The atmosphere was tense as one of the biggest sport rivalries go head to head in a scintillating display of talent, hate and misguided patriotism. I’ll be honest, I’m not a big sports fan, in the sense I don’t watch a lot of sport. I love playing sport, and the discussion on how often I believe should be left to a more auspicious hour, day and year. But regardless of my sporting handicap, I believe that the term rivalry is just as honest as we Indians will get to how we feel about our ‘neighbours’. Why we feel that way is a debate no one is willing to objectively conduct. It’s quite nice, how we ‘hate’, umm, too strong? Okay, ‘intensely dislike’ people from a country that decided to stay with us even after the world partitioned, well physically.
I think these inherent feelings towards the Muslims (or Hindus, depending on your side of the spectrum), has been handed down over generations. It’s funny that I use the word spectrum. Spectrum means a band of colours as seen in a rainbow, produced by separation of the components of light by their different degrees of refraction according to wavelength. So is that the reason? Different wavelengths?
Maybe, it was because of the growing tensions among the two communities over centuries that slowly drifted them apart. But the real question is how long ago were these centuries? Did the political success of the Muslim rulers drive the Hindus to not accept the weaker Muslims or vice versa. Or were these sparks, noticed by the British, fueled to fulfill yet another political objective? Or maybe, it was just a particular vegetarian who didn’t like non-vegetarians around his food, and somehow the trend caught on, and diversified. Honestly, I don’t know who is to be held responsible, the perpetrators or the simpleton folk, you and me, who believe that a simple action/inaction had to have a deep psychological meaning obviously making us assume nothing but the worst. When we start believing that different is wrong and that the unknown is scary, we also are sadly never able to guess what we’re signing up for, and on the behest of how many lives.
A game of cricket, in its current medium of operation is a source of entertainment. Sadly, nothing sells better than a bloody political history.