We obviously do not speak the Queen’s English here in India! This is evident from the experience that IBF Secretary-General Colonel P K Muralidharan Raja had a few days ago.

He said that he had received many queries about why the federation had not made any special arrangements to celebrate Boxing Day this year. Apparently the boxing fraternity does not know the meaning of Boxing Day. And neither does the media, it seems, as he had received inquiries from that quarter, too!

The report in the Indian Express says that in cricket-obsessed India, Boxing Day celebrations have always been associated with a Test match in Australia. But this experience of Raja’s proves that India can think beyond cricket!

Poor Col P K Muralidharan Raja’s phone had been buzzing since morning, and everyone wanted to know what the Boxing Federation planned to do about celebrating Boxing Day!

Apparently the Indian media and a few players as well, were annoyed by the “lapse” on the part of the Boxing Federation! They demanded to know “why the Indian Boxing Federation, at the end of a year when the country’s pugilists had taken giant strides into the nation’s consciousness, had not bothered to organise any special function as part of the Boxing Day celebrations.”

So Col P K Muralidharan Raja finally sent out explanatory e-mails- with the subject reading “Clarification on Boxing Day”!

Boxing Day dates back to past centuries when it was the custom for the wealthy to give gifts to the less privileged. These gifts were left in ‘poor boxes’ in churches. They were opened after Christmas and the gifts distributed.

So Boxing Day is usually observed on the 26th of December. It is a holiday in the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand among some other countries.

Apparently this old custom had to be explained to those demanding Boxing Day celebrations in India!