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By celebrating Pakistan victory, some Indians have made a ‘mauka-ry’ of Indian ethos and democracy First Post 29 Oct 2021
There are reports of arrests of those who raised the Pak flag or sang the Pak national anthem post the Indo-Pak cricket match in UP, while in Kashmir students and staff of medical colleges have been booked under UAPA. This has been the norm post any Indo-Pak sporting event.
All Indo-Pak clashes on the sports field are tension packed events and played to full houses, as was evident in Dubai, where tickets were sold out weeks before the match. The loser faces national backlash, while the victor takes the spoils. Victory is also exploited politically. The recent world cup clash between India and Pakistan in Dubai, which Pakistan won decisively by 10 wickets was just that. The Pak interior minister, Sheikh Rashid stated, ‘Pakistan’s triumph against India is a victory of Islam. All Muslims throughout the world are rejoicing.’ He went on to add that this was akin to winning the world cup. He was reminded on social media that it was a cricket match not a victory in war, which Pakistan has never achieved.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister, on a visit to Saudi Arabia, stated while addressing a business forum, ‘if somehow we improve our relationship with India — I know after last night’s thrashing by the Pakistan team in the cricket match, it’s not a very good time to talk about improving relations with India.’ Fawad Chaudhry, Pakistan’s Minister of Information and Broadcasting stated, ‘The celebrations in Kashmir after the defeat of the cricket team in India should be enough to open the eyes of Modi & Co.’ Pak army comments were more subdued. The DGISPR tweeted, ‘CJCSC & Services Chiefs congratulate Pakistan Cricket Team for historic win against India in ICC T20 World Cup.’
The trolling of Mohamad Shami partially projected the dark side of the Indian public. There is no doubt that the team made errors, which does occur when playing under pressure, but to blame an individual, when the whole team failed displays an immature mindset. Within a day everything changed, and celebrities, politicians, ex-cricketers and the common Indian stood in support of Shami. Kohli faced more fireworks in the post-match conference than during the game.
Political Kida, a social media site, exposing fake news and lies online, stated, after investigating comments against Shami, that many posts originated from Pakistan linked handles, exploiting the moment to enhance religious divide within the country. New accounts were created on Instagram only to spread an ‘India is intolerant’ image. While this observation may be true, our own public’s reputation has been no better. In Mar 2007, Indian fans brought down walls and pillars of Dhoni’s under construction house in Ranchi to protest India’s five wicket rout by Bangladesh in their opening world cup encounter.
Within India there were reports of people celebrating Pakistan’s victory by bursting crackers. In some cases, it is difficult to dissect whether it was to celebrate the success of Pakistan’s or India’s defeat. In India many view the defeat as a setback to the current political dispensation, echoed by many on social media outlets. In some instances celebrations were not aimed at Indian defeat but more a victory backing religion. Some celebrations in J and K were aimed at displaying an anti-India stance. Interestingly, none who celebrated Pakistan’s victory would ever desire to live in Pakistan, even if invited or promised a lifelong visa.
Trolling and insulting the team post any loss is common even in Pakistan. After the defeat at the hands of India in the 2019 world cup, Pakistan’s captain Sarfaraz Ahmed faced the nation’s ire. Shireen Mazari, Pakistan’s Human Rights Minister, tweeted, ‘Hate to admit it but today there was a professional well-gelled cricket team that was the Indian team and a bunch of stragglers disconnected and led by a yawning captain that passed for the Pak team.’
For the common Pakistani, the current victory was setting at rest the mauka-mauka advertisement released in 2015, which mocked Pakistan’s losses to India. The advertisement displayed Pakistan’s desire to celebrate post every match turning to disappointment after defeat. Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper caught the mood in the title to its article, ‘Pakistan makes a mauka-ry of critics.’
On the field there was a display of far more maturity. Kohli hugging Rizwan and Pak players hovering around Mahendra Singh Dhoni, after the match, projected a very different picture. It may be argued that for Pakistani players it was easing of tensions, while for the Indian players, it was commencement of tension. During the game, both teams displayed appropriate behaviour which was not supplemented by fans and politicians.
The Dawn newspaper summed the importance of the victory for Pakistan. It stated, ‘With apologies to India, Pakistan fans deserved and needed this one much more. There is a mob heading towards the national capital, there are signs indicating a civil-military rift, a ‘petrol bomb’ was recently dropped, electricity rates have gone through the roof, a gas crisis is on the horizon, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) just wouldn’t let us go, and there is trouble brewing in neighbouring Afghanistan. In the midst of all that, the win over India allows the entire country to forget the troubles of their routine life.’ The victory also pushed under the carpet the surrender of the government to the TLP, an organization it had itself banned in April this year. It gave Pak politicians much needed breathing space and they exploited it.
India and Pakistan have had no sporting ties in recent times, on account of strained relations over terrorism and Kashmir. Prior to the world cup there were calls for cancelling the match on account of the ongoing operation in Poonch, where India lost 9 soldiers. Subramanian Swamy had tweeted, ‘Playing cricket with terrorist Pakistan, which is killing innocent Indians, is unacceptable.’
Indo-Pak rivalry exists in every sporting event, hockey and athletics included. Who can forget the incident in Bhubaneshwar where after their semi-final win over India, Pak players ran on the field, taking off their shirts and displaying vulgar signs at the audience. Nor can we forget the missing javelin incident between India’s golden boy of athletics Neeraj Chopra and Pakistan’s Nadeem during the Olympics this year.
This rivalry will not go away anytime soon. Accepting loss with maturity is more important.