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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Absurd Mix Of Religion And Cricket

If anything the recent 29 run loss at Mohali, of our Cricket team must serve as a sign for many in our hyper religious society. Some of our own, shamelessly run any and everything in this "religious blender" to play with the emotions of our naïve masses.

The SMS's on mobile phones were being circulated requesting the recipients to recite a certain "Ayat e Kareema" for Pakistan's win, is just a tip of the iceberg. The religious leaders suggesting a "tasbeeh" and "duaey haajat" for a potential win. The country coming to a total stand still and special prayers being held for our team's win, some how beg some collective thinking.

This scribe by the grace of Almighty is a Muslim. However the scribe is of the opinion, that religion and sports are two different things and need not to be mixed with one other. Because one thing is for sure, religion is not a game. But some in our so called religious circles, were hell bent upon making the religion a game. It always suits their agenda. Keep the masses under the opium of religiosity, and take their ability to think independently away forever, is their goal.

We were reminded of the major armageddon being played at Mohali, between "Haqq" and "Baattil." We were assured that "Haqq" always triumphs over "Baatil", no matter what. We were reminded of our major battles of the past, where we were supposedly bruised and battered, yet we were able to emerge as victors, only because of our faith. The irony is that these emotions are peddled on a constant basis, at every juncture of our lives, Cricket or otherwise.

The entire country came to a stand still, including our local governments declaring it a holiday. The channels were flooded with experts from all over, the columns were filled with commentaries and the sentiments were running on full throttle. Heck even our "Independent Judiciary", took time off to indulge in some fun. There is nothing wrong with the frenzy, but when it gets to go over the sense and sensibilities, it becomes an issue.

Either our prayers were lacking the requisite purity or we were totally blind sided by our emotions. It appears that our passionate and often senseless emotions impacted our rational thinking. The people who totally mortgaged their brains and fell for such antics, must not doubt their faith or deity. It is not their faith, that was on the pitch of Mohali, but the skill set of their players was on the line.

Cricket much like any other sport is a game of skills and strategy. Undoubtedly, the Indian team had set a significant target of 260 runs. Having the home turf advantage and playing with better skills, tact and strategy, they were able to bring Pakistan down.
Why is it such a big deal, to accept and give credit to the Indian team, where it rightfully deserves. Our egos tend to get in our way. We tend to bring our faith, and our reasons from parting from India, in the game as well. Whatever transpired in 1947 is history, the more important aspect is to determine, how history will be written from 2011 onwards.

Indian PM Manmohan Singh's invitation to his counterpart, PM Gilani to watch the match live, was a welcome gesture. Of course it sparked a whole new discussion of the infamous, "Cricket Diplomacy", if it means anything. Looking back at the track record of Zia and Musharraf, one could disregard it with absolute ease. The PM took his entourage to cash in on the "Mohali Mania", to restart the stalled dialogue with the neighbors. As anticipated, it was a good opportunity for the photos, some hand shakes and news blips. Who in their right mind thought, that 63 plus years of grievances and issues, could potentially be resolved with a significant break through in 90 minutes of discussion.

Pakistan played with full coordinated effort and did put up a great fight, which of course is highly commendable. The squad under Afridi with such a herculean lead was able to perform with tact and effort. The low run rate per over, is what really became the reason for our defeat.

So did Bhagwan get to triumph over the Almighty ALLAH? Perhaps not, it is the better sportsmen who got to win. Winning and losing is all part of the game. In the end, its all a game. If that's the case then Bhagwan must have been on a major high, when India trounced Lanka in the final by merely 3 runs. Again, it was not a match of ALLAH, Jesus or Bhagwan. India deserved to win, based on their performance and that's about it.

The take away from this episode for general public is to focus on the strategy, skills and tact in the future. Next time when we are in a showdown of similar nature, we need to sit back and relax and chant this to refresh our brains, "the best team gets to win, no matter what." And yes regardless of what their faith or nationality.

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