This is not your average take on the ICC Final that Pakistan won yesterday by a huge margin, in a matter befitting a champ, YET this article is more about an angry player from the other side who’d almost turned the tables on Pakistan, Hardik Pandya.
As a Pakistani, it is logical and easy for me to recount and praise our players, no doubt they are the champs because they PLAYED like champs, however, I have a BIG HEART, and in here I reach out to Indians on one of their fine players, proving that we Pakistanis are not myopic in victory or defeat, cricket is just a game and the best team may win however the best players, no matter WHICH side their own, deserve appreciation.
Virat Kohli’s acceptance speech praising Pakistan was epic as my friend Navid Malik wrote:
I also admire the Indian congratulatory comments to Pakistan on the match, and some sour ones too, the congratulation poured in from Indians and I really respect and admire the sportsman spirit displayed hence by Steve Smith, Sehwag, Sidharth Malhotra, Soha Ali Khan, Rahul Johri and Atul Kasbekar, many also had great sentiments for Pandya such as:
Matches between Pakistan and India are never, ever “neutral” or “cricket / sports as usual” – there is a fire in them that is absent in all but, perhaps, the Ashes between England and Australia.
The “match” and Pandya
While one can read the detailed history of the match on the Guardian link here, my contention is Mr Pandya, the young 23 something cricketer also known as “Hairy” from Gujrat (a province famous for its’ coastline, riches, food and also infamous for anti Muslim riots) – Pandya made 76 runs out of India’s meager total of 158 against Pakistan’s massive 338. The important thing here is that not only did Pandya bowl quite well, 1/53 second only to Bhuvneshwar, his batting was over the top, at a time when the entire top and middle order Indian batsmen had collapsed and loss was all but inevitable, this man hit sixers and fours as if he was just a few overs away from victory! And in fact, had he not had the Jadeja unfortunate runout (just like the Azhar/Fakhr runout earlier on in the Pakistan side) he had the potential to give Pakistan a run for their victory, it would not have been a piece of cake that it ultimately became and might have been much worse. In fact without Pandya the Indian entire team’s score was a mere 82! He made roughly HALF of the ENTIRE Indian total score! In my eyes, even as India lost, HE was the REAL man of the match, a man who persevered against all odds, and his final angry reaction, to me, was all but justified.
IndoPak NOT-SO-NICE History 🙂
The history between India and Pakistan cricket can only be understood by first exploring their tumultuous past – the Muslims, for better or for worse, “captured” and ruled over India for almost a 1,000 years under the Moguls after a 15 year old Arab soldier, Muhammad bin Qasim literally conquered India circa 700 A.D. This young boy won the huge Indian subcontinent not just the spirit of “Jihad” often attributed but also the rather repressive treatment of Lohana Jats and Buddhist Samanis by their rulers. It may sound politically incorrect today, but Islam, a religion maligned day and night by media and analysts all over the world was in fact a very modern, humanitarian and pro welfare faith (still is) though hardly practiced as such, even in Muslim countries. Cut the long story short – the Hindus were dominated for almost a 1,000 years by Muslims – many happily or forced converted as the Hindu faith, in all fairness, is quite repressive as it encourages a discriminatory class system within the faith. However, subsequent leaders (Moguls) threw it all down the drain and were almost as repressive as any holding on to power. In 1857 the English invaded India and, in a dark way, gave freedom from oppressive Moguls and reintroduced good values and education, a strength Muslims lost in the mid 19th century to the Europeans vide history of Andalus, Thus, while till today, one can safely say that the Muslims’ aren’t yet out of their dark ages (except some scholars like Ghamdi, Shaheedi and Tariq Jameel), one can also maintain that neither has Hinduism come out of its’ more compelling darkness, barring a few reformers like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
Current IndoPak Scenario
One can safely say, from firsthand experience, that educated Indians and Pakistanis, by a large measure support a developmental then repressive theological ideology, there are many good, peace loving people on both sides. However, the drums of war are ever kicking and snaring between these two neighbors whilst warring Europe is today united as an EU in trade, commerce and security – we are still light years apart in hatred. However, honestly speaking, where DOES this hatred come from?
The root cause of hatred between India and Pakistan, and I say this neither as a Pakistani or a Muslim but as an independent 3rd party observer, is sadly, the Hindu religion and its offshoots of hatred towards Muslims that is emancipated in the repression of Kashmiri Muslims rights to an independent Muslim homeland and also the in general repression of Muslims and minorities in India, while Pakistan has its Malala‘s and Asia Bibi, the sheer quantum of the Indian problem (ranked fourth worst in the world by Forbes) can’t be ignored, true, both neighbors need to get OUT of religious intolerance that their clergy often promote in the name of “faith” – but the Indian machinery is bent upon maligning Pakistan as part of it’s 3 pronged strategy to control a poor, diverse and nonviable huge nation under Hindu domination using wins in cricket, Bollywood and anti Pakistan rhetoric as the primary tools to unite their impoverished masses towards unity.
Today, India has a choice, think of Pakistan as a neighbor than an enemy, its literally as simple as that – but for that India would need a truly secular governance which one cannot see with cow vigilantes and hate all around India. Culturally there is a lot in common between the two if only the Indians realize that the road to peace starts with handshake then rhetoric of “surgical strike” – true, we Pakistanis have our problems, but not only are they far less than yours, we are managing them well too, and without promoting hatred against you in our country. We have successfully curbed extremism and are on the road to unity and prosperity, see us as a market, a culturally relevant market and I’m sure your hegemonic aims will take a back seat.
Cricket is just a sport, a rather gentlemanly sport so to speak, but games with roots in hate are never just games, it is time that the Indians reflect on their hatred for Pakistan, we won the ICC world cup and YET we are NOT ALLOWED to play in IPL and many other venues, I am sure this time, Indian fans, who appreciate cricket perhaps more than they despise Pakistan, will ask for cordial and friendly terms not just in cricket, but overall.
Let Pakistan’s victory result in the victory of peace loving people on both sides and the demise of haters in the same breath. And a fight against our common enemy of poverty and injustice as outlined in GadhaParty.com