Indian media has in the past brought us many gems of reporting. When Yakub Memon was hanged, The Indian Express promptly blared out “And They Hanged Him”, giving out the Pakistani, or rather the Terrorist point of view, which was well reflected in this tweet:
I have fixed the homepage of Indian Express pic.twitter.com/NxH00x59se
— Rahul Roushan (@rahulroushan) July 31, 2015
Coming to cricket, sociologist Ashis Nandy had remarked during the last ICC world cup that:
Winning the World Cup might just make India’s macho and hyper masculine nationalism more intense…the fear is that majoritarian nationalism will become more aggressive
Now, Indian media has raised (or lowered) the bar, just ahead of the T20 World Cup clash between India and Pakistan. This time India Today took the lead and presented us with this article:
If one were to read this headline without knowing the publication, one would have easily assumed this was a creation of the Pakistani media, but no, it is a sample of what Indian media churns, and in this case, a news house with “India” in its name itself.
Not be left behind, NDTV has also joined in, with an opinion piece which borderlines on being satire. According to the writer, “India-Pak Match Tonight Is Key To PM Modi’s Policy”. Yes, NDTV columnists believe that Prime Minister Modi determines his foreign policy based on what happens in a T20 match. Cricket purists could also object to this deification of the lowest form of cricket.
The hilarity doesn’t end here, the author adds:
If India beats Pakistan tonight, March 19, at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, it would have avenged itself for the Pathankot attacks.
If Pakistan beats India tonight, it would have survived to fight another day – to tell the world that notwithstanding its decades-old affliction with terrorism et al, it is still in the game to becoming a normal country, and sports is one sure-shot way of getting there.
Seriously? A cricket match avenges the martyrdom of our soldiers at the hands of Pakistan sponsored terrorists? Can a sporting even be compared to a terror attack? Could Obama have said “We beat Afghanistan in Basketball, so Osama can live”? This is the intellectual bankruptcy facing our nation today.
Further, the author writes that winning a match, would mean Pakistan could go on a to be a normal country! Yes, a T20 match suddenly is a panacea for all ills a nation faces! Perhaps Greece should play a T20 match with its arch rival and hope for its country to become normal again.
The author also shows concern for the fragile, “BJP built” stadium at Dharmasala, which refused to host the match:
Dharamsala’s loss has been Kolkata’s gain, of course. But Dharamsala – a tiny Himalayan town, better known for the peace and love emitted by the Dalai Lama’s presence than its cricketing stadium built by BJP leader Anurag Thakur – should never have been given a T20 face-off between the two cricketing giants in the first place.
There’s much too much friction in the air when these two sub-continental nuclear powers meet. Dharamsala would never have been able to handle the stress.
And quickly follows up with why Kolkata on the other hand, is well suited to host the match:
Kolkata, on the other hand, is a past master at handling the whimsies of powerful men and women. It was at the heart of Empire for more than a century, until the Empire shifted to Delhi in 1911. More recently, it has learnt to deal with the caprices of Trinamool leader and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
We sincerely urge all commentators to extend their pitch report to a “city-report” stating how a location may or may not be ideal for a cricket match based on the local politicians, their temperaments, and of course, whether the stadium was built by BJP or not!
Finally, she comes to the core issue:
In reality, the cricket match is a test case for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Pakistan policy.
If, indeed, Modi follows up his own policy, the T20 cricket series should be followed by bilateral cricket matches, which the Pakistanis offered to play in the UAE, acknowledging that their own country was far too unsafe for foreigners.
The next natural steps would be to relax the visa regimes, allowing tourists to travel, and to open up trade between the two countries. As the roads open, not only across Wagah and Attari in Punjab, but also across Munabao and Khokhrapar in Rajasthan as well as the Line of Control in Kashmir, Indians and Pakistanis will slowly get reacquainted with each other.
We are thankful of the author that she didn’t extend the above logic and go on to state that this T20 match will eventually lead to unification of India and Pakistan, thereby realizing the Akhand Bharat dream of RSS, hence proving that Modi is a RSS stooge and this entire World Cup is an RSS conspiracy!