On a Sunday afternoon when India and Pakistan were to play cricket, it wasn’t just a game. Far from what an India-West Indies or a Pakistan-Sri Lanka cricket match would be. Much sought after affair, which the Ashes or any other England-Australia contest does not match any more. Not at least in the sub continent. And this arch rival clash leaves their cricket boards richer every time they battle it out in a cricket ground. All this has started long back when they first met for a Test Match in 1951 and since then it has been a story of emotional outbursts and passion on and off the ground, among the players and spectators alike.
As in other clashes between the arch rivals, in this one too the emotions ran high among the people in Kashmir. As a matter of fact the majority of population supports the Pakistan team whenever they fight it out with India. And there is nothing new in this; it has been so since the partition, since the times Kashmir has been seeking right to self determination. Right from when Mahjoor wrote, “Dil Chum Pakistanas seath”(for my heart lies with Pakistan). It is the story of majority population including the ones who run the state irrespective of the fact that the state is run on the diktats of Indian State.
But this time around it took a new high, when Afridi hit the second six in the last over to score the winning runs in the nail biting contest, 67-students of Swami Vivekanand Subharti University in Meerut were charged with sedition.
These young boys were just doing what they had been doing all through their life whenever India and Pakistan played cricket. They celebrated the Pakistani win without realising that they were not in Kashmir, where crackers are burst by locals when Pakistan wins and by Indian security personnel’s when India wins. This somehow has become part of the India-Pakistan contest. They forgot that they are in a place where cricket cannot be celebrated as a game.
A few days later though the sedition charges were dropped against the students, but the question is what in first place led to these charges. What rationale was behind this decision, except the jingoistic nationalism among the people who at first place charged these students with sedition? Asking the students to leave in middle of the night from the hostel, where they had spent past couple of years. Rendering them shelter less shows the growing intolerance among the people of India. And the government must realise how safe it would be for them to return to this particular college where they might be socially boycotted and threatened or even hurt. Before the people forget about the match, and India plays Pakistan again and loses this time.
By any means, if anybody deserves to be charged with waging war against the Indian state it has to be Shahid Khan Afridi, the man responsible for hitting two consecutive sixes and taking away that particular match from India at Sher Bangla Stadium.
India probably should use all their diplomatic powers to stop Afridi from playing cricket at least against them or the cases of sedition might keep on piling up.