Let peace win at Mohali

Published: March 26, 2011
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The writer is executive director of Ajoka Theatre and was awarded the President’s Pride of Performance Award in 2009

The writer is executive director of Ajoka Theatre and was awarded the President’s Pride of Performance Award in 2009

Pakistani cricket fans are on their way to Chandigarh to cheer their team in the mother of all matches taking place at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium in Mohali.

Among them are Pakistani peace activists who will be joined by their Indian counterparts to promote peace. Pakistani cricket fans would have crossed the border without obtaining no objection certificates from Rehman Malik and by passing the Indian government’s newly introduced stringent visa policy. While stepping over the imaginary border line, they will surely notice the well-built, tough-looking border security jawans from both sides, who behind their thick, oiled moustaches, may be hiding their desire to join the cricket caravan. Back home, people will be taking half day off, even if the government doesn’t announce it. The tyre-burning mobs may suspend their ‘noble’ campaign and Karachi’s target-killers may give themselves a much-needed break for the day. Cricketing hero-turned-playboy-turned-The Avenger, has already instructed his Tehrik-i-Dharna brigade to schedule the anti-Nato sit-in well after the World Cup final.

In Mumbai, Bal Thakray may be getting ready to play ball in case Pakistanis attack Mumbai again under the pretext of the World Cup final. Geo TV will probably make a last ditch attempt to get the Supreme Court issue injunction against PTV, Pemra, cable operators or anyone else showing the matches. Spectators will be getting ready for the fight with flags, painted faces and hooters. Cricket yatris traversing GT Road may pass by the legendary battlefields of Kurukhshetra and Panipat, and wonder if the Battle of Mohali will go into the annals of history, as the biggest clash of cricketing history.

The sports rivalry between India and Pakistan could be quite healthy and cathartic. But the passion for cricket in the two countries can reach neurotic propositions. It may be worth checking if the fanatical enthusiasm for the Indo-Pak cricket clash has its roots in intense and irrational hatred for each other, and the desire for victory over the other, is a desire to humiliate and disgrace the ‘enemy’. Even if not widely shared by the people, this unsporting behaviour is evident among the chauvinist lobbies in the media and political circles. It is important to stress that the contest must be restricted to the sporting arena and enjoyed, rather than make it a life and death issue.

Many of us have lost the ability to appreciate and enjoy sports. We see conspiracies everywhere and every issue becomes a matter of national honour. World Cup 2011 victories have given us some breathing space and, a desperately needed feeling of achievement and joy. It is an inspirational sight to see Team Pakistan fighting as a united and determined unit, showing maturity and guts in tough situations. Equally gratifying were the scenes of gracious and whole-hearted support for Pakistan shown by Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi crowds (which, we as a country have done nothing to earn).

Regardless of the results of the match on March 30, let peace be the winner at Mohali. And let us hope that regaining of our cricketing confidence will make us ponder why, this match couldn’t have taken place at the more spacious Gaddafi Stadium, and why our boys are forced to have their home matches, abroad. Let us strengthen our resolve to exorcise the ghost of the 2009 attack on Sri Lankans, let us wake up from the nightmare of 2010 London match-fixing disgrace. We may win or lose the match at Mohali, but the match with the terror team must be won at all costs.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 27th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (17)

  • Mar 27, 2011 - 12:40AM

    Fingers crossedRecommend

  • John
    Mar 27, 2011 - 3:11AM

    If PAK PM goes, the PAK team already won!Recommend

  • AnIndian
    Mar 27, 2011 - 7:40AM

    Let the PM invite the other PM…

    I, an Indian citizen, cordially invite my brothers and sisters of Pakistan for the match and more…Recommend

  • Mar 27, 2011 - 12:25PM

    Nothing much is going to change. Our camaraderie with individual pakistanis is passe and does not count for anything on the national level. The last para of the article says it all. The deep state and their fixation with India as their enemy is to blame all along. And that will not change with one cricket match. As an Indian I am hoping that all the 5000 fans from pakistan are returned to their home country after the match and none of them has the opportunity to do any subsequent recce of anything as it happened previously. Recommend

  • @AnIndian:

    Thanks for your warm invitation. We expect this match to be promoting peace and love between us and our countries.Recommend

