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Former Indian cricketer Lakshmipathy Balaji, who is currently the bowling coach of the Indian Premier League (IPL) team Chennai Super Kings (CSK), has now raised his voice against racism and discrimination.
Talking about this, Lakshmipathy Balaji opened up the issue of the regular culture of racism and discrimination, including bullying. He feels it is a similar case of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as it can be controlled only after recognising the seriousness of the issue. However, he also questioned which mask can help to protect from this bigger issue.
Balaji recently told in a chat show Homerun with AV with sports commentator Arun Venugopal, “At all levels be it school, college, or any industry for that matter there is a tendency among some people to target someone’s perceived weakness.
“A bully goes after easy targets. There are plenty of rules and regulations that seek to prevent that. However, until and unless people of different classes, races, and nationality recognise the seriousness of the problem – like they have in the case of Covid-19 pandemic – this can’t be solved. The fear for our lives has led to greater emphasis on social hygiene. However, which mask can hide the virus [of racism and discrimination] that is affecting our minds?”
Lakshmipathy Balaji revealed how he was affected after failing in class seven
Talking more about this, Balaji also opened up one of his childhood incidents which affected him a lot psychologically. He was failed in class seven which was humiliating for him at that time due to the social pressures.
Balaji claimed, “I was 12-13 when I was failed in class seven. If you ask me, repeating a class at a certain age can be incredibly humiliating. I felt it acutely because of social pressures and the realisation that I had let down my parents and caused embarrassment to them. That particular phase affected me a lot psychologically.”
Balaji thanked his parents for handling that situation very well. He requested everyone to don’t discriminate anyone in any circumstances.
He added, “Luckily, my parents were able to accept the situation and handle it well. Otherwise, such social stigma and humiliation at such a young age could even lead to children taking extreme steps. I survived the phase thanks to my parents’ awareness, but not all parents have such awareness. So, please don’t discriminate anyone be it children or adults on any grounds.”
Balaji felt challenging to see his parents were suffering humiliation due to his failure in class seven. Though that scar is still in there, the former Indian pacer also admitted that it learnt him a lot of after overcoming from that situation.
Balaji continued, “I don’t think failing someone in class seven is the right thing to do. To watch my parents suffer humiliation because I failed was truly difficult. It has been 25-26 years, but the scar hasn’t healed. Overcoming such humiliation, however, equipped me to cope with the different challenges in my career and life.”
Lakshmipathy Balaji served for the Indian team between 2002 and 2012. He played eight Tests, 30 ODIs and five T20Is where the right-arm medium-fast bowler claimed 27, 34 and 10 wickets respectively.