Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 must be year of change for India

We have seen so much anger and anguish, indeed a cry of desperation and helplessness, in India over the last couple of years. Hopefully 2013 will usher in the kind of change all of us are seeking anxiously. 

Change must start at the top, for that is where the gaze of everyone is fixed. It must begin with the politicians, their cronies, the political parties, their leaders and workers, the political class in its entirety. People want to see debate in Parliament, not mayhem, vigilance and dissent, not boycott. It is the example politicians set in Parliament that filters down, and their negative actions only lead to cynicism and hopelessness.

The funding of elections and political parties needs to be addressed urgently. It matters little whether the spending is frugal or exorbitant; what is important is that raising of funds and expenditure should be transparent and legal. The hypocrisy of a limit on expenditure on elections, with all manner of clandestine spending in cash, must end. Dishonesty begins from right there.

Beyond that, the lust for wealth and property has to be resisted. Politicians and their cronies must learn from the simplicity of men like Ratan Tata, Narayana Murthy and Aziz Premji, and businessmen and tycoons need to understand the philanthropic ways of Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. There is a limit to all the material possessions that a person should hanker for. Beyond a point these are useless numbers. Wealth should serve a purpose, one’s own and others’. Blatant hoarding is good for no one, not even for the avaricious collectors of mindless riches. There is a good case for a campaign and awareness about the right places to invest that would help the investors, their families, fellow countrymen and the nation. Collection of a vast inventory of real estate, gems and precious metal is not really in the interest of anyone. There must be a self-imposed limit on them.

One must also make a fervent request to all political parties to ask all their leaders, big and small, to immediately relinquish posts they have held for years and decades in sports bodies. We need medals at the Olympics and international sports meets, not the sight of the same self-serving officials over and over again. It will be good for our self-esteem if we are able to achieve this.  

While much anger has been spewed on politicians, not much has been said about the ways of the bureaucracy, higher and the petty. It is a mistake to generalize, but certainly some bureaucrats see themselves not as public servants but masters in the quintessential imperial way. Drunk with power, complacent in the idea of job security, and unshackled by accountability, their role is often obstructionist and bereft of vision, if not arrogant, and many of them are the window to corruption that citizens are faced with on a day-to-day basis. This arm has to looked at closely if India is to move ahead rapidly.

The role of the judiciary is crucial. The wheels of justice are painfully slow and get so expensive as one moves up the hierarchy that they spiral out of reach of the average citizen. Those who thrive under the system are the rich and the powerful. Criminals are smug in the belief that they can work around the system, whatever their misdemeanours. Often judgements are not clear, leading to further litigation. It has been observed that a very high percentage of pending cases involve governments and their agencies. The bureaucracy often passes orders that leave citizens unsatisfied, if not with a feeling of having been cheated, and it is cause for more litigation. If government orders are challenged there should be a mechanism within the government itself to see whether actual injustice has been done to the citizen, and to take remedial measures before prolonged legal battles take place. The bureaucracy has to be held accountable if its actions are seen as being unjust towards the citizen.

Much focus has been on the police in recent times. This is an overworked force not rewarded adequately, used and abused by the political class, and caught in the crossfire between the rulers and the ruled. It is not a day too soon to carry out police reforms. The police must be given its due place, well remunerated with drastic improvement in their working conditions. The practice of politicians using the police as conduits for collecting bribes must be stopped immediately. The police force must get back its pride and dignity, it must be a friend of law-abiding citizens and the nemesis of criminals. The harassment of the honest citizen has to stop and the criminal must be instilled with fear of the law.

Finally, we come to the media. It has played a very crucial role in drawing focus on serious issues but it needs to have a sense of perspective, exercise moderation where it is due, relentlessly follow up matters of national importance instead of merely being obsessed by TRP and indulging in sensationalism only for purposes of circulation. We need more of positive stories, less of negative news, fruitful debate and interaction, viewpoints of the experts, education, clean family entertainment, focus on achievements, instead of just doom, gloom, crime, corruption, violence, failure all the time. It’s a sense of perspective and proportion, remember, and the media must play a positive lead role when most of the other institutions have failed us badly.