  • Saqib
    Mar 27, 2011 - 3:00PM

    Even if there are hundreds of these matches held, there won’t be peace unless India stops it’s silent killer attitude of ensuring that Pakistan’s growth is impeded in every possible way and our people suffer.Recommend

  • Ani
    Mar 27, 2011 - 4:04PM

    Indian government as a courtesy has allowed 5,000 Pakistani’s to attend the world cup in India. Hope – don’t count on it, some of them aren’t scouts for future Mumbai type plots against india. And cricket diplomacy aside, peace is not possible unless Pakistan changes it’s own self image of “Islamic Superiority”. Recommend

  • Syed Hussein El-Edroos
    Mar 27, 2011 - 4:34PM

    Totally and entirely agree with what Mr Shahid Nadeem has written. India and Pakistan cannot go on like this. On both sides of the border hundreds of millions of people are living a life of poverty because our leaders and a handful of fanatics think that putting down the other country is the way to go. If they were truely concerned, they would find ways to help the majority of our fellow citizens, who live on less than $2 a day, to live a more fruitful life.Recommend

  • Fact Check
    Mar 27, 2011 - 5:44PM

    @Saqib:

    There you go, now India is impeding Pakistan’s growth. Suppose, India was controlling mother nature and caused the devastating floods last year. India must be the most powerful country on planet earth. Did India cause Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan too.

    Do you hear yourself speak and realize how stupid you sound?Recommend

  • Beaver
    Mar 27, 2011 - 9:38PM

    @Ani:
    Go talk to other neighbors and see what they say about you? You are most disliked neighbor in all world. Stop cheap talk here.

    @ Deep
    Sam Cowardish Hindu behavior. I won’t blame you for that. Your history is such that Its a Pity anyway. Well, those 5000 woud not be doing what your consulates are doing: Training Terrorists and injecting in Pakistan., Same thing you did in 1971 in Bangladesh and its result of Indian Terroism and Terrorist State Intervention. US will not alwyas privide you protection. Let them draw down we will settle accounts with you right there . And I strongly believe that if Pakistan were a Nuclear state then, Your terrorist State would not dare that in 1971 at a cost of being wiped out. So From my part I disapprove You and Your Terrorist Govt for any kind of relationship with pakistan. Stay where you are. There is not need for any relationship. No Visas from pakistan be issued to Indians Until we have Peace in Pakistan. Recommend

  • Arindom
    Mar 28, 2011 - 1:05AM

    Where are the Generals of Pakistan? Without them this is all futile…

    they seem to be keener to play ice-hockey…Recommend

  • Fact Check
    Mar 28, 2011 - 1:38PM

    @Beaver:

    This is from a country that got got whipped 5 times, that is five times. You call Hindus cowards, yet 90,000 Pakistani troops surrendered. History lesson below:

    “India took approximately 90,000 prisoners of war, including Pakistani soldiers and their East Pakistani civilian supporters. 79,676 prisoners were uniformed personnel, of which 55,692 were Army, 16,354 Paramilitary, 5,296 Police, 1000 Navy and 800 PAF.[45] The remaining prisoners were civilians – either family members of the military personnel or collaborators (razakars)”. Largest surrender in the history of the world, even larger than WW II.

    Your so called Nuclear weapons won’t even get of its silos, and if they do, expect nuclear waste land. India is 6 times larger than you. Third Largest army in the world and 4th largest Air Force in the world. So, bring it on.Recommend

  • ani
    Mar 28, 2011 - 7:03PM

    @Beaver:
    India’s neighbors may say many things about India. But none say, preach and believe in what Pakistan does. Manufacturing hatred and exporting it to its neighbors is the high privilege of the ‘pure’ and ‘chosen ones’.

    Now if you have an open mind, just hear, read and see what some outstanding and courageous Pakistanis have to say about their own country. Just read ET. It costs nothing. You don’t need to go anywhere else to learn and improve. Recommend

  • For God’s sake stop this Pak-India war at least here. Why do you people always blame each other and try to humiliate each other? Let’s take some positive measures in our surrounding instead of this blame-game.Recommend

  • SD
    Mar 29, 2011 - 2:02PM

    India should welcome ordinary cricket fans. However, TERRORISTS are not welcome.Recommend

  • joy
    Mar 29, 2011 - 8:16PM

    @ I am a responsible and civilized citizen of Pakistan

    Jeeyo and MAY YOUR TRIBE GROW

    Joy

    IndiaRecommend

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