Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pakistanis not welcome!!!

Two things have been irking me for some time now, and both of them are in some ways related to each other. Firstly, the hullabaloo about Pakistani cricketers not being part of IPL; and secondly, the Aman Ki Asha campaign that The Times of India has been running (it is an event, I’m told. I do not read the squalid little rag). There have been these so-called broad-minded and accommodating voices that have been talking about both and my narrow mind feels they are irritating noises, not talk.

First, let me talk about the so-called injustice meted out to the Pakistani cricketers by not allowing them to be part of the IPL. Many have said that it was wrong and unfair, and that politics and sport do not mix. I have no clue which world they live in, that they make statements like these. Politics and sports have mixed since quite some time now. Through sports, statements are made about the political scenario.

When South Africa was banned from sport it was for political reasons, apartheid. The players suffered because of this ban, and I am not too sure if all the players that did suffer were perpetrators of apartheid, or racist. But, as a country South Africa went wrong and was ostracised from sport, thereby rendering the sport buffs slightly poorer for the fact that some wonderful sportsmen from that country could not display their talents to a world audience. Barry Richards is an example. And had the ban continued for another 10 years, we’d not have seen Jonty Rhodes and Allan Donald set the field alight.

Even if we look back at 1936, the Berlin Olympics, Hitler allowed only the people of the Aryan race to compete for Germany – for it was his belief that they were racially superior. We all know Hitler’s role in world politics. And closer, to 2008, the Olympics at China was taken up by the Chinese to make a statement to the world that China is the new super-power. This statement was made by the way the Olympics were organized and due to the fact that China won the highest number of gold medals.

Well, now will the pundits stop talking about politics and sport not going hand-in-hand? India’s relations with Pakistan are at its lowest ebb. Why should Indian franchise owners fund players from the country that funds terrorists to conduct 26/11 in India? Also, they do not know if the Pakistani players would be given a visa to play here. Most importantly, it is the owners’ bloody money and they have the right to not spend it on Pakistani players.

The Indian government has said that it has no role to play in what transpired. Yes, that is true. They did not have the guts to say that a country that is full of terrorists has no right to play any sport in India. They should have disallowed the Pakistan hockey team from participating in the World Cup too. Pakistan is a country where terrorists were allowed to attack a bus carrying Sri Lankan cricketers, it is an anarchy where democracy is a sham. What stops India from stating that Pakistanis will not be allowed to participate in any sport, or cultural programs, until they get their act right? It happened for South Africa and apartheid, didn’t it? Once SA got their act together they came right back in to the fold. The same could happen for Pakistan.

Which now brings me to Aman Ki Asha. Well, how can we hope for peace when Pakistan has shown no urgency to bring the perpetrators of 26/11 to book? How can we accept peace with a country that houses Dawood Ibrahim? Some will say that ‘that is for the politicians, citizens want peace’. That is rubbish. The 26/11 terrorists, and other terrorists, are treated as heroes in Pakistan. So much for the common people there wanting peace with India.

Yes, the Pakistanis are the T20 World Champions and have some very good players in their ranks. But this slap in their face should read as a statement to the Pakistani policy makers, and to the world, that till Pakistan gets its act right on terrorism and extremism their sportsmen and artists have no hope of any sort of participation. No asha of any sort of aman.

P.S. And TOI should refrain from such canard like Aman Ki Asha and do what they are best at. Reporting on the front page about mundane Bollywood stuff, passing them off for stories of national importance. At least, they would not be making any bigger fools of themselves than what they have been able to manage so far.