Dada was envisioned as an art movement to reject every other art movement. It was meant to be anti-art -- challenging the established norms and rules by completely discarding them. It was a statement, a protest, a political act of defiance.
In the end, however, anti-art becomes nothing but another outdated artform. Another rung in the dialectical ladder of creation.
In this sense, Sourav Ganguly showed himself truly worthy of the Dada moniker. His career proved significant not for what he contributed, but for what he represented. And what he was supposed to represent was never exactly clear. Therein lies his genius.
Ganguly's greatest skills were always political. He knew how to appeal to a constituency; to create wedges among the base, and build his nest within them. He tricked his followers into believing the value of his myth even though, when you looked real close, you'd see there was little behind the image.
He defined himself by his "leadership" and by, essentially, sticking it to the Aussies. He took advantage of the common cricketing trope of judging a player's worth by how they perform against the best in their era, and by nothing else. And at that, he was successful. Few people knew how to get under the Australians' skin better than Ganguly. Again, that's a purely political victory. In the actual important matters, the day-to-day grudge work of scoring runs, building partnerships and winning matches, he was always absent, leaving it to the Dravid's, Laxman's, Sehwag's to do the dirty work.
His last moments in Test cricket were pure dada. You'd think getting out for a golden duck would prove an ignominious end to a career. Not for Ganguly. It will only mean that he will always get compared to that other player who also got out for a duck in his last innings. His greatness will be achieved by literal proximity, if nothing else.
An indication of who he truly was, in the things that matter (in the anti-dada, if you will) was also clear to see in the Nagpur test. When Matthew Hayden got run out trying to steal a single on the the second day, he was dismissed because he confused Murali Vijay for Ganguly at mid-on. The only reason Hayden even went for the run was because he thought Ganguly was the one doing the fielding.
No one will ever mentioned that in the history books. It gets in the way of the narrative, the hagiography of heroes. But those of us who are there at the time notice it. It's the kind of detail that makes the time we waste on the game valuable to us. It illuminates true value.
It's the difference between the legends and the myths.
Between the leaders and the monarchs.
Between the fountains and the urinals.