DEFEAT PAKISTAN BY WINNING PEOPLE
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.