India v/s Pakistan – Cricket Rivalery

by Vikram

India v/s Pakistan. Today’s cricket world cup semi final match goes life in less then two hours. Roads have virtually no traffic, offices are half closed, businesses are closed! We’ve made plans to watch the match at a friends place with roughly 20 people. TV has had nothing but cricked for the past 5 days (since we beat Australia).

However, this makes me wonder why such a fervor for India v/s Pakistan match? Would it have been the same for India v/s Australia or India v/s South Africa? I doubt. Besides the fact that thousands of corores in illegal betting are at stake and media has hyped up the match as the biggest thing after World War II, what is driving this frenzy?

I remember when in Jamia, we used to have a dividing line in the dorm room marking the India and Pakistan boundary. Indian supporters would sit on one side and Pak supporters on the other. We used to have great fun taunting each other when our teams did well. Passions would run high in tense moments. All that was fun. No one ever got killed. We rationalized people were supporting Pak due to religious affinity and as a political decent owning from various perceived and real grievances. We didn’t take this seriously. No one did. Out side Jamai, people made great deal about muslims rooting for Pakistan. Parties like BJP used this as a political instrument. And raid question about the entire Muslim populations allegiance to the Indian nation. It was sad. And if were simply a faith based thing then why don’t we see the same happening when India plays Bangladesh? While the reason for some Indian Muslims supporting Pakistan should be looked at as a form of political decent and more often then not just plain mischief, I am more interested in the hind take in India/Pakistan cricket encounters.

Behind the veil of cordiality when people talk about Pakistan and how we should be friends with Pak and how we are the same people, etc… an overwhelming majority of Indians do not believe Pakistan is a friend and see it as an enemy state. Deep sense of injustice and betrayal is felt by the people of India. All the wars, terrorist attacks et. al. have convinced Indians that Pakistan is an enemy which by extension is felt on any and every field where the two nations compete. Be it a cricket field, UN assembly or economic forums, etc. competition with Pakistan is war. Inferior Indian cricket teams in the past have aggravated this notion of hurt. And this is why today’s match is being treated as war and not as just another cricket match, which is what it is. India is fighting an enemy. Weather its a good idea to attach one’s national pride on a cricket match is another matter. No matter how every one sugar coat their words, the naked truth is that its both counties national pride that’s on the line. It’s absurd in the same way as parents equating their pride and social standing with the percentage of their children’s school examination!

India has moved ahead of Pakistan in almost every field and domain, but I wish we understood and believed this.

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