India’s hottest new Import

NYU Stern professor and former WSJ editor Tunku Varadarajan, writes an interesting op-ed about the Washington Redskins Cheerleading squad which just landed in Bangalore to select and train cheerleaders for the local cricket team, Bangalore Royal Challengers [via NY Times]:

According to the Redskins’ Web site, the cheerleaders will “conduct a national audition of Indian women.” The aim of the exercise is to set up a squad of indigenous pompom wielders for the Bangalore Royal Challengers, one of eight teams that will play in the Indian Premier League, a rich new Indian cricket league

A national audition of Indian women! Really?


10 Responses

  1. Unfortunately the article didn’t have any pictures.

  2. I thought that you read ThinkChange India for the articles.

  3. (Ignoring the two males above this)

    “Indigenous pompom wielders?” Slightly offensive, but I think (and hope) his tone is sarcastic. Talk about a clash of cultures. Varadarajan speaks of newly “brash India” as accepting this concept, whereas I think the focus should have been more on the overexertion of American culture, which he mentions later but is not emphasized enough. Some things should never be imported…. a female spirit squad for a male-dominated sport is something India can do without.

  4. In all seriousness, I have to agree with Shital on this one. I think India is doing a ‘good’ enough job when it comes to perpetuating the objectifying and subjugation of women on its own, without the help of NFL cheerleaders, who any football fan knows never actually leads the crowd in any cheers.

    However, this article does speak to a larger issue (although cheerleaders are a skeptical solution) about the supporting of athletics by the Indian people generally. Outside of cricket, the Indian amateur and professional sports scene is in shambles and is desperate need of repair. Sports carries with it many positive intangibles, as does the communities built around following one’s sports teams.

    While cheerleaders are no doubt probably a more superficial means to meet this goal, the very fact that there is an apparent ‘need’ for such training only reinforces the fact that the Indian sports community is struggling to find anything that may make people care about sports.

  5. I have read the article from TUNKU VARADARAJAN, I find it interesting and I also feel that we Indian have to change our mindset.

    If new thoughts and ideas are explored , we need to allow it for the sake of experimentation .Cricket is now an Industry and money making venture. We know how it has evolved itself from 6 days game to 50-50 over game.Now 20-20 overs would take its own time to evolve and let us allow it to happen.

    Lets cheer up….and enjoy the fun!!

  6. Praveen,

    Cricket –> Money –> better game –> totally cool. This has no mindset issues. However, as Shital highlights, there are underlying gender issues – like a national audition of Indian women, etc.

    I’m up for enjoying the fun – and I dont think the Redskins Cheerleaders are need to show us how to have fun

  7. I haven’t read such a preposterous op-ed in a while. If American culture is indeed now “dominant” in India, what is the need to find a sanskrit equivalent for the word “cheerleader”? Frankly, who needs the Redskins cheerleaders to teach us how to profit off the sexual objectification of women. Bollywood does an excellent job already. Vijay Mallya (owner of the Bangalore team) runs his business on women’s bodies (Kingfisher airlines criteria for hiring and clothing their stewardesses). The guy, apart from constantly trying to emulate Richard Branson, indulges his mid-life crisis by surrounding himself with an entourage of women old enough for him to grandfather.

  8. […] discussion of cricket teams hiring the Washington Redskins cheerleaders find and train homegrown versions […]

  9. “The cheerleaders are heroes in their ability to make people excited,” exclaimed the merry Kerala, a 30-year-old doctor of traditional ayurvedic medicine, as friends crowded around him, cheering in agreement. “They have great spirit.”

  10. People are very “excited” indeed.
    BTW my blog has some pictures.

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