Or maybe I should have. After all with Sourav Ganguly attending CPM functions in Bengal and with gossip-minded fans convinced that Dravid and Sourav are not really in a Jai-Veeru “yeh dosti” relationship of late, Rahul’s probable shift to the saffron end of the spectrum may well have been foretold by greater, more demented minds.
And before we get into the ‘But oh Dravid was attending a simple Yoga camp and not a party political’ argument, let me point out that celebrity endorsements of political parties/ideologies usually begin like this —-in a seemingly apolitical forum organized by people having a singularly consistent political hue. This charade is for the benefit of both parties— the celebrity as well as the political organization so that a plausible denial of association may be issued while at the same time the message is gotten across to those with the properly-tuned antennae.
As an example, Sourav does not attend CPM rallies (as of yet) and is on the surface politically neutral but his alliances and sympathies are fairly evident from the company he keeps in public.[ Of course whether Sourav is truly a committed Communist or whether it is politically expedient to be in bed with the Reds in Bengal is open to conjecture (like how in Mumbai everyone has to seek the blessings of the Balasaheb for any and everything)]
Similarly Amitabh Bachchan’s close relationship with the Samajwadi Party originally began with a series of high-profile, supposedly apolitical public appearances for promoting Uttar Pradesh as an investment hub, organized by one Amar Singh. At that time, the Big B kept on denying his close relationship with the Samajwadi Party by citing his appearance in Samajwadi party functions as something he was doing simply as a concerned citizen of Uttar Pradesh.
Now of course, Amar Singh has replaced Jaya Bachchan in the typical happy-family car photo and Jaya Bachchan has become a SP-supported Rajya Sabha member.
Coming back to Rahul Dravid, he very well might have been ambushed into attending this function, unaware of the political affiliation of these Suryanamaskaris. Though that cannot be discounted, it is unlikely that our image-conscious stars with professional agencies managing their appearances would speak at a place without being aware of the nature of the platform. If they do, then it would be enormously naive of them in today’s politically surcharged atmosphere.
Of course not that there is anything wrong with Dravid being a RSS sympathizer (if indeed he is one —- this being just a one-of-appearance it would be unfair to label him so quickly). As a private citizen (albeit holding one of the most public jobs in the country) he is entitled to be politically active and if he wants to throw in his cap into the ring of the RSS (as opposed to the more mainstream Congress, BJP or even the CPM), well that should be of nobody’s concern.
However in practice even his indirect association (if it continues—which we have no reason as of now to believe will happen), while being the head of a multi-religious sporting team, with a group that can mildly be said to have rather extreme views on the assimilation of all religious identities inside the Hindutva ideal, has the potential of introducing needless complications and divisions into the already heated cricketing cauldron.