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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Delhi Daredevils plays Pune Warriors at Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh Stadium

Have you heard of these and do you know where these are located ? : - Mahanadi, Indrawati, Shivnath, Kharun, Arpa, Pairi, Lilagar, Sone, Hasdeo, Kanhar, Kelo, and Rehar.  The lead name Mahanadi, gives an indication that these are names of rivers !!!

At a time when CSK plays KKR at Chepauk, comes the news that the play-off matches (Qualifier 1 and Eliminator) of the ongoing T20 league is finally out of Chennai and Delhi will host the matches on May 21 and 22.  The matches have been shifted out of Chennai since the team owners had objected to their Sri Lankan players not being allowed to play in the southern city due to a political issue.  Some reports have try to project that Chennai would stand to lose some money ~ but that is a different principle….

Miles away, is the city of Raipur, the capital of State of Chattisgarh.  It was formerly a part of Madhya Pradesh before the state of Chhattisgarh was formed on November 1, 2000. Raipur is located near the centre of a large plain, sometimes referred as the "rice bowl of India", where hundreds of varieties of rice are grown. The Mahanadi River flows to the east of the city of Raipur, and the southern side has dense forests.  The district was once part of southern Kosal and considered to be under Mourya Kingdom. Raipur city had been the capital of the Haihaya Dynasty Kalchuri kings, controlling the traditional forts of the Chhattisgarh for a long time. Satawahana kings ruled this part till the 2nd–3rd century. In the 4th century AD the king Samudragupta conquered this region.   

Today, Pune Warrior play Delhi Daredevils at a neutral venue……… yes not in Delhi or Pune, but in Raipur……..  and in a new stadium named after ‘Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh Stadium’………….  The stadium spread out in 50 acres has an electronic score board, nine pitches and car parking space up to 6,000 four-wheelers and 11 ticket plazas while work is on for construction of a cricket museum and restaurants.

Before you read of cricket, this place has its connection to Indian freedom struggle ~ the rising of 1857 marked  the beginning of the country's struggle for freedom after a century of uninterrupted foreign domination. The violent outbreak of the Sepoys at Meerut on the evening of 10 May was not a mutiny similar to those which had occurred earlier in the British Indian Army to ventilate certain local grievances of the soldiers. It did not remain an isolated incident. The rebellion soon spread beyond the Bengal Army and assumed the character of a general revolt, which was enthusiastically joined by the civil population of Hindustan. The country witnessed a popular upsurge of deep-seated and widespread bitterness against the alien rulers. The East India Company's Government was swept from large parts of North India and the very foundations of British rule were shaken. It appeared for some time that the Company's Raj had disappeared from the land. Narayan Singh Binjhwar, the scion of the Zamindar family of Sonakhan in Chhattisgarh, was born in 1795. During a severe famine, in 1856, he helped the people to save them from starvation. He was falsely implicated and arrested in October, 1856. When the flames of 1857 war reached Chhatisgarh, the masses elected the imprisoned Narayan Singh as their leader and liberated him from the jail. After organising the local people, Narayan Singh had an encounter with the British army near Sonakhan. Moved by the atrocities of the British and the resultant devastation and destruction, Narayan Singh surrendered to the British to protect the lives of his people. His public execution on 10 December 1857 provoked the public and the army contingent at Ranipur, which rose in yet another revolt. Veer Narayan Singh's martyrdom was a memorable event in the history of Chhattisgarh and lent momentum to the freedom struggle ~ and the stadium is named after that martyr as ‘Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh Stadium’. 

Two games have been allotted and are to be played here bringing Raipur to Cricketing league.  Cricinfo reports that the  long road that separates the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh Stadium from the city of Raipur is flanked by vast stretches of farms, grazing pastures, and the odd concrete structure. This road connects Raipur to its new twin city, Naya Raipur, the planned administrative capital of Chhattisgarh, where the state government's functionaries will be housed. Two structures stand out: the stadium and the Swami Vivekananda Airport, a swanky structure of glass and chrome, both gleaming edifices of modernity. The stadium is a hive of activity as the local association's officials prepare for their first big show - the Sunday game between Daredevils and Warriors.

Raipur's first IPL match is as much a testimony to political will as it is to cricket's mass following. Much of Chhattisgarh's cricket history is shared with Madhya Pradesh, the state from which it was carved in 2000. Raipur's selection as an IPL venue may have been baffling - the city is more than 1000km from Delhi, and was not seen as a catchment area or a cricketing outpost for the Daredevils franchise - but now, a few days before the game, the doubts are dispelled. The stadium looks every bit the picture of the modern sports arena it was intended to be. The media facilities have been redone, the corporate boxes are plush, and roofs cover the rest of the ground, giving the ordinary spectator enough comfort from the stifling heat.

Like Chennai and other places, the tickets are costly though ~ starting from Rs.850/-  This stadium hosted a Half-Marathon, with the theme "Let us run" on December 16, 2012 to mark Vijay Diwas. Sunil Gavaskarhad rated this stadium to as one of the best stadiums in the country and had proposed to utilize it for all types of matches.  The stadium has 13 blocks named after the state's famous rivers such as the Mahanadi, Indrawati, Shivnath, Kharun, Arpa, Pairi, Lilagar, Sone, Hasdeo, Kanhar, Kelo, and Rehar.  The façade looks more like that of a Palace or that of an Airport……. but it is that of the Cricket stadium.

with regards – S. Sampathkumar.
28th April 2013.


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