Misguided nationalism and India-Pakistan cricket

Misguided nationalism and India-Pakistan cricket


As general foe takes baby stairs towards disentangling itself from jingoism – supporters of Formula One and a Indian Premier League (IPL) teams aren’t always led by this – a cricket fan infrequently clings to what George Orwell called a “lunatic robe of identifying with incomparable energy units, and saying all in terms of rival prestige”.

Patriotism should have no purpose in a sporting contest, even if that is what gives foe a edge, and attracts eyeballs to television.

Thus if India remove to Pakistan it becomes a explanation on their domestic system, literary heritage, a attract of their beauty queens, a strength of their dams. And doubtless, it is a same in Pakistan. This approach of judging a republic by a strength of a leg spinners or middle-order batsmen is not singular to Asia, though is during a impolite best, in an India-Pakistan encounter.

The passion is mostly not so many for a diversion as for winning. After Pakistan mislaid to India in a World Cup match, a fan dismissed during his radio set and afterwards incited a gun on himself.

Skipper Wasim Akram perceived genocide threats and a craft bringing a players home had to be diverted to Karachi when news got out that unfortunate fans had collected during Lahore airfield with violent banners and decaying eggs.

Sporting contests give arise to passion, nonetheless it is formidable to suppose an Australian being jailed in Sydney for ancillary England during an Ashes Test, or a New Zealander being deliberate unpatriotic for ancillary South Africa.

Sedition charges

It was undiscerning of a Meerut troops to book a organisation of students from Jammu and Kashmir study in a university there for sedition.

Their crime? Cheering for Shahid Afridi and presumably Pakistan in a Asia Cup compare that India lost.

The Uttar Pradesh supervision forsaken a charges, though that knee-jerk greeting says something for a times we live in and a psychology of those in power.


In a 1980s it was probable for an Indian to hearten for an Imran Khan or Zaheer Abbas on a margin of play though carrying a “Mind-Police” revelation him that this was wrong.

Things began to change in a mid-nineties, and for an Indian cricket viewer one of a many annoying moments occurred during a World Cup in 1996, when a good Javed Miandad was booed off a margin by a throng in Bangalore – afterwards a many courteous of venues.

A integrate of years later, Chennai easy some grace by giving a winning Pakistan Test group a station acclaim – a gesticulate that still brings a pile to a throat of a afterwards captain Wasim Akram.

Sachin Tendulkar was always a large favourite in Pakistan, and we know a few Pakistan supporters in Sharjah who would urge for him thus: “Please let Tendulkar measure a century – though Pakistan win.” It was a approach of reconciling hero-worship with patriotism.

For decades now, India and Pakistan have seemed to be dual countries distant by a common culture, common language, and common seductiveness in cricket. Some of that is a bequest of a politics, some a outcome of blurb practices.

“By 1996,” wrote a historian Ramachandra Guha, a declare to a Miandad fiasco, “it seemed transparent that cricket matches between India and Pakistan stoked rather than resigned jingoist passions. This competence have disturbed a peace-mongers, though it was severely to a fondness of blurb sponsors.”

Cricket and politics

The denunciation of sermon in India-Pakistan cricket in new years has been borrowed from a military. Thus, one of a some-more quarrelsome issues between a neighbours, a LOC (Line of Control), has been a pretension of a radio programme solely that this LOC stands for “Love of Cricket”.

On possibly side of a border, politicians consider they can acquire their stripes by adopting assertive postures towards a other. After a explosve blasts in Mumbai in 2008, family dipped serve and a many remunerative shared cricket array in a universe has not had many play. Economics has had to take second place to politics.

Thus, history, geography, economics, psychology have all played roles in kneading India-Pakistan family into opposite shapes during opposite times.

Sport does not exist in a vacuum, divorced from domestic realities, and this brew has influenced cricket too.

The initial time we trafficked to Pakistan to news a cricket array was in 1989, a year Sachin Tendulkar done his debut. The regard and liberality was wonderful. The typical citizen went out of his approach to make a visitors feel embarrassingly comfortable.

Yet even in a midst of all that warmth, there was a arise in a Faislabad marketplace when a incendiary done a debate exhorting people to come to a track a subsequent day, “to emanate trouble”.

Indians have responded tenderly when Pakistan visited too – from a time Imran Khan was given luminary standing in 1979.

In an choosing year, politicians get jumpy. There is no approach that an Indian fan would be arrested for ancillary England when these dual countries play.

You can conclude a stroke-play of a David Warner though an meaningful strike on your door.

Misguided patriotism

But [Shahid] Afridi, who strike a winning runs for Pakistan in a latest encounter, is a opposite matter. And that is a saddest aspect of an India-Pakistan series. The mutiny charges have been dropped, though a stink of misled nationalism remains.

Cricket is a foe and should not be approaching to lift a container of unsorted relations. Unfortunately, it is done to take a figure of whatever emotions politicians flow into it.

If a students deliberately set out to emanate trouble, afterwards that needs to be investigated.

It is not unheard of in India for people to inspire community noise in sequence to shake things up. The infancy of people in both countries wish assent and harmony.

But, there are border elements who realize that would marginalise them. India-Pakistan tongue validates their existence.

We might be prejudging a emanate here – though sporting fandom, like sacrament and marriage, is a private affair, and no one deserves to go to jail if a support is trusting and there are no low designs.


The views voiced in this essay are a author’s possess and do not indispensably simulate Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

Article source: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/03/misguided-patriotism-india-paki-201431074625506467.html