'God of Cricket' Sachin Tendulkar on Wednesday came out in strong support of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government's fight against "international propoganda" with respect to the ongoing farmers' protest against the Centre's contentious three farm laws at the borders of Delhi.
"India’s sovereignty cannot be compromised. External forces can be spectators but not participants. Indians know India and should decide for India. Let's remain united as a nation. #IndiaTogether #IndiaAgainstPropaganda," Tendulkar tweeted.
These "external forces" were in fact international celebrities including pop icon Rihanna, climate and environmental activist Greta Thunberg, vlogger Amanda Cerny, US Vice President Kamala Harris' niece Meena, former porn star Mia Khalifa, Indian-Canadian YouTube star Lilly Singh, Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate and many others, who took to Twitter in solidarity with the protesting farmers.
Meanwhile, Tendulkar's 'pro-establishment' stand did not go down well with many on social media. On Thursday, Keralites flooded tennis star Maria Sharapova's Facebook page and apologized for the remarks they made six years ago. "Dear Maria, we are sorry for the cyber attack against you in the name of Sachin," a Facebook user commented. "That day I called you bad words. Sorry for everything. Tendulkar is no longer our God," wrote another user.
For the uninitiated, Sachin Tendulkar, football star David Beckham and golfer Ian Poulter were in the Royal Box in Wimbledon when Sharapova was playing. After the match Sharapova was asked if she was aware of the sports celebrities who had come to see her play, the five-time Grand Slam champion said she had met Beckham a few times but wasn't familiar with Tendulkar. She was asked: "Sachin Tendulkar was the other person who came in at the same time as David (Beckham). Do you know who Sachin is?" "I don't," she replied flatly.
Her 'ignorance' sparked an outrage and fans took to Twitter and Facebook to express their shock. Jingoistic fans with the purpose of teaching Sharapova a lesson, even started a 'Who is Maria Sharapova' on the microblogging website. However, the fury of Sachin's fans died down after he said Sharapova's "comment (was) not disrespectful, maybe she doesn't follow cricket".
Moreover, Twitter users on Thursday also brought back memories of the 2004 Test match against Pakistan when stand-in skipper Rahul Dravid declared the innings at 675/5. The declaration left Sachin Tendulkar six runs short of a double century. Fans and the media raised numerous questions, and the incident continues to remain one of the most debated ones in India's Test cricket history.
"Rahul Dravid was right when he declared that day," a Twitter user commented. "Probably the greatest & unerring decision ever made," wrote another Twitter user.
Meanwhile, it is pertinent to note that Sachin wasn't the only celebrity to have taken the 'pro-government stand'. Cricketers Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane; film personalities Karan Johar, Ajay Devgn, Akshay Kumar; Lata Mangeshkar, Saina Nehwal and many others countered the "international propoganda".