DE­FEAT PAK­ISTAN BY WIN­NING PEO­PLE

Alive - - Editorial -

A cricket match is a friendly com­pe­ti­tion of skills as all games are. But many peo­ple in In­dia and Pak­istan imag­ine a cricket match be­tween the teams of their re­spec­tive coun­tries is war. This, of course, is the ex­ten­sion of their mu­tual hos­til­ity that is the rem­nant of par­ti­tion, or its in­com­plete agenda of Jammu and Kash­mir. In the fi­nal of the ICC Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy for men, our team mis­er­ably failed. How­ever, it was the match be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan that be­came the cen­tre of ex­cite­ment long be­fore the fi­nal. Cricket-crazy peo­ple in In­dia had pre­pared to cel­e­brate a vic­tory over Pak­istan. They had stocked crack­ers to be lit up and ladoos to be dis­trib­uted in an­tic­i­pa­tion of that happy event. But to their dis­ap­point­ment, Pak­istan beat In­dia. There was frus­tra­tion all around.

A few weeks later, matches were played for the World Cup for women. Then too In­dia and Pak­istan met in the field. Pak­istan was con­vinc­ingly de­feated by In­dia. But there was no cel­e­bra­tion, no fire­works or dis­tri­bu­tion of Ladoos.

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi wished well to the team on the fi­nal and spe­cially ap­pre­ci­ated its cap­tain Mithali Raj. Though the team fought well, it failed.

The cricket-en­thu­si­asts should have kept the crack­ers and sweets to cel­e­brate the In­dian women’s vic­tory over Pak­istan. It was a clear dis­crim­i­na­tion against women. The gen­der dis­crim­i­na­tion finds a place in the re­mu­ner­a­tion to the players too; while men are paid in crores of ru­pees, the women players get only lakhs.

In­dia-Pak cricket matches are not played in In­dia or Pak­istan be­cause of their po­lit­i­cal hos­til­ity. How­ever, they are played in other coun­tries be­cause oth­er­wise their ac­cess to world cricket may be in dan­ger. It shows the hos­til­ity is not be­tween the crick­eters, but the po­lit­i­cal set-ups of both coun­tries.

Should the po­lit­i­cal hos­til­ity be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan ex­tend to cul­tural and sports fields? Both coun­tries have same cul­ture and tra­di­tion go­ing back to thou­sands of years. A ge­o­graph­i­cal di­vi­sion on the ba­sis of re­li­gion can­not elim­i­nate that cul­tural affin­ity. In fact, re­li­gion is no ba­sis for the mak­ing of a na­tion, is proved by the sep­a­ra­tion of East Pak­istan (Bangladesh) from the West. More­over, In­dia has got more Mus­lims than the rem­nant Pak­istan that has be­come a Bak­istan.

So the cul­tural affin­ity be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan should be cher­ished and pro­moted by sec­u­lar In­dia. Sportsper­sons, singers, drama­tists, dancers, artists and creative writ­ers can­not have any mu­tual ha­tred in their minds. They are equally loved by the peo­ple of both coun­tries and ex­tend­ing po­lit­i­cal hos­til­ity to­wards them is un­wise.

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