It would have been just another match for majority of the people outside the Indian sub-continent and even for some living in India. But in our part of the world, it was a time for emotional redemption, vengeance and a display of the ever present extreme emotions lying buried in the heart of our hearts. Be assured, I am not going to tell you about an India Vs Pakistan cricket game!
India vs South Africa, it was! The match nearly ended in a tie. India won against the Proteas but lost to Kashmiris! All the way into the twitter and facebook social networks, timelines were filled with tweets and posts in support of the men in green (Light Green, if it wasn't obvious) as to how they managed to lessen the margin of loss to 'less than 30-odd runs'. The Proteas don't claim even the remotest stake in this part of the world, the Valley of Saints. One wonders, why on earth would a major chunk of educated, tech-savvy and outspoken Kashmiris cheer (or tweet) for a country as distant as South Africa, which does even share its border with ours!
I am sure supporting (or cheering) a cricket team in a cricket match is not the barometer of determining nationality or loyalty. I even wish that it does qualify for sedition or a PSA!? For that matter, you can you term a fan of the English football team, in FIFA World Cup, a 'firangi' (of the pre-1947 era)!? It is, albeit, in consonance with the fact that India does not qualify for the FIFA World Cup! I suppose, for anybody, being an 'integral' part of a nation would naturally push him to cheer (or tweet!) for the sports of that very nation.
The result of the said match resulted in firecrackers (this time not from the CRPF!!!) from the ever so emotive Kashmiri waiting in the street with a cracker in one hand and a matchstick in the other. Another duel of vengeance after the WC ODI champions repeated the performance of Mohali Semi-final, in the preceding match. While the sabre-rattling over Kashmir was going on at the UN around the same time, the Youth of Kashmir were out there in the streets and the cyberways of twitter and facebook, even without an UN mandate and without the presence of any supervising agency, without even the consent of the two parties who were playing wordsmiths at the UN, of integral parts and jugular veins!
But, ask any such person who is celebrating an early Indian exit from the World Cup T20 that is he being a Pakistani by doing so? The answer would be a big , "NO", without a second thought! Ask him how does it feel to be part of the rhetoric of integral parts and the jugular veins. The answer in most of the cases may be, "I don't care". Ask him how does it feel like saluting the national flag and standing up to the national anthem before the start of a match. The answer to this question may, well, be, "I don't do that". Ask him if he is a dropout and thus confused about his future and thus venting out his anger. The answer may be as astounding a, "I study at an IIT or a NIT or an IIM or AIIMS or AMU!" Ask him if he is unemployed (or is he in need of stipend or internship from Tata or Birla?) and that being the reason for his dissent. The answer in many of the cases will be, "I work at IOCL, NTPC, ONGC, HPCL, NHPC, BHEL, Mahindra, Tata or Airtel". Even plum jobs don't impose silence!
But, ask the same person who gave these answers, who does he cheer for when India plays Afghanistan, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka or Kenya! The answer will be anything but India. Ask him, "Why?". The answers would as contrasting as Che Guevara and Mahatma Gandhi! Finally, ask him who he is, where does he belong to, what is his identity? Answers will be, "I am a Kashmiri. I was born in Kashmir. I have lived in Kashmir, seen Kashmir, and experienced Kashmir". I don't have an identity of my own. My identity has been 'Kashmired'!
(The writer is an alumnus of National Institute of Technology Srinagar. Feedback at twitter.com/TavseefMairaj)