Monday, September 18, 2017

Clash of the Neighbours

It is an age old tale. The story told at every chance. Something that never gets old. The love-hate relationship between India and Pakistan. There have been movies about it from every angle. How things are bad. How things should improve. How attempts have been made to bring a friendly bond. None of these show the entire nation in a bad light. It is always the work of a few miscreants to bring bad blood between the two countries. Lately, it was made even more obvious. The fact that that there was no Pakistan Player in India to play IPL. And now, no Indian took part in the Independence Cup that was played in Pakistan. After ages, International Cricket was brought back to the country after the senseless attack on the Sri Lankan players in 2009. Being attacked by a bomb is no joke. Obviously, players from other countries shied away from playing in Pakistan. Now that Pakistan is working really hard to bring alive the cricketing spirit in a country that LOVES the game, should not India have lent her support? There are many theories that have gone into why this did not happen. Theories with gaping holes in them.

Let’s go back in history and see what happened. Who doesn't love a back story, yes?

So, everything’s happening. The Indian Subcontinent is fighting against the British. The British decide that they can no longer control the land they thought they had conquered for eternity. They decide to leave. With a parting gift. To part the land. Thus giving birth to India and Pakistan. We are not gonna discuss Bangladesh here. Or Sri Lanka, for that matter. The protagonists of this tale are India and Pakistan. This is not a multicast.

Then the triangle forms with the weak spot - Jammu and Kashmir. Both countries want her. She seems to want to stay single. So many movies have become a hit because of a triangle. Pearl Harbour. Gone with the wind. Casablanca. I can go on. The point is, J&K has been a point of contention ever since 1947. Everything revolved around her. Kargil. 2008 Mumbai Attacks. Nuclear. Fawad Khan. From something extremely serious to something as trivial as bollywood, everything has been brought in to join the mela.

Cricket was not left behind either. Many raised questions and rightfully so. How can two countries play cricket with each other and, simultaneously, fight a war? How will the soldiers who are risking their lives, feel when the country they are trying to protect is playing with the ‘enemy’? Does it even make sense for them? I put ‘enemy’ in quotes because I want to write a neutral piece here. While I try to understand both sides of the story, I want to be able to open my heart and say that we need not fight all the time. Really.

There have been people on both sides who have gone out of their way to ensure that the bond between the two countries is never formed. There are others who risk their lives to bring the countries today. And a third who give up their lives to try to destroy the other.

My question is, should cricket be affected? Is it possible to keep the two apart? Is it insensitive to the ones who sleep in inhuman conditions so that their country can sleep safely? Will there ever be a solution? Does it have to be war?