Aman ki Asha amid the Bleed Blue Jingoism

Okay! So finally our country got hold of an opportunity we relish to the hilt. It was not a mere sport confrontation with Pakistan; it also unfortunately gave vent to the long suppressed ill-feelings for our neighbour. And it started breeding in every nook and corner right from the very day India entered into the semi-finals.

I’m not a Cricket fanatic; perhaps this is why the sudden over enthusiastic notion was beyond the realm of my understanding. My sensibilities seemed to be bombarded by patriotism coated with dark shades of jingoism. Don’t tell me I’m supposed to gulp down this bitter potion! And yes, don’t question my integrity or nationality for that matter. I don’t need a cricket match to prove my patriotism. I’m an Indian by heart but frenzy marring my thought process does not seem to be justified.

I mean, what has happened to us guys? Facebook status has been bubbling with thoughts, a reflection of the cynicism inflicting the imbeciles. A slurry of such scathing words included sentences which went like – “Hey you Pak kidos, watch out for we come from land of Kamasutra and know 227 ways of f ***ing you”. Another one went like this, “Indian team was penalized for killing 11 kangaroos and now it would be penalized again for killing 11 stray dogs”. And as I am writing this article my Facebook wall is flooded with hysterical updates, going overboard hinting that the final match between India and Sri Lanka is not less than the war between Lord Ram and Ravana. Needless to say that the world cup trophy is Sita.  Gosh! We can be this wild trying hard to get that feeling of being vindicated.

The radio FM channels connived further to catch up with the madness of the moment. While Red FM was busy juggling with its weird ‘Totkas’; 92.7 FM went a step ahead with its queer out-of-box ideas. The latter made a parody  of A.R. Rehman’s version of Vande Mataram and film Rang De Basanti’s ‘Lalkaar’ song trying to cohort all and sundry to be a part of this over-sensationalized battle cum banter of their jockeys trying to sound ‘Desh Bhakt’ in their hoarse voices.

Please don’t swear by the three wars we’ve fought with Pakistan, terror attacks and 26/11. It seems a bit irreverent. What is it that drives us to opt for such ludicrous ways to challenge our adversary? Why do such frivolous ways become synonymous with masochism or Indian ness for that matter? Okay, I agree fluttering white pigeons cannot mark the very contours of an India-Pak match. But a healthy ambience can definitely be construed in the backdrop of two nations fraught with misunderstanding, bitterness and inability to reach a consensual choice.

It was Wael Ghonim in Egypt who used the very tool of Facebook to kick start what we all call today, the Jasmine Revolution. And it’s the youth of India caught up in the frenzy of a cricket match and using its garb to spew venom all over the net. I really wonder if millions of Indian Facebook users can ever garner support to raise voice against perils endangering the very existence of their motherland. Poverty, corruption, insurgency are just some of the macro problems for underneath it the stench would simply block one’s nasal passage.

The history of sports arena is strewn with a slew of inspirational examples where sports have tried to bring two nations or communities together- the historic sight of North Korean and South Korean teams marching together behind the ‘unification flag’ in the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympics; the 1995 Rugby World Cup match in South Africa that helped blur the hostilities between the whites and the blacks in apartheid hit nation; the 2002 Football World Cup, jointly hosted by Japan and Republic of Korea, helped breaking the ice between the two countries ; iconic  Arther Arshe, the first African-American male to win a Grand Slam event, raised his voice to pillory the racial prejudices in South Africa after being denied a visa by SA government and who can forget our own ‘ Indo- Pak Express’, the duo  Aisam ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan and Rohan Bopanna of India who played at last year’s Wimbledon. These examples quite clearly exemplify that sports can transcend the boundaries.

A match well, should remain a match only and not transformed into a battle looking forth to crush your foe. Every goal is an accomplishment of several small steps, if Cricket mania cum FBK fever can be the first step (albeit in a more positive way) then I would say, go ahead and try building relations that have gone awry with time.

Akanksha Kumar

*This piece has been selected as a Winning Entry for the ‘Viewspaper Express Yourself Writing Competition’*