It's just not cricket...or anything else...

You Muslim? Then you better get the Oscar award or win matches for your country or do something…or else…

A sick little report appeared in the papers today. No one would think it is sick. They would talk about glory of secularism. No one would want to puke at a subhead that read: “Religion Took A Backseat While Celebrating Rahman, Pathans’ Heroics”

Refusing to get mired in hatred, Rahman chose the path of love and went on to win the biggest cinema award in the world. Just a fortnight before the tune created by the Mozart from Madras became a ballad for many Indians who will hum it for a long time, the Pathan brothers—Irfan and Yusuf—got together in Colombo in the dying stages of a T20 match when the dice was heavily loaded against India. They unleashed scintillating shots to help India claw back from the jaws of defeat to stand head high on the victory podium.

What the hell does this chosen the path of love mean? Even terrorists do not admit they have chosen the path of hatred. Are we being patronising and oh-so-kind that a Mussalman, that too a convert, managed to give up the thought of hatred? And what if the Pathan brothers had not managed to score in a match that was admittedly “loaded against India”?

This sort of reportage in a mainstream publication like The Times of India makes you wonder about all the educated elite and their liberalism. Here goes…

So what is your pick? Rahman or Pathan brothers? No doubt, they are the real heroes. For, they brought smiles and tears of joy in the eyes of millions—Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs. True, none of us thought about the religion professed by Rahman and the Pathan brothers. Who cares, they made us all proud.

Great. Now you can pick and choose your miyan bhai, go shopping for him (where are the ‘hers’?), even poke and prod to see if it is in good condition and will do you proud. And don’t you lie that you did not think about their religion because you would not have submitted this nauseating report that got published.

Do we say similar things when Harbhajan Singh manages a feat like this on the field; we aren’t even talking about the rest of the Hindus? How many Hindu, Sikh, Christian Indian musicians have managed to be awarded at international fora and been branded for their religion? (Zubin Mehta does not count and he is always “aapro (our) Zubin”, a belongingness bestowed rather than a grudging acceptance.)

And listen up. There are millions of Muslims and not all get the opportunity or possess the talent or the looks that will make you proud. But before expecting that of others, what about you? What do you have? Look inside your house and see if you have mirrors in the first place, forget an image. Then tell us about what you want from Muslims.

We have as much of a right to fail and not be up on the marquee as the rest of you.

- - -

On cricket, I have just managed to access news on the firing in Lahore on Sri Lankan players and the death of some people.

I do not understand why it is always soft targets that are chosen to make a point – by terrorists and politicians. What has Sri Lanka done to Pakistan to deserve this? What have these sportsmen done?

Am sure there are analyses poring in; it is too early to conjecture much. Could it be the Taliban? Or political rivals trying to make international headlines? Or…

There will be the usual condemning and looking into the matter.

“Uneasy calm” there is. Why have we stopped being angry?


  1. fv, indeed a sick report, how could TOI sponsor such report; are they too in this 'hate them' game to improve their readership.


  2. FV,

    Muslim achievers are toys to be put on exhibition and then rave about how entertaining they are.

    Why the hell can't people just take Muslims for themselves without bothering what their religion is?

    How significant was it that Chandu orde was a Christian or Farokh Engineer a Parsi? Nobody ever mentioned it

  3. FV:

    The anger is impotent. We don't know what to do with our anger or anguish. It is all getting bottled up and one day, it will explode (or implode!).

    A sickening report in TOI nevertheless, that would gladden the hearts of the likes of Advani, Modi and Thackeray. Its a shame that this country and society has stooped to these lows.

    I feel helpless!

  4. I appreciate your desire for acceptance more than just a condescending approval.

    But we humans are always preconditioned you by your experience and other by their. Please first accept the limitations of human experience and judgment.

    There is enough done by some members of every community including Muslim Sikh Hindus to represent their differences and superiority and so called individuality.

    Which is totally opposite to what you want but.....Please understand and give others a break..we need to live in peace

  5. who's the author? I'd like to give him a mouthful.. I agree with your point.. Lets just stop thinking about people's religion, caste, creed, colour. Laud him or chastize him for his deeds, but not for his community!
    TOI is a piece of crap paper.. don't know why people read it in the first place.

  6. Z:

    Do you even know that TOI, in the initial stages, had stopped carrying the hearings of the Srikrishna Commission?


    I seem to have missed out on that - not yet an exhibit, l;eave alone considered entertaining :-)


    Helplessness does not exclude anger. I would take the impotency rather than indifference. And we have to look at the bigotry beyond the saffron lot...


    If "living in peace" means quietly taking it, then this isn't the place for it. The more we stay silent, we tacitly accept this sort of nonsense.

    Individual achievements - and even communal achievements - have their place within the groups, but not at the national level.

    I refuse to play ball with those that can't bat straight...


    The author is a mere cog in the wheel and a part of the degeneration of 'intellectual' thought.

    Why do people read the TOI? Because our system has to deal with "crap" everyday. Usually, first thing in the morning...sort of as cleansing process.

  7. Hi FV,

    Yes mainstream Indian newspapers/channels ( specially the online versions) are pathetic and also dangerous. They keep on harping on the things that they want others to believe.Why is it important to mention the religion in such cases? Is it to showcase that -see we have Muslim achievers also! But yes we have, and we had before also. When Azhar was captain,I remember, for me (us - my friends at least) he was just the captain. But now when the Pathan brothers score and bring home the 20-20 cup there is this realization, hammered into us, that they achieved this for India in spite of being Muslims, in spite of being from Gujrat! This thing has somehow crept into our subconsciousness, though it embarrasses me whenever I feel that way. I blame the news media for this "loss of innocence".

    I remember in 2001, after 9/11, there was this panel discussion on NDTV, where Rajdeep was conducting this program, and Javed Akhtar was there, and he was asked to explain the terrorist attack and defend his religion. I remember me and my friends were quite outraged at this .. it was like how can you even ask Javed Akhtar, an Indian, to discuss about terrorists attacking a distant land! What was the correlation? But nobody raised this question then, and this slowly turned into a "global war" on terror. And now everything is made to seem related.

    And after this Lahore attack, I again see Rajdeep gleefully asking one SriLankan player if this is the end of cricket in Pakistan! It's as if he is rejoicing! Why??
    Shouldn't he be worried that with our porous border and pathetic security system something similar can be enacted in India? Do you have to score a point everytime with Pakistan or Pak media?

    PS: I wrote a long comment... pls feel free to edit it!

  8. fv
    This is RAW, no one else.

  9. RBaruah:

    The electronic media runs a kangaroo court, especially where communal issues are concerned. I have also noticed channels that have an arrangement with American networks have altered their modus operandi...

    I haven't been watching TV much, so missed out on the Rajdeep-Sri Lankan player dialogue. Seriously, this is ridiculous.

    I have always had problems with this 'moderate Muslim' being brought out for airing...and of course if you don't toe the line you are a 'Pakistani' and these chaps are the 'real Indians'. Only because they are achievers according to the standards set by the majority.

    PS: I cannot edit comments and would not - I enjoy reading others!

    PPS: The abusers just don't get published anymore.


    RAW or ripe, this time 'aam' se nahin 'gutli' se matlab...that is, we need to get to the seed, not just the fruit.


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