Indian Cricket And Civility

Dr. Mike Ghouse   October 31, 2021   Comments Off on Indian Cricket And Civility
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To the Editor, the Hindu

Your words are identical to my commentary in a social media group a few days ago, “People of Indian origin live around the world, with split loyalties. There are U.S. citizens who chant victory for India at gatherings in their home countries addressed by the Indian Prime Minister, and there are British and Australian citizens who boo their own country in favour of India during sporting events.”

Should the Americans, British, Australians, South Africans and others punish the people of Indian origin for their support?

The stupids among Indian Americans also support the RSS agenda of booting Muslims and Christians out of India – what if the white Americans want to kick these idiots out of America? I am writing an article about our hypocrisy.

Mike Ghouse

Silly point: On linking cricket to patriotism

OCTOBER 30, 2021Article Link : https://bit.ly/2ZFfd2y

Support for the national cricket team or its players is no litmus test for patriotism

People who allegedly celebrated the victory of Pakistan against India in a T20 cricket World Cup match on October 24 are facing the brunt of the state. All of them are Muslims. In Rajasthan, a young schoolteacher has been terminated by a private school and the police have charged her under IPC Section 153B for ‘imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration’. In Jammu and Kashmir, the police have registered two cases against unknown persons under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and other sections. In Uttar Pradesh, three students from J&K have been charged under IPC Sections 153A (promoting enmity between groups), 505 (creating or publishing content to promote enmity) and, later, Section 124A, sedition. The wisdom, propriety or acceptability of celebrating Pakistan’s victory is beside the point. From moral, tactical, and practical perspectives, this sweeping policing is unwise. No democracy, least of all a country of India’s size and diversity, can demand unyielding uniformity and conformity from its population, on all questions and at all times. It is unlikely that any of these charges will stand judicial scrutiny, but that only makes this spectacle a ridiculous distraction for the stretched law enforcement system. Far from enforcing national integration as the purported aim of this heavy-handed police action is, it will only brew more resentment and social disharmony apart from derailing young lives.

An unremitting loyalty test of citizens can be a self-defeating pursuit for a country like India that has global ambitions. People of Indian origin live around the world, with split loyalties. There are U.S. citizens who chant victory for India at gatherings in their home countries addressed by the Indian Prime Minister, and there are British and Australian citizens who boo their own country in favour of India during sporting events. Sports teams around the world have members of foreign origin. Infusion of toxic hyper-nationalism in sports is bad in such a world; more so for India. While the BJP has been championing this link between cricket and nationalism, other parties are not far behind as the incident in Rajasthan, a Congress-ruled State, shows. AAP in Delhi was one step ahead and questioning the Narendra Modi government for allowing the cricket match with Pakistan. Had all this been on account of an unspoken link between cheering for the national cricket team and support for a united India, the police would have also charged those who mercilessly trolled Mohammed Shami, a Muslim in the Indian cricket team. True, it would have been wonderful for the Indian cricket team to enjoy the unqualified support of the entire nation, but, surely, there is no reason to charge those who support another team with sedition. The Indian state looks silly now, and the whole episode bodes ill for cricket, and the country.

By not standing up for Mohammad Shami, Indian cricket team disappoints

October 27, 2021 Article Link : https://bit.ly/3jNWcla

A statement from the team would also have been an eloquent rebuttal to those who saw in Shami only his faith.

Virat kohli has a social media following that the country’s political parties would be envious of. Other cricketers in India’s World T20 squad are also A-listed influencers. But when their long-time mate, Mohammad Shami, an India regular in charge of a new ball for close to a decade, was targeted and abused, and his faith was invoked after the loss to Pakistan, those eagerly followed timelines remained silent. The team that gets into a tight huddle before every game, a reassuring picture of solidarity in a diverse nation, didn’t form the same ring of support for Shami. Hours before, however, the images of Kohli and his teammates congratulating Pakistani players sent out a heartwarming signal — that sportsmanship and grace could be found in defeat; that an India-Pakistan cricket match did not have to be overshadowed by bitter enmity. Surely, then, a statement from the team would also have been an eloquent rebuttal to those who saw in Shami only his faith.

In the polarised world of social media, debate usually means extremists on either side hijacking the discourse. Add to this the potent mix of cricket, India, Pakistan and majority vs minority, and it’s not difficult to see why many may see silence as a preferred option. But India’s sporting icons, from Neeraj Chopra to Virat Kohli, can send out the much-needed message of inclusion to the young. The cricketers’ silence stood out, especially when the team collectively supported the ICC’s anti-racism stand by taking the knee, the protest posture made famous by the Black Lives Matter movement. A long list of former players did react but many missed the point. Calling Shami a committed, world-class bowler, Sachin Tendulkar tweeted: “He had an off day like any other sportsperson can have.” But a player doesn’t deserve civility based on the runs he concedes in the game. And this was a day when India was thrashed by 10 wickets, openers Rohit Sharma and K L Rahul went for single digits, finishers Ravinder Jadeja and Hardik Pandya failed to fire at the end and the world’s top bowler Jasprit Bumrah was blunted by Pakistan’s sauntering openers. It was not difficult to see why the digital mob had targeted Shami.

The BCCI, the richest board with the deepest social media reach, too, must be mindful of its responsibility. England’s Football Association was quick to throw its weight behind their players — Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka — after they faced racist abuse on missing penalties against Italy in the Euro 2020 final. Indian cricket’s footprint is now global. The IPL is a growing tent that attracts a diversity of talent. How players behave in such situations amplifies a vital message to the next generation — that ambition and talent go hand in hand only if they are inclusive. That the team chose to be silent when a colleague was the target of hate is not only disappointing, it also dents Indian cricket.

This editorial first appeared in the print edition on October 27, 2021 under the title ‘Ducking’.


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