian. This work focuses less on numbers and stats and more on the social and political circumstances in the colonial and postcolonial India and the role cricket played in it.

The focus in this is mainly on cricket in Bombay and two of the most famous players in the Bombay cricketing scene. Palwankar Baloo, a slow left arm spinner and a Dalit. He was an early hero to Bhimrao Ambedkar, the draughtsman of the Indian constitution. We see his struggle to get into the Hindu cricket team despite being the best Indian cricketer of that time.

The other one is C.K.Nayudu, a fearless and aggressive batsman who has been a constant presence in the Hindu cricket team

The question of communal amity in the nation and cricket’s role in it keeps surfacing. Did sports being played on communal lines intensify communal rivalry or did it foster healthy rivalry and brought the communities together?
A fascinating work and great writing. ( )
  kasyapa | Oct 9, 2017 |
Owing to the atypical bailiwick of this book with atypical title , I was not sure what to expect of this book but I gave it a read owing to the reputation of the author.
And to say that this book is an absolute stunner would be an understatement because this book is beyond comparison, a master in its own league.
As the title of the book says , this book regale the illustrated history of Indian cricket, a sport bequeathed from the Britishers. The likes of Palwankar Baloo, C.K Naidu, Jamsheb Ranjisinghji etc who are generally unheard of, are described in great details in this book.
The major theme of this book is the Bombay Quadrangular tournament played between Hindu, Parsi, Muslim and European gymkhanas. This tournament took place for almost thirty years and had the great fan following in those days .It is during those years of quadrangular that players like the Baloo brothers, Naidu come into public glares. The controversy surrounding the communal nature of the tournament is also very well documented, highlighting the views of various Politician, editors and cricketers. Even after the termination of the quadrangular, the popularity of the sports failed to diminish and soon after India’s assents to her independence the people began to cherish the national team. Even though the hockey team in those days was taking the world by storm with its gold medals plunder in the Olympics its popularity does not faze the popularity of this game. In the later part of the book the focus shifts to Indo–Pak rivalry and the advent of the modern cash rich cricket in Independent India.

The most beautiful part of the book is the incorporation of the political and the sporting ambience of that time. The struggle of the game and its patron to survive in those difficult times make this book even more worthwhile. The author has captured the very essence of the India of that time , struggling for independence and enjoying cricket to ease her difficult life.
This book is beautifully written and is easy to read and can be called belles-lettres in spite of being very informative. ( )
2 vote Abhishek23 | Dec 9, 2012 |
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