Following the controversy over Daren Sammy’s recent allegations regarding his former teammates at Sunrisers Hyderabad referring to him as ‘Kalu’, the so-called liberals and the social justice warriors in India seems to be eyeing an opportunity to use the controversy to create more faultlines within the society rather than finding solutions.
On Friday, Bollywood entertainer-cum-ultra-left activist Swara Bhasker tried to use the ongoing Daren Sammy controversy to create more divisions within the sporting community after she asked Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) team members to ‘show some decency’, ‘spine’ and apologize to Sammy for using the ‘Kalu’ remark on him despite Daren Sammy himself having pointed out that he was ‘pleased with the clarification’ issued by fellow cricketers.
Earlier this month, Daren Sammy had come up with a post claiming that he was subjected to an alleged racial slur during his days with IPL team Sunrisers Hyderabad. Former West Indies captain Sammy had said that his SRH teammates had called him ‘Kalu’ and claimed that he only came to know about the racist tone attached to the word after watching a show by Hasan Minhaz recently.
In a video posted on his Instagram account, Sammy had asked his teammates to explain themselves or apologise.
The allegations of racism by Daren Sammy against fellow cricketers, which came to the fore during the ongoing George Floyd racism incident, had fuelled a new controversy with people across the spectrum voicing their opinion on the issue.
Daren Sammy ends controversy by putting out a clarification
Following his allegations, Daren Sammy, on Friday morning, also put out another tweet stating that he has had an ‘interesting conversation’ with one of the players from Sunrisers Hyderabad, to whom he referred to as his ‘brother’. He stated that he was now looking to not focus on the negatives but educate others about racism.
He also clarified that the fellow teammate had reassured him that he had operated from a place of love when he had referred to him as ‘Kalu’.
Daren Sammy’s statements that he got reassurances from the ex-teammates, however, did not keep certain social justice warriors at peace. Swara Bhasker, who seemed to have found another opportunity to stoke conflict amidst the teammates, tried to further provoke Daren Sammy.
Despite Sammy’s confirmation, Bhaskar tries to provoke him against SRH
Bhaskar, however, was not pleased by the news report that Sammy is pleased after a conversation with a former teammate over the issue. She took to Twitter to demand Daren Sammy not to move on from the incident and questioned the former West Indies captain for his comment that he had operated from a place of love. She insinuated that he should not accept the explanation by the players and should keep demanding an official apology. She asked whether Sammy would take the ‘place of love’ explanation if somebody had used the ‘N’ word on him.
While equating the nickname ‘Kalu’ to the ‘N’ word, Bhaskar here is deliberately ignoring the facts that it is a rather common surname in India and though it literally means a person with dark skin, it is not necessarily a racial slur in the usual context. In Odisha, even Lord Jagannath is called ‘Kalia’ by the people, referring to his black complexion.
On the contrary, the ‘N’ word in western countries comes with the historical context of slavery and social and judicial atrocities against the blacks.
Trying to create a further divide between the former teammates, Bhaskar demanded an apology from SRH players and asked them to ‘show a spine’. She also tagged Indian cricketers Ishant Sharma and other players of SRH and tried to shame them despite Daren Sammy clarifying on the issue.
Replying to Swara Bhasker, Daren Sammy took to Twitter to tell her about using such opportunities to educate people about racism so that it does not happen again rather than making a big issue out it.
“Don’t get me wrong I’m not condoning what was done/said. I’m saying let’s use this opportunity to educate each other so it doesn’t happen again. One can only apologize if he/she feels wrong about something. I’m confident & proud to be black. That will never change,” Sammy replied.
Opportunism of Social Justice Warriors
Swara Bhasker’s desperation to drag the issue despite Daren Sammy’s insistence to seek a reconciliation only exposed the intentions of these ultra-left wing activists to create a ruckus out of a non-issue.
It is also pertinent to note that the term ‘Kalu’, which Sammy alleged to be a racist term, may not always have a racist connotation. In a country like India, where nicknames are more commonly used by friends and family than the real names, it is rather normal for people to refer someone by a nickname, as Sammy himself referred to it as from the ‘place of love’.
However, using such an incident to create a new controversy by self-proclaimed social justice warriors of the country like Swara Bhasker only proves that these ultra-left wing ‘activists’ do not intend to provide a solution to any specific issue but rather try to add more fuel to it in a hope that these conflicts could be used to create more faultlines in the society.
What is important here, is the distinct difference in the attitude towards an issue. While Sammy seems to have followed a healthy, positive approach of speaking to teammates and allowing them to clarify over any potential misunderstandings, with an intention to create awareness, Bhaskar, who is nowhere related to the incident, just wants to stoke the issue further to generate more negativity.