Let us look forward to a new, bold, confident, positive, just India in 2013. A Very Happy New Year to all from a proud Indian.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

'Great time with Royal family of Rajpipla State'

Here is what our dear friend Prashant Pandya posted on Facebook after a wonderful lunch together at Goodies, Vadodara, on 4th October 2012 :

Today I had a great time with Shri Indra Vikram Singhji, Shri Indra Vadan Singhji (grandsons of Maharaja Vijaysinhji of erstwhile Princely State of Rajpipla), and Shri Manvendra Singhji (great-grandson of Maharaja Vijaysinhji). Shri Indra Vikram Singhji is a sports writer and author of several books, including a collector's edition 'A Maharaja's Turf' on his grandfather's Epsom Derby 1934 triumph. An article on 'Rajpipla Post' (Postal History of Rajpipla State), which is written by me, is also included in his book 'A Maharaja's Turf'. Shri Indra Vikram Singhji presented this book to me today during our meeting at Baroda. Read more about 'A Maharaja's Turf' :

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Indra Vikram Singh’s books available online on several websites

1.  Listed on, Indian arm of

(i)  A Maharaja's Turf
ISBN 978-81-901668-3-6
Published by Sporting Links

(ii)  The Big Book of World Cup Cricket
ISBN 978-81-901668-4-3
Published by Sporting Links

(iii)  Don's Century
ISBN 978-81-901668-5-0
Published by Sporting Links

(iv)  Crowning Glory
ISBN 978-81-901668-6-7
Published by Sporting Links

(v)  The Little Big Book of World Cup Cricket
ISBN 978-81-731422-0-8
Published by Media Eight



(i)  A Maharaja's Turf

(ii)  The Big Book of World Cup Cricket










17.  Roger Page Cricket Books, Australia   
10 Ekari Court, Yallambie, Victoria, Australia, 3085. Telephone (03) 94356332

Don's Century

18.  Sportskeeds Store

All books published by Sporting Links are distributed in India by :
Variety Book Depot
First Floor, AVG Bhawan,
Middle Circle, M-3 Connaught Circus,
New Delhi - 110 001.
Telephones + 91 11 23417175, 23412567, 23415030, 23415335.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Five books by Indra Vikram Singh published in 2011

A Maharaja’s Turf

Collector's edition on the platinum jubilee of the triumph of Maharaja Sir Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla in the Epsom Derby 1934

Published by Sporting Links
ISBN 978-81-901668-3-6, Fully Illustrated, 
Hardback 28 cm x 22.5 cm, 140 Pages 
Price Rupees 1995

The exhilarating triumph of Maharaja Sir Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla in the Epsom Derby of England in 1934, the only Indian owner ever to win the blue riband of the turf in its history dating back to 1780. The dapper Indian prince’s horse Windsor Lad left the hitherto undefeated favourite Colombo trailing in third place in the presence of royalty led by King George V and Queen Mary, and a multitude of an estimated quarter to half a million people on that damp afternoon of 6th June. This extensively researched story written by the Maharaja’s grandson, embellished with rare photographs, captures the era between the two World Wars, of imperial times and a royal lifestyle, also going back centuries into history, connecting the past and the present and depicting the march of time, even as the thrilling race remains the central theme.     

