"Sir Viv Richards once asked me how I feel when India play the West Indies and I told him that when that happens I am confused as to who to support because here is a situation where my brothers are playing my cousins." The words of revered Indian cricket commentator Ravi Chaturvedi, as he expressed his love for the West Indies and the people of this part of the world.Chaturvedi recently visited Trinidad for the fifth time during the Celkon Mobile Cup and was on hand to see India lift the trophy. He was in Trinidad doing research on a book that he is currently putting together.The man who is a household name in India gain recognition in his homeland by being the first man to commentate cricket in Hindi. According to him: "I wanted to reach all the rural areas in India. I wanted to young ones in those area of hear of the game and to follow India and develop an appetite for the sport of cricket. You see in the rural areas there is not much that attracts in terms of entertainment so when India plays this is a big thing for the people there and we wanted them to get the commentary and to follow the team." His efforts to commentate in Hindi caught on with everyone and it prompted foreign TV Channels to start to telecast in Hindu. much to the delight of those who could not understand the cricket in English.
Prof Chaturdevi is an academician and obtained his M.Sc. degree in Zoology from the University of Delhi in 1960, specialising in Fisheries Biology. Following his research work in induced breeding of carps and training fish farmers in Pisci-culture, he was selected by UPSC but he opted for teaching, where he left a lasting impression by starting a unique Zoology Museum in the Golden Jubilee year of the country's Independence.Prof Chaturvedi had a passion for cricket since early in his life and played school, college and club level with a fair degree of success. He was amongst the 40 trainees selected to be coached by India's first cricket captain Col CK Nayudu in 1955.In 1961 the Government of India decided to cover all national and international sports events in Hindi and Prof. Chaturvedi was the first person to take up that role of Hindi cricket commentator.
According to Chaturvedi: "It was a big challenge to arrive at the right language, terminology and nuances to describe cricket in Hindi, which was met successfully. With an experimental beginning in 1962, Hindi commentary soon gained international recognition."When Doordarshan decided to telecast cricket in 1972, Chaturvedi services were required and his expertise was later utilized by World Tel to cover the 1996 World Cup. He also had stints with TWI, New Zealand TV and Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation and BBC.It was during his first trip to the Caribbean that Chaturvedi fell in love with the region as a whole but T&T in particular. He made a dear friend in Ramcharitar Rickhi and also he has passed on, Chaturvedi remains close to the family and actually stayed at their home in Arouca during his recent visit.Chaturvedi said he felt at home when he visited Trinidad and during his many visits here he has built many bridges with people that he cherishes up until today. "I find myself at home in this country. I have always found the Caribbean to be a fascinating place and after following fortunes of the West Indies cricket team, I fell in love with Caribbean cricket and the people as a whole."
While speaking to Chaturvedi you are amazed by the fact that the man calls out the names of villages as if it is in India. He said: "I evening many years ago I went down to McBean Village in Couva and I witnessed a Hindu wedding. It reminded me so much of home as the wedding was similar to one that was held for my elder brother back in India."I am so happy to see the people of Trinidad and Tobago carrying on the culture that was brought by our forefathers. I am really impressed with that and I find that the Popele of the Caribbean are very special in the way they treat with visitors. I like this region so much that I have already told my family that when I am no longer around, they must sprinkle my ashes in the Caribbean Sea."
WHAT THE CRICKETERS THINK OF PROF RAVI CHATURVEDI
"During my days playing and managing in India, I have had the opportunity to make many friends in India but the one who impressed me the most was Ravi Chaturvedi, a commentator-chronicler of class and caliber." –Wes Hall
"I grew up listening to Prof. Ravi Chaturvedi's cricket commentary in Hindi. I admired the ease and natural flair with which he commentated on cricket." –Sachin Tendulkar
"Panditji as Chaturvedi is known is a multifaceted personality and has varied interests. The Caribbean Islands are of special interest to him." –Sunil Gavaskar
"What has impressed us is the felicity with which he manages to describe a game which is very alien to the Hindi language and through his commentary has taken the game to the villages." –Nawab Pataudi
On his fifth visit to the twin islands of Trinidad & Tobago, Prof. Ravi Chaturvedi, Professor of Zoology at Delhi University and pioneer Hindi cricket commentator added an emotional touch to his trip. The following is his Ethos of Trinidad
ETHOS OF TRINIDAD
It is not a visit. It is a pilgrimage to the land of Eric Williams, Basdeo Pandey, George Chambers, Noor Hassan Ali, Kamla Persad-Bissessar; Sir Learie Constantine, CLR James, Vaidya Naipaul, Mike Gibbes; Jeffrey Stollmeyer, Harold Burnett (my two close friends who helped me in providing material on West Indies cricket), Lawrence Murray, Ramcharetar Rickhi (called him Bhaiji), sister-in-law Sita (both bestowed love and affection abundantly on my family); Ellis 'Pus' Achong (inventor of chinaman), Sonny Ramadhin (the mystery spinner), Brian Lara (the holder of batting records) and Hasley Crawford (Olympic sprinter gold medalist); the land of cricket, calypso, rum and the Trini Possi; humming bird and scarlet ibis. The memory of the Commentary Box at the Queen's Park, Oval in 1976 with my recently deceased colleague Suresh Saraiya and a dear friend David Lamy (now member, TATT Board) Clive Pantin and Alvin Corneil sharing mike with me is revived on this visit.
The land named by the Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus in July 1498 as Trinidad when he saw three peaks emerging from the ocean and dedicated it to the Holy Trinity.
It is to this land people from my region in India the first batch of Indians came to Trinidad on May 30, 1845 on the boat Fatah-al-Razak (victory to Allah, the sustainer).The memories of those cherished moments and the names of those who made them, sweeping across over the years form a kaleidoscope and left an indelible mark on my mind.These men and momentous moments of their lives are permanently etched in my memory. To this land known as Trinidad I have come for the fifth time with bowed head to pay my humble respects to the friendly people of Trinidad & Tobago. Please accept my greetings as I say Namaskar to all of you and best wishes to the Muslim community of the country during holy Ramdaan.