Nearly two billion people today live in non-democratic countries. Another two billion in semi-democracies.

The well-known and widely read American novelist Saul Bellow wrote that, “Life’s essential values are not quantifiable”. He is grossly mistaken. Are truth, untruth, prayer, wickedness, deception quantifiable? Above all, are life and death quantifiable? No, these are not.
Nevertheless, without values the world would be a permanently nasty place. However, in large parts of the world (and in history) values have taken a beating. Power and force generally take precedence over values. Did the Roman, Ottoman, Mughal, British, French, Dutch Empires run on values? They were power mechanisms.
Abraham Lincoln’s famous twelve-line words, “government of the people, by the people and for the people” did not became a visible reality till the 1960s.
Today, democracy in the United States of America is under attack. That US voters should send a businessman called Donald Trump to the White House is no tribute to democracy.
Nearly two billion people today live in non-democratic countries. Another two billion in semi-democracies.
The clarion call of the French Revolution consisted of three words, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. France has Liberty, quasi Equality, some Fraternity.
Human beings are not perfect, they are yet to evolve a near perfect democracy. The Scandinavian countries and Switzerland have almost achieved near ideal democracies. The UK too is in good democratic company.
What Russia has done and doing in Ukraine is a horrifying example of invasion followed by brutality. Thousands and thousands of innocent people have been killed. Russia has never been a democracy.
I knew E.M. Forster, 1879-1970, author of “A Passage to India”, intimately. In his essay, “What I believe” he lauds democracy: “…it is less hateful than other contemporary forms of government, and to that extent it deserves our support. It does start from the assumption that the individual is important, and that all types are needed to make a civilization…and the society which allows them most liberty is a democracy… Democracy has another merit. It allows criticism… That is why I believe in the Press, despite all its vulgarity and why I believe in Parliament.”
I have great admiration for the game of cricket. The high point of my love for the game was a brief meeting with Don Bradman in Sydney in 1989 at a dinner given for him by the Australian Prime Minister.
I played for the St Stephen’s College cricket team. My highest score was 62. The other scores are not worth mentioning.
Each evening my leading passion is watching the IPL cricket matches. Most of the time I am on tenterhooks. Not too many spectators in the stadium seats or on TV comprehend the complexities, subtleties and richness of the game. Cricket purists sneer at T-20 and IPL, but they sneer in vain. IPL matches are watched by hundreds of millions of people. Bets are instant. These run into millions of rupees.
As a Rajasthani I naturally support the Rajasthan Royals. Their captain, Sanju Sampson, has so far not come up with a big score, but I think he will before it is too late. The Rajasthan Royals won the first IPL in 2008 under thee captaincy of the great Shane Warne. He died suddenly a few weeks ago in Thailand at the age of 52. He was an all-time great.
One of the great pluses of the IPL is that it gives a chance to young players to display their batting, bowling and fielding skills. Otherwise, they would have remained hopeful only.
Among the new finds are two outstanding youngsters—S. Gill and Abhishek Sharma. Both stylish batsmen, hard hitting, leaving the fielders helpless. The bowlers too have to work very hard to get them out. Both are in their twenties and good looking too.
The biggest disappointment has been Pollard, who plays for the Mumbai team. Bumrah too has not got too many wickets.
Friday’s match between Mumbai and Gujarat was an absolute thriller. Mumbai won by five runs in the final over.
I must now stop. Soon the match between Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals will begin. This was written on Saturday the 7th.