The Big Book of World Cup Cricket

A definitive, fully illustrated collector's edition showcasing all the cricket World Cup tournaments from 1975 to 2007, and previewing the ICC World Cup 2011

Published by Sporting Links
ISBN 978-81-901668-4-3, Fully Illustrated, 
Hardback 22.5 cm x 28 cm, 544 Pages 
Price Rupees 4000

This collector’s edition tells the tale of every cricket World Cup played from 1975 to 2007, and carries a preview of the 2011 tournament. Featured are classic matches, brilliant individual performances, the commercial facet, highlights and sidelights, drama and controversy, and the stars of the biggest event in One-day cricket, encompassed by photographs from the leading lensmen and agencies in the world. The statistics sections comprise a wide range of records, detailed scorecards of every match played, and averages of all the players who appeared in the first nine editions of the World Cup. A handwritten letter from the immortal Sir Donald Bradman received by the author in 1999 completes a treasure that should find a place on the bookshelf of every modern cricket-lover. A special 44-page colour supplement Crowning Glory published at the conclusion of the ICC World Cup 2011 is available complimentary with The Big Book of World Cup Cricket.    

The Little Big Book of World Cup Cricket 

A snapshot of the thrills and the stars, the highlights and the records of every cricket World Cup tournament from 1975 to 2007, with a preview of the ICC World Cup 2011

Published by Media Eight
ISBN 978-81-731422-0-8
Paperback 13 cm x 19.5 cm, 288 Pages
Price Rupees 295

A snapshot of the first nine cricket World Cups played between 1975 and 2007, this economy edition also carries a preview of the 2011 tournament. The book brings forth the thrilling matches, memorable individual performances, the legends of the premier event and the financial aspect. There are detailed batting, bowling and fielding records to keep the statistically inclined engrossed. It is a handy companion for all who have been transfixed by the spectacle of the cricket World Cup.

Don’s Century

Celebrating the life and cricket career of Sir Donald Bradman on his birth centenary, and a panorama of batting greats from the 1860s to present times 

Published by Sporting Links
ISBN 978-81-901668-5-0, Fully Illustrated, 
French Fold 21.5 cm x 28 cm, 188 Pages 
Price Rupees 995

Written in the centenary year of the peerless Don Bradman, the book takes a relook at his cricket career, relives the trial and tribulations of his personal life, and assesses the merits of other great batsmen from the 1860s to the present times. The questions still asked are: how great was Bradman actually, was he just a run-getting machine or was he truly the best there has ever been, have there been other batsmen as good or better than Bradman. Don’s Century analyses Bradman’s batting technique, brings forth his amazing achievements with the willow, aided by comments from the finest writers and players down the ages, supported by comprehensive statistics, and illustrated by classic photographs in sepia brown from the top agencies of the world. The panorama of batting presents many other legends from Grace, Ranji, Trumper and Hobbs to Richards, Tendulkar, Lara and Ponting, and so many more, focussing on their contribution, and in fact tracking the evolution of the game over the last century-and-a-half. The vicissitudes of Bradman’s own life, his persona and quest for excellence, the detractors, friends and family are all featured in this tribute to the unquestioned king of kings of the crease.   

Crowning Glory

Special supplement on India's victory in the ICC World Cup 2011

Published by Sporting Links
ISBN 978-81-901668-6-7, Fully Illustrated, 
Paperback 21.5 cm x 28 cm, 44 Pages
Price Rupees 200

The tenth edition of One-day cricket’s biggest show returned to the sub-continent for the third time. Never had the hosts won on home soil, but in 2011 the favourites India, despite a few stutters, jubilantly lifted the glittering ICC World Cup at Mumbai on 2nd April. This was not only the crowning glory for an Indian team that had striven hard to reach the no. 1 spot in Test cricket the previous year, but also the missing jewel in the amazing career of Sachin Tendulkar. It was a fairy-tale come true, the real significance of which will be understood in the years and decades to follow. Crowning Glory replays the highlights of the ICC World Cup 2011 and its stars, complete with colour photographs and records. This special supplement is also available complimentary with The Big Book of World Cup Cricket (ISBN 978-81-901668-4-3).    

All these books are available in leading bookstores in India, and on several websites. Books published by Sporting Links are distributed in India by Variety Book Depot, Connaught Place, New Delhi. Any queries may be addressed to