Maradona, commitment personified | Shaadaab S Bakht - GulfToday

Maradona, commitment personified

Shaadaab S. Bakht


Shaadaab S. Bakht, who worked for famous Indian dailies The Telegraph, The Pioneer, The Sentinel and wrote political commentaries for, is Gulf Today’s Executive Editor.


Diego Maradona

Hardship fetters. It makes our dreams rot in the man-sanctioned swamp of discrimination and not many can extricate themselves from the quagmire. But some, who are born into the cesspool, rewrite the rules of the game. The courage of their conviction takes them forward. Diego Maradona was one of them.

The Argentinian genius, who left us last month, found energy in adversity and fulfilment in hard work.

He was born in a suburban town outside Buenos Aires and burst out from its rough streets like a thunderbolt across the football firmament. When Maradona raced and dribbled on the pitch the opposition was left gasping for breath. And millions of viewers saw how a pair of feet could conquer the world. They did in 1986. Argentina, led by Maradona, won the World Cup. Germans’ legendary grit was felled in the final by Maradona’s unsparing class.

So popular was he that celebrations to mark his historic success broke out in lands as far as 16,000 kilometres away.  

One of them was Kolkata in India. As the Argentinians lifted the trophy admirers of Maradona decided to dance through the streets of the city.

And millions of viewers saw how a pair of feet could conquer the world

The owner of a house in the Indian metropolis, who paints his residence in Argentina’s national colours for every World Cup, converted his home into an Argentinian temple, where the magical footballer played the deity in the form of pictures and statues.

Every passer-by was offered sweets and tea by the landlord. People were making a beeline to see his house and take pictures through the week of triumph. Newspapers ran huge photographs of the building on different days.  

Kolkatans’ unconditional love for Maradona is unique. Permit me to tell you a story. I was unwell and went to my family doctor. I almost missed him. No, not my fault. He cut short his daily clinic hours. Why? He was too upset to work after Maradona failed a drug test in the 1994 World Cup and flew back home. The doctor dubbed the action against the Argentinian star as a conspiracy hatched in the “West.”

I came to know later that the heart-broken physician’s dinner was badly affected by the news.    

The soccer-crazy city’s love finally got the legend to the metropolis in 2008 and again in 2017. Maradona said it (2008) was the second biggest reception of his life after Napoli. Local footballers stood in serpentine lines to greet their hero during innumerable receptions. Some of them touched his feet by way of respect.

Well, we saw Maradona play, we saw him win and we saw established footballers touch his feet. His successful journey left just one, but very important lesson: No matter how heavy and thick the fetters are, only commitment can loosen them faster than fire.

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