Why I Haven’t Enjoyed Watching India-Pakistan Matches For The last 15 Years

Posted by Muzamil Rashid in GlobeScope, Politics, Society
June 20, 2017

An Open Letter to the International Cricket Council

Dear Sir,

I write this open letter. Sir, I want to bring to your kind notice the increasing hostility due to the cricket matches between the two neighbouring countries India and Pakistan. It seems that instead of playing the game, the two countries are fighting each other. Cricket matches between the two nations are increasingly souring ties.

The matches between the two countries have resulted in an increase in the void between the people. So, instead of creating a bond among the people of the two respective countries, the matches have been utilised as a means to further negative propaganda on social media and on the ground.

Cricket is a noble game and it has brought closer the different nations irrespective of religion and culture. Unfortunately, the irony is that the same game played between India and Pakistan results in increasing hatred, violence, void, apprehension and insecurity among the people in general and Kashmiris in particular.

The question which arises is do Indians and Pakistanis enjoy cricket matches against each other? I am convinced that we don’t like the experience any longer. Four decades ago it was enjoyable to watch these teams. But it has not been the case in the last 15 years or so. The levels of hatred are high because of the events that are kept at a boiling point because of the media.

The first problem is that much of the cricket played by the two sub-continental teams is watched and appreciated from an ultra-nationalistic perspective. When rival teams score boundaries or take wickets, the supporters of the other team in the stadium go silent. There’s hardly anyone who appreciates a good game by the opponent.

If we believe that things got worse in Kashmir it is not because of the facts on the ground, but because of the politics and media. The media, in order to grab eyeballs and increase TRPs, goes to unimaginable extremes and adds fuel to the fire.

Over the years, Kashmiris, mostly the youth, had to pay a price for exhibiting love and support for the Pakistan cricket team. The most telling example of Kashmiris suffering for cheering green shirts was witnessed in 2014 when Uttar Pradesh college authorities suspended 67 Kashmiri students after they celebrated Pakistan’s win over India in an Asia Cup tie.

Is there really an intention of creating a friendly relationship between these two rival nations through a cricket match? Or is it just to make it worse? If there is really an intention of friendship then the government policies should be changed. If not, these two teams should be banned from playing against each other because Kashmiris are becoming the victim of their hatred. It would be great for the International Cricket Council to make a statement on this issue.

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Image source: Charlie Crowhurst/ Stringer/ Getty Images

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