What is the Fuss All About?
India Vs. Pakistan has always been and will continue to be one of the most eagerly anticipated sporting events, with both nations coming to a halt when the two teams take the field against one another. It becomes a war of identities and self-determination when the scenario shifts from the cricket field to off the field. The Hoi polloi from both the countries reaches the peak of their assertiveness in an attempt to showcase an array of greater dominance over the other on this very day- the El Classico of the east and one of the most-watched cricket matches- India versus Pakistan.
As the two sides prepared for their Men's T20 World Cup Group 2 game in Dubai, the much-anticipated Sunday evening blockbuster between Indian and Pakistani fans from all around the world finally came to life. The Indian contingent was taken aback by the match results, as Pakistan claimed its first and well-deserved world cup victory over India, finally breaking a 12-0 drought that had lasted decades. That's how sports work: one team wins, the other loses, both learn valuable lessons, accept the mandate in a gentlemanly manner, and go on.
Many people, however, fail to recognize that sports require sportsmanship and that either victory or defeat for one side should not be an excuse for extreme jingoism or shame for the other.
Patriotism or Jingoism?
You can no longer call it patriotism when love for the nation turns into hatred for another. Jingoistic overtones accompany such militant nationalism. The fact that certain sections of the population on both sides of the border treat the match like a war is in itself a very unsettling premise. Fans regard the players as though they were soldiers fighting for the country's supremacy on the pitch. "We have to win"-which sounds like a war cry, is repeated over and over, and then what? The fans frequently take the match result to heart, but how can your hero become a villain overnight?
Furthermore, as if this innate hostility wasn't enough, our beloved watchdog, the fourth pillar of democracy—the media—feeds into it to further its agenda and meet its vested interests. Politicians are no different; they seize every opportunity to advance their ideology, which is why they are frequently spreading hate along communal lines. This triumph was dubbed a "success for Islam" by a Pakistani official. All these circumstances combine to put the players under a lot of stress, which might affect their performance.
In reality, every match, whether against Pakistan, Australia, or any other cricket-playing nation, is equally vital for each team. Anyone who describes a game as being more upstage than the others is acting unethically. A match versus Pakistan should be considered the same as any other match in the competition. As patriotic citizens, we must support our athletes while also being prepared for any eventuality.
Are the Institutions Biased?
A few facts have been observed over the years that may compel us to accuse the ICC of being biased. Most of us witnessed the row over MS Dhoni’s gloves with the Indian army symbol on them. According to the explanation, ICC regulations prohibited any specific remark or logo from being shown on any apparel or equipment used on the field.
On the other hand, Pakistani players have been spotted praying on the field on various occasions, and the ICC has made no objections. In addition, the ICC changed its Twitter cover photo, replacing it with a selfie of the Pakistani squad in celebration of their recent triumph against India. Such incidents raise doubt on the organization's purity and provide another reason for both countries to hate each other.
Such biases also promote inter-faith animosity. Numerous Indian supporters of the Pakistani cricket team had surfaced during the match. For example, a teacher in Neerja Modi School Udaipur lost her job after screenshots proving her allegiance to the Pakistani team had gone viral.
In Kashmir, students from a famous institution were seen celebrating Pakistan's victory.
Waqar Younis, a former stalwart in the game, also showcased his pride on social media when Pakistani batsman Rizwan offered the namaz in front of Hindus. None of the above actions were penalized and, the ICC turned a blind eye towards all of this, forcing us to point out the hypocrisy shown by the organization.
Finding a Solution
We can start by educating ourselves. If a sport is treated at par with religion in countries like India and Pakistan, we might as well be more informed and acquainted with it, right? Lack of knowledge about the sport is a major contributing factor in spreading and promoting destructive behaviour among fans. Hence, it becomes imperative that we know the sport well before demonstrating any reactions or comments of any sort and strictly refrain from bashing the team or any player in particular under any circumstances.
In addition, the media of both countries must undergo significant adjustments to transform the current mentality. Indian media houses must conduct themselves morally and ethically. Igniting anger and aggression in the minds of the people will only bring chaos and instability. News channels and reporters should effectively adopt a rational methodology of ethical and unbiased reporting of facts instead of sensationalizing their broadcast. Not everyone in our country can dissect and analyse the news that is served to them. Hence, authentic stories with a nonpartisan intent should set the tone for news bulletins.
Last but not the least, such an acute bitter rivalry arises out of poor diplomatic relations and continuous conflicts. We have seen several attempts from both sides to bring peace and harmony in the region but, most of those efforts were futile and in vain. The top-tier leaders from both countries should work towards discovering a greater number of commonalities and a broader framework for convergence. Better relationships will result in a friendlier attitude of the citizenry of both nations towards each other.
Written by- Isha Singh
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