India-Pakistan Match must promote brotherhood, harmony, not violence!

Sports should not be mixed with politics and the proposed match should go ahead
India-Pakistan Match must promote brotherhood, harmony, not violence!
Agencies

Nasir Khuehami

That rare occasion is inching closer; India will take on Pakistan in a T20 Match of the Asia Cup on August 28 (Sunday) at Dubai International Stadium.

This tournament brings back special memories for both cricket-loving nations. The environment changes as fans excitedly wait for the event. Emotions on both sides are running high as people across south Asia eagerly wait for the biggest sports event in the region.

But cricket is not just a game in this part of the world, it is a highly emotional issue, especially for people living in arch-rival countries India and Pakistan. So, whenever India and Pakistan come face-to-face on a cricket field, politics follows, or in some special cases precedes the event itself.

The same is happening right now. However, sports should not be mixed with politics and the proposed match should go ahead. Showing support for a particular sportsman or a team shouldn’t be seen as an act of politics or ideology. It is simply a game of cricket after all. Let sports remain what it is meant to be: a universal joining force for people of diverse cultures, communities, languages, religions, regions etc.

But, unfortunately, a few anti-social elements are hellbent to communalise this sporting event. Cricket after all is a gentleman's game. Besides, India and Pakistan haven't held any bilateral series since 2012-13 and whenever they get to play against each other, it automatically becomes a big deal for fans.

No doubt it is hard to detach nationalistic sentiments attached to cricket, particularly in India and Pakistan. But no harm in trying either. Unfortunately, it is the political relationship between India and Pakistan that defines everything else including cricket. Things got worse over the years. They have bonded together politics and sports in such a manner that separating them now is a daunting task for anyone. In this charged up atmosphere, one particular place becomes its natural victim: Kashmir. The current high volt tension is a litmus test for Kashmiris, especially the youngsters who get hounded for liking a particular sports player or a team!

Someone liking a for a team should not be seen as his endorsement for a political ideology. How can someone beat you to enforce his likes and dislikes upon you? My request to Kashmiris students, don’t let your emotions overwhelm you for a mere game of cricket. Think about your family and career. You and your career matters. Take a cup of tea and enjoy the game in silence. You have to realise that the upcoming match is taking place in the backdrop of a highly charged up and politicized environment created by politicians and sections of the media. India is witnessing a growing intolerance against particular Identity.

After series of attacks on Kashmiri students in last few years over cricket match between India and Pakistan, a number of parents have recalled their children for some days to avoid any unpleasant incident, ahead of the upcoming match.

Over sixty thousand students from Jammu and Kashmir are presently pursuing professional and non-professional courses in different universities and colleges in Indian states. These students should save their careers, instead of getting provoked. Students should not involve themselves in unnecessary debates and discussions before or after the game. The Political connotations and feelings attached to this game are very serious. Students should enjoy the game with true sprit of a sportsman.

Kashmiri students must understand that by cheering for team playing against India they are putting themselves in a vulnerable position. Their social media posts and actions land them in trouble. Students must work towards keeping themselves safe in their Varasties and accommodations and should think about their families back home. Students studying in different institutions shouldn't give the system and apparatus a chance to scapegoat them as criminals.

Games and sports are not just means of amusement but they teach us brotherhood and peace. These events must promote brotherhood and harmony, not violence. Games become bridges for nations, be it cricket or football. Hatred, bigotry, narrow-mindedness, and prejudices are unethical to the spirit of sportsmanship. We should see sports as sports, rather shouldn't link it to nationalism or politics. Even opponents commend the good performers of the opposite team on the field. Even cricketers don't have any rivalry within the field or outside. They capture pictures, share compositive culture, care about each other and their families.

There are so many examples of such nature when a Centurian, a hard hitter is cheered by the fellow team after he is bowled out and returns to the pavilion. People love Kohli across the border for his cricket or those who love Babar Azam on this side aren't necessarily anti-nationals. Babar Azam in July this year won a lot of hearts after he tweeted his support for Virat Kohli, who is going through a lean patch and has not hit a century since 2019. Babars' support to the out-of-form Virat Kohli tells us that sports know no boundaries and all sportsmen teach tolerance, respect and humanity.

Nasir Khuehami is the National Spokesperson of J&K Students Association. He tweets @NasirKhuehami and Can be reached out at khuehamiayaan@gmail.com

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