Way back in 2004, MS Dhoni was not the first name that came to mind when parents talked about inspiration. He was not an engineer, he had quit a government job, he was only okay as a student and worst of all he had made cricket his career. To my parents he was the worst kind of son that a Bihari middle class family could have.
So, when MS Dhoni came out to bat on the 23rd of December 2004 against a deadly looking Bangladeshi bowling attack he was not only competing against the 11 bangladeshi cricketers on the field, but was also competing against the millions of Bihari parents who for the sake of their children did not want a lost Bihari boy to succeed. He however, did succeed , prove everyone wrong, made an entire generation proud and left the same parents sending their kids to become a Dhoni to the cricket field.
I however feel that, it was never Dhoni’s cricket that made him who he is today, it was his instinct that got him to this great pedestal (he was naturally talented no doubt!). For someone who grew up in awe of the great man, I feel it was his true Bihari-ness that got him through.
A Fearless Loser and Silent Fighter
For a Bihari boy it is often the case that cracking a competitive exam is often his only option and hence they end up putting all that they have into it. Most of the times they end up taking the exam multiple number of times without the fear of failure while fighting silently over several years overcoming many other burdens. Dhoni also had the same sentiment in him, even after repetitive loses at the beginning of his career in the year 2004 he did not give up, he kept trying, silently grinding through the difficult times and improving his skills. It was this attitude of the man that got me and many other lost boys of Bihar fall in love with him.
Taking only what one deserves, no showoff
Often termed as the poorest state of the country Biharis have a had to fight the image ridicule for a long period of time. One important reason for the image ridicule is the no showoff attitude of us Biharis. People from Bihar at even the highest of positions still stay true and connected to their roots, not showing off their high rank in the society with a made up accent or elevated living standards. Dhoni was the epitome of this attitude always standing in the corners at photo-ops and heaping praises on other team members even when he was the match winner came naturally to him. This humble nature of the man was his true Bihari-ness and it helped him find a place in everyone’s’ good-books and also a name in history.
Believing in one’s skill and accepting mistakes
Here in Bihar we are super confident in out skills, if we know something we know something and there is not a person in this universe that can change that. But if we are wrong we are also the first ones to accept our mistakes because we are taught that only if you accept your mistakes you can improve it. I have always found Dhoni to be true to this aspect of being a Bihari. While he would fight on the field if he felt something is not right about the game. He would also accept his mistake and correct it if he were convinced otherwise. (Ian Bell run out incident in England !!)
Knowing your place and respecting your seniors
As government employees our parents have always been the first ones to teach us about hierarchy and respecting your seniors, contrary to what most people reading this article might think Dhoni had always been very respectful of his seniors, when it came to saying good bye to jumbo or signing off Dada, Dhoni showed these qualities aplenty. Unlike some of the modern cricketers who are unable to get along with coaches with cameras.
It were these non cricketing skills of Dhoni that made him who he is. It were these skills that proved soo many of the Bihari parents wrong. With these skills Dhoni showed the entire world what a Bihari’s mettle is and it were with these skills that Dhoni showed the world why –
“Ek bihari sab par bhari !!”
Thank you Dhoni you are
probably the first icon that showed the world what Bihari-ness is all about !