Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Pseudo-secularism and cricket

Tarun Vijay.

That Pakistan would try to take advantage of Indian secularists' dushmani for Narendra Modi and celebrate it with a 'no, no' to Ahmedabad is understandable. But the Indian government's pusillanimity and BCCI's pet-dog attitude are ironical to say the least. It's bad in taste and, worse, it humiliates one of our fastest moving states which was also home to Gandhi and Jinnah. If mere memories of the Gujarat riots is the reason, then perhaps we should just forget about visiting each other: the ghastly memories of the Partition are not yet erased. South Block is not just for the Congress-ruled states, it has to take care of the honour of every inch of Indian soil and every Indian citizen whether it voted Congress or not. Keeping mum on the isolation of Gujarat by a country which authored Kargil is an inexcusable sin against national honour.

Surprisingly Pakistan's refusal to play in Ahmedabad, first on "political grounds" then for "security reasons" defies any logic and has almost got closer to undo the sweet, almost indescribable tales of genuine love brought home by hundreds of Indians who visited Pakistan during last spring's tour by India. It was as if nothing bad had ever happened between us and we were happy to, carry the stories of our friends and relatives telling how a taxi driver refused payment and what gala evening they had in the bazaar with met and hugged were Pakistanis and this Ahmedabad boycott is by the Army general sitting pretty in American pockets and trying to get some credibility through their farcical media organisations being "handled" in India by known lefties.

I was in Pakistan a couple of days before and tried to find out my ancestors' place. As usual, being a Hindu, I was a bit scared and also tried to be as nice as possible to my Pakistani counterparts. I found that Pakistanis were more understanding and accommodating then my so-called Indian secularist friends who tried to underline my RSS connections everywhere I went. These secularists were on the payroll of some of the Pakistani outfits and were being encouraged by them. That's the core issue I thought and saw their game as an affront to the Indian psyche.

Now think of the situation when Pakistan refused to play in Ahmedabad. Before Pakistan, two other foreign teams hadalready played in the same venue and remember, Gujarat is not, I repeat not, the personal jagir of Narendra Modi. We are not certain who wears the pants in the government in Delhi, but whoever that is, must understand that he or she is responsible for the security of a foreign team arriving in India as a guest. We shall be ready to lay our lives for the safety and security of our Pakistani brethren, their comfort and a very very affectionate stay within the boundaries of the country known universally as India. There has to be some one, and I tell you that someone has got to be a Praveen Togadia or his look alike, who should tell our dear sweet-heart Pakistani brothers that as far as sports is concerned its desirable to keep politics out. We know politics better than your ancestors who happen to be the same as ours. So put your heart into your cricket and indulge in politics in its own time. When our sportsmen had arrived at Lahore, Multan and Rawalpindi, none had complained about the demolition of the Hindu and Jain temples there to avenge India's December 6. We know how to provide protection to our guests and believe us; no stone shall be unturned to give return gifts. We love you, we love the normal, common Pakistani and shall open our doors of small, congested homes to accommodate them with the due regard and respect while they come to watch Pakistani team play in Ahmedabad or anywhere else. But please don't play politics in the name of cricket with us.

We are ready to give our lives and open our homes and give return gifts on a scale far higher than what we received while in Lahore and Multan. We love you dear Pakistanis, in spite of harbouring some very legitimate fears and doubts about the intentions of your rulers who are being controlled by forces beyond our comprehension. But just give us a chance, visit Delhi's Karol Bagh or Law Garden of Ahmedabad, or any place of your choice. Indians will prove that we love you as much, nay perhaps more than you love us. Ahmedabad is as secure as Delhi or Kolkata or Bangalore. We are Indians and we may fight with each other on petty issues, but as far as foreigners are concerned our hospitality is indivisible.

I was in Lahore a few days ago and it was a mesmerising experience as far as the interface with the common Pakistani is concerned. I can't speak for the rulers but the awam or the common person wants a relationship based on trust and amity with Bharat. Whoever is playing politics in the name of sports from India or Pakistan shall never be excused by history.

In times like this when the husband of a terrorist facing death sentence gets more sympathy than those security men martyred in the December 13 attack, Pakistan's refusal for Ahmedabad has come as a shot in arm for those who had been leading attacks on the nationalist sensitivities beginning from a ban on rakhi and other religious symbols in the Army, campaign against what they call "saffronisation", opening talks with various terrorist organisations andproviding state guest houses for the comfortable stay of their ring leaders, touting a made-to-order "inquiry" into the Godhra carnage to win Muslim votes,leaving no stone unturned to debunk and insult security forces while taking up the cause of terrorists and their hubbies from Gujarat to Delhi with such a missionary zeal that western Gora sahibs are pleased to award them spurious human rights medals, and of course, a few bundles of green dollars.

That's the national scene today and its not a sudden or surprising development. In a well calculated and methodical manner, things are moving fast in a direction that can have catastrophic effect in the coming years. Think of the fraud tamasha of a Benny Hinn attended by none other than the chief minister of Karnataka at the 'order' of the real power centre in Delhi and a Shankaracharya being humiliated in the most shameless manner. Which elements gets a boost and who are demoralised? When Babar got a Ram temple demolished in Ayodhya, he was just not insulting a place of worship, but the message was given to the entire Hindu society that look here is your place and now on be prepared to live subjugated lives. The same message was given by the Taliban when they demolished the Bamiyan Buddhas and were merely repeating what their predecessors had done in Somnath, Mathura and Kashi.

Today nobody speaks about a firm and time-bound resolve of the government to see that Kashmiri Hindus, refugees in their own motherland, are resettled withhonour and security. But a rebel insurgent group demanding mutation of India is not only provided help but before they begin talks with the Prime Minister in the South Block, a Christian prayer is sung and it's taken as a normalcy assuring gesture on part of the government. Would they allow the same gesture to a Hindu outfit?

I am referring here to the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagalim,Issac-Muivah group, that held aconference in Hebron (Nagaland) recently and Church leaders presented a charter of demands to them on the dais in full public view as if these murderers have the key to their succour. The demand for a greater Nagalim is a step forward in the direction of creating a Christian- majority "homeland" and has already started a violent chain reaction in the neighbouring states. Ironically, the NSCN-government talks are being projected as "Indo-Naga" talks as if the Indian government is talking to an autonomous country's representatives.

Yet, the media chose not to publish anything on this issue. Why? Because those involved were fundamentalist Christian groups? That's what it means to becompromising on issues concerning national honour, whether its cricket or the Jihadis. Welcome, by all means, dear Pakistanis. Make them feel at home in the land of their ancestors. But for God's sake take care of Bharat, i.e., India, too.

(The author is Editor, Panchajanya)


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