The Boys in Saffron
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”?