War of Perception

WhatsApp Image 2017-07-04 at 2.54.33 PM

India-Pakistan cricket has been the greatest and longest rivalry between the two countries and is renowned throughout the world, and has been in the pages of history even before the Independence of both countries, which were then living under the rule of the British in the Indian subcontinent. Even then they didn’t live in peace and harmony although their language, traditions, and culture resemble each other as compared with the British, who were totally foreign in all aspects to the local people. The conditions back then were worse, and one would’ve thought that time would’ve healed the wounds, but it got even worse, diplomatically, after their independence in 1947. The cricket, as brought by the British in the subcontinent, was played by both the countrymen quite enthusiastically. And it served as the first sign of peace when both the countries played their first match in India in the mid-1950s. Pakistan cricket team visited India and at the end of that decade, Indian team toured Pakistan until the two wars of 1965 and 1971, that deteriorated the conditions on both sides. Quite ironically, both the countries believe that they won both the wars; that is to say that Indian historians say that they won both wars, and they teach that in their history text books, while Pakistan believes that they won both wars, and they too teach that in their history books. Now no one really knows who won what, when, and how [much of it]. Not even the primary sources are legit. They themselves are the repressed half of the history. The Karghil war of 1999 was officially won by India, that the both countries confirm to and agree. Until the Mumbai attacks in 2008 that took on a new turn in the relation of both these countries along with the persistent “who rules over Kashmir” conflict since 1947. Both the countries from time to time, came across each other on LOC to burn off some steam, to keep the relations consistent- at its worse. People on both sides of the border feared in those scenarios that the nuclear war might happen right next second. No one is safe, no one is free, not anymore, not even after independence when they thought they were. I’m not here to revise all the history rather exaggerating what this sport really means to both the countries. So, in these situations of both the countries, sports serve as the mean to attack each other, especially cricket, with bat and ball on the battlefield and with words off the battlefield- media. So, that no one could go to prison or kept as hostages even after this “war”.

All the introductory part could serve as a historical background of what the real grounds are, and what really is at stake. There is immense detestation among enthusiastic cricket lover on the social media from both the sides especially after the recent ” war” in, again quite ironically, England, who ruled over both for almost a century in the Indian Subcontinent, when they two met head to head in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy. Yet, keeping in mind the head to head meetings in ICC events. India have won 6 out of 6 matches against Pakistan in the World Cup, 5 out of 5 in the World Twenty20 (including a bowl-out after a tie) and 2 out of 4 in the Champions Trophy — 13 out of 15 games so far! So, it was a historic moment for Pakistan when they won against India and obliterated this myth, and it really was a proud moment for each Pakistani. Under such plot, a huge celebration was expected that was followed by worldwide stance on social media, especially social media, fireworks, road blocks by the youth throughout the night here in Pakistan and other countries of the world too. We were happy, I was happy. We celebrated, I celebrated. We danced, I joined them too in the Bhangra. Until it, all turned into something different, something quite drastic, a Frankenstein monster. When sport, that was supposed to bring back the spirit of peace, turned into hatred.

That monster came out as soon as Pakistan won, first sighted on social media, followed by the Indian government to tighten the security of the cricketer’s houses. People broke their televisions, police arrested, without bail, dozens of people who celebrated Pakistan victory over India, in India. When the coaching staff of India resigned from their coaching for whatever reasons, when the media criticized the whole team and was looking for someone to blame it all on, to wipe away the faulty player[s], the people, on the other hand, got emotional. On top of everything, this Sunday was Father’s Day, I hope you get the picture. All I could hear from all sides was, Insults, Immorality, hatred, extremism, violence over a game.

    Yes, I agree that in the past, that is before the partition, the selected few who were deciding the fate of the subcontinent didn’t think that peace would prevail if we live together, and they did what they had to do for the best of all and everything. But that doesn’t specifically mean that what happened in the past, will always remain like the same, that the past cannot be changed. Yes, it cannot be, but we can learn from it. And we witnessed blood seeping into the ground on both sides after the partition and how we tried over the time to wipe the blood, but all these ”peace negotiations” always ended up by throwing oil over the burning fuel. Something that has been happening in the past doesn’t mean that it should happen in the future if it’s not healthy for two or more than two parties. The black were slaves as the pages of the history showed, the Australian were considered an unjust and the society of convicts that ran from the England, but the scenarios changed and history changed with it. Even though it took years, but it did happen because the minority didn’t let go of hope and faith in their ideology that “peace begins with a smile.” We do not have to look towards aristocrats, who put their own interest before anything else, rather it begins from person to person, from within. It takes the blood of a thousand stars to make a daybreak appear.

No religion is greater than humanity. Every day hundreds of new machines are produced in both the countries that are institutionalized by the parents, teachers, and the state of what to hate and what to love. What to choose, what to dispose of. How to live, how to think. Even how to think a thought. The manufacturers learned the same thing from the great-manufactures. Both the societies have been going through some sort of brain washing. How they brainwash the natural instincts? By telling the same thing over and over and over again until the newly manufactured machines lose grip of whats right and whats easy, until they lose the right to think. Some manufacturers are our own creation. We choose them with our own [institutionalized] will. And then they give us different pills to swallow that will cure the illness which in turn creates terror, fear, and extremism on both sides. Can’t anybody see, they’re killing both of us? No wonder why Socrates despised the system of choosing the manufacturers.

The cricket team, no doubt, showed such great enthusiasm on the field, such aggression that really turns the game on which, by no means, is a spiritual essence of any sport. But off the field, players from both the countries from any sport that are played in both countries have such good relations with each other. They may sometimes abuse each other on the field but behind the camera, they play cricket with each other children, have dinner in one another home, such amazing parties, such amazing get together as though they never really separated from each other. The biggest image of the brotherhood between people of both these countries could be seen in the apartments located outside Asia where people from these same two countries, people of different religion; Hindu and Muslim live peacefully. They had such strong bond outside the territory of their hometown that it’s difficult to believe that the country which these people are representing must’ve clashes between them. People just go out of words when they see such love between them. So why is that? Why is there so much hatred for the same people living on the border and love whilst living with each other in the same apartment? Does the air have a different smell in the foreign land which doesn’t belong to their forefathers? Or are they free to make their own choice without being the victim of such oppressed institutionalization?

After the Sunday’s match, just before the presentation ceremony, above picture was taken. I don’t see any hatred, extremism, ego, Akar. All I see is happiness after an exciting game of cricket. It’s all about how each of us perceives the media. It’s how we all are differently affected even living right next door to each other even after 70 years. We always try to differentiate each one of us that how different we are from one another but we never considered that it’s not about the differences, rather it’s about how similar we are, yet we deny this truth. And why do we do this? Because we have a very harsh history (more than half of which is fiction)? Or is it because we have different religions? Different extremism? We always look up to the majority of the people and their views, that is ever so brutal and offensive towards each other that they think that peace would exist only by wiping the rival from the face of the earth, and then think the same things over and over and over again. In fact, the minority of the intellectuals (and those whose minds aren’t institutionalized) always believes in harmony, by talking each other in an appropriate manner, by compromising. The consistent battle of past has ruined many lives and many relations of the present and is going on with full throttle. Blind is the eye that sees sin and error. For the sun doesn’t find darkness wherever it looks. We are two eyes of a beautiful girl.

“This match was about diplomacy.”
“No. It was like other matches.
It was about winning.”