Indian media: Football mania grips India

An Indian artist gives finishing touches to a clay idol of Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi (R) alongside a clay idol of Brazilian soccer player Neymar and a replica of FIFA World Cup for a football club, outside the workshop in Kolkata on June 10, 2014. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Indian fans are eagerly waiting for the 2014 Fifa World Cup to start in Brazil

Media in India see the month-long football World Cup in Brazil as a "global festival".

The 2014 Fifa World Cup begins on Thursday as hosts Brazil open the tournament against Croatia. India have not qualified for the cup, but that has hardly affected the enthusiasm of the fans and the media about the "beautiful game".

Papers have published banner headlines on their front pages about the sporting extravaganza.

"Let their feet rule your heart", reads the front-page banner headline in The Times of India. "The greatest show on earth", says the Hindustan Times headline.

Image copyright Hindustan Times

Papers feel football is a great unifying force in the world and all the "negativity" surrounding the event in view of the protests in Brazil and delays in getting the venues ready will be reduced once the event starts.

"Reflected in this month-long fiesta will be the entire gamut of human emotions, making it compulsive viewing from Rio to Riyadh and from Moscow to Melbourne. Indeed, it is that feeling and passion generated by this game that unite varied cultures and nations under one umbrella," says the Deccan Herald.

The Asian Age urges the global media to forget about Brazil's preparation problems in the run up to the cup.

"The global media tends to look at events outside the First World with a jaundiced eye, always stressing the faults... All the negativity tends to melt away when the skills of soccer players are on show," it writes.

Meanwhile, people's love for the game manifests itself in various ways as can be seen in the southern state of Kerala. A 32-year-old local government official is named Brasilia, after Brazil's capital, while her infant son is called Rio, reports the Hindustan Times.

Brasilia got her unique name from an uncle who was an ardent Brazil fan, the paper says.

However, it was not all smooth sailing for Brasilia who faced a lot of opposition from Argentina supporters when she contested civic elections in Kozhikode four years ago.

But she managed to win them over, saying "football was her first love", the paper said.

In other news, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged politicians to stop "psychoanalysing" rape cases and work towards protecting the dignity of women, the NDTV website reports.

"Stop analysing the psychology behind rape. The dignity of our mothers and ours sisters must be protected. Does it suit us to make comments on such incidents, can we not be quiet? We are playing with the dignity of women," Mr Modi said in the parliament on Wednesday.

He was speaking in the wake of controversial comments made by various politicians, some from his Bharatiya Janata Party, on the reasons behind rape in the country.

Two teenage girls were gang raped and hanged from a tree in Badaun district in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh last month.

On Thursday, a 19-year-old woman was found hanging from a tree in a village in Moradabad district in the same state. Police said they were also investigating another case of a woman found hanging from a tree in Bahraich in the same state a day earlier.

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