Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A king stands for elections to a cricket association

First, a quick note to non-cricket lovers or those who don't understand the game: this is not a post about the game of cricket, so please read on.

Many people have a very difficult time with the idea of having the right to vote for your boss, and the idea of a boss having to submit to a vote. If you think that’s difficult, spare a thought for a real-life king.

In India, the game of cricket is administered by the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India). India is divided into several states, and each state cricket association is affiliated to the BCCI. Each state association runs elections for its office-bearers and recently, the Karnataka State Cricket Association held its own elections (you may not know Karnataka, but you almost certainly know its capital city, Bangalore).

Guess who was among the candidates in the KSCA elections? None other than the current Maharaja (Great King) of Mysore, Srikant Datta Wodeyar. Prior to India’s independence, Kings ruled at the sufferance of the British. Although the kingdom merged with India at independence, the King still has his palaces and pageantry, much like the Queen of England.

Imagine the change in mindset that Mr Wodeyar had to undergo in contesting the elections of a state cricket body, a state his father was the real-deal king of . (Karnataka was Mysore state in those days. Karnataka’s population is about 53 million, just a few million fewer than the population of Britain).

To put this in context, imagine someone telling Prince Charles or indeed Prince William that they would need to get the people’s vote to hold any meaningful position.

Mr Wodeyar has even stood for elections as a regular Member of Parilament – having won and lost seats.

Now, if a King (even though now titular) of a powerful state in India can change his mindset, why is it so difficult for bosses to change their mindset? Why is it so difficult for us to change out mindsets?

FYI – Wodeyar won the election for his post and is now an office-holder in the Karnataka State Cricket Association.

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