Sanjeev Kotnala: The Sponsor’s Gita in Sports Mahabharata

04 Jun,2015

By Sanjeev Kotnala


Mahabharata, the epic war between two polarised views happens in every yug. Kalyug is a bit different. Here it happens every year, maybe a new Mahabharata every moment, many of them at the global level.  The Kauravas and Pandavas are decided not on ethics and attitude but who wins. Pandavas always win and hence winners are Pandavas, it is that simple in Kalyug.


FIFA maybe the (n+1)th Mahabharata. Where titans clashed for position. Where it is still tough to say who are the Kauravas.  Time and again, naive media (Sanjay) has been trying to report unbiased. Unfortunately, it takes its job far more seriously than needed. The audience (Blind Dhristrashtrya) is just a silent witness. There is no real option for them. They are addicted and misguided.   They think that the game is played for them. How interesting a thought that is!  They keep themselves busy with stars and  teams who parasitically feed on the psychological frenzy created.


Unknown to them there are puppeteers that hold the strings. They are ‘the-know-all’ consultants, the Titans or the new Muraris of the game. In Kalyug, there is not one, but many Muraris. They fight their own battle and have their own self-defined dharma.


Then there are the five pillars. They think they are the Pandavas and we wish they were.


Yudhister, the top administrative body knows dharma and its role. In Kalyug, the definition of Dharma is more like drama. They are busy collecting Punya (good deeds) of hard currency. They see no wrong and lives by that order.


Bhīma, the player, is there for his performance. Many Bhīmas in this yug have unsuccessfully tried creating newer versions and challenge the craft and Yudhister. But they have failed miserably


Arjuna, the sponsor, is detail-oriented and very focussed. He is the saka (friend) of Murari. He has time and again tried to stand in his own. But he is powerful. Every time there is a new plan of Khandavprastha the doubt of house of wax creeps in his mind


Nakul, the regional sports body, just follows and does what Yudhister tells them to do. Sahadev, the team and franchise-owner, is happy till the time they remain protected of their interest. They never have dreams so large that they would upset the cart.


These Pandavas remain united for the world. But in Kalyug, there is no sharing of Draupadi, the lusty exciting life that is full of Maya and corruption.  And this fight remains between the top three Pandavas. Favours are traded, and every time the new Bhisma, the instigator and the whistle blower are silenced.


Every time a new Mahabharata starts, the war to corruption takes centrestage. Arjuna, the sponsor, feels tremors and trembles with fear.  How will he make a difference? Then the Kalyug Murari consultant show him the complete mega-swaroop (physical representation) and gives him the Kalyug Gyan (Knowledge).


‘Who are you. You are transitory to the game. You did not create the game.  You do not own it. You do not live it. You are just one of the many visitors in this journey of growth which will some day end. Every product and a game have a life cycle, Acharya Procter said so but you are the immortal. You will leave this game and find another. Will that be better or bad is a fear that holds you. If you think you brought anything to this franchise. You are a fool. What you will take from here. Nothing. Because you came with nothing and once this link is broken Parth (friend), sponsor you will go with nothing. Every thing is transitory. Will your fighting make any difference? Not. Will your not fighting make any difference? No. See me, I bring them along. All of you are part o me. When I am there, you fear nothing.


Sponsor Kiye ja. Corruption Ki chinta na kar. Tu nahi karega. Toh koi aur karega. Game eek maya hai. Nirantar anandikal say chalti aa rahi hai. Tere jaisey kahi sponsor aaye aur chalegaye. Ek din tu be jayega. Yeh satya hai. Par jab tak tu ish mahayudhya mai hai. Karm kiye za. Tu sponsor varna ka hai. Tera dharma hai brand association and audience linkages. Corruption sey tere kya lena dena.


Keep sponsoring. Do not fear corruption. Do not think about it. If you will not sponsor, someone else will do. But game will get sponsored. That is also a truth. Games are just an illusion. It has been happening from centuries. Like you, many sponsors came and went. One day you will also leave. This is the truth. But till the time you are in this battle and this game, keep doing what you do the best.  You belong to the caste of sponsors. Your accountability and responsibility is brand association and audience linkages. You got nothing to do with the corruption.


Now it is up to you. If you wish to strip off the mega-marketing arsenal of sponsorship and leave this ground open for your competition to own. It is your wish. Relationships are transitory, sponsorships and ownership of associations permanent.


Arjuna the sponsor acknowledges the truth and he bows his head to the knowledge he has just gained. He has made his customary sound of disturbance. He has showed his willingness and desire to play the game as defined in his dharma.  Now he is free form his obligations. What he sees is stadium filled blind Dhrstrashtras. There are many more in their house waiting for Sanjay to start his coverage.


And then there are few sponsors like Karna, coming from the same mother marketing (Kunti), but they are the losers.


The Games are played at many level and few of them are on the pitches. Life continues and so does the games and successful Murari opens his bed in the first class cabin of the new flight. There are many fires that he must douse.


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