The Boys in Saf­fron

India Today - - UPFRONT - @ShougatDas­gupta

For­mer Jammu and Kash­mir chief min­is­ter Me­hbooba Mufti sparked a bizarre (me­dia-led) con­tro­versy over an in­nocu­ous tweet in which she ‘blamed’ In­dia’s orange and navy away shirts for the de­feat against Eng­land. The orange was close enough to saf­fron to an­noy some who see po­lit­i­cal con­spir­acy and in­trigue ev­ery­where. “Call me su­per­sti­tious,” she wrote, clearly in jest, “but I’d say it’s the jersey that ended In­dia’s win­ning streak.” Of course, this was all the ex­cuse hy­per­ven­ti­lat­ing news an­chors needed to ask ad nau­seam whether Me­hbooba was ‘politi­cis­ing’ cricket and whether she even sup­ported Team In­dia. Giri­raj Singh, min­is­ter of an­i­mal hus­bandry, had no doubt that she and Omar Ab­dul­lah, also a for­mer Jammu and Kash­mir chief min­is­ter, were mourn­ing In­dia’s in­abil­ity to do Pak­istan a favour by beat­ing Eng­land. Does Singh ac­cuse all crit­ics of the In­dian team’s per­for­mance of sup­port­ing Pak­istan, you won­der. Ac­tu­ally you don’t, you know the an­swer. He doesn’t. Odd that Me­hbooba’s tongue-in-cheek tweet was met with such op­pro­brium. There was a sig­nal lack of equiv­a­lent out­rage when Amit Shah, now home min­is­ter, greeted In­dia’s win over Pak­istan on Twit­ter with the words, “An­other strike on Pak­istan by #TeamIn­dia and the re­sult is the same.” Could he have been hint­ing at the re­tal­ia­tory air strikes af­ter the Pul­wama sui­cide bomb­ing which killed over 40 jawans? And, given In­dia’s de­ci­sive win at the cricket over Pak­istan, can the re­sult re­ally be said to be the “same”?

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