Pseudo-Nationalism of India and Pakistan Based on Cricket


As human beings, we all love games and sporting events. It is the part of our evolutionary history. The gaming must have started when we competed to beat our friends and foes in targeting various objects with a stone or stick or running faster than fellow human beings in a bid to capture something. The game must have also created a social atmosphere and forged new friendships and perhaps new enemies. The “sociology of games” is an interesting topic in itself.

As we progressed on the human evolutionary scale, we saw complex game emerging, which sometimes needed multiple players, but some of the game are reduced to only two sides. We know that the strategists spent hours and hours cogitating over the game of Chess and its variations like German Chess. The western strategists spend hours and hours thinking through “Go”: the Chinese Chess which is simple in moves, but more complex in terms of strategies and futuristic planning. The westerners would like to penetrate the eastern way of thinking. Go was the most popular game in the east. Then we have poker, where the human psychology is brought into the play, with partial and impartial information, to maximize one’s gain.

Games are interesting in understanding human psychology and various way of thinking and responding to the situation. Actually, the games are at the heart of every human interaction. The games are played between the diplomats and between the countries. The games are played between the spouses. And understanding the nature of games have given us at least the world peace for some time. Perhaps, the greatest understanding came from what we call in Game Theory, Mutually Agreed Destruction (MAD), which became the basis of START I and START II treaties between the nuclear powers.

India and Pakistan have relative nationalism. In a strange way, their nationalisms are coupled with each other almost in dialectical ways. The two countries try to forge their nationalism in opposition to each other and the establishments in both the countries try to define each other through each other. Compared with Pakistan, India is much bigger a nation with a different political system and much-celebrated diversity, geographical and cultural.

Pakistan is the small nation state in terms of its population and geography. It has its own problems of survival. India has its own sets of problems to address. Culturally, these two countries are much more similar than one can imagine. Hindi and Urdu are the same languages except for the script. Both the countries are fond of Bollywood movies and Bollywood music, and yes, Bollywood gossips!!

They share a long land border with each other. If you remove the artificial barbwire, no one can tell where Pakistan ends and India begins. They share rivers and mountains. They have shared history. But the relative nationalism that both these countries advocate destroys their common people whose main worries are Roti (bread), Kapada (Clothing), and Makaan (housing).

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Most of the precious human and physical resources are wasted by the constant threat of war that establishments on both the sides are so keen to fuel for the political gains. A remarkable political novel “A case of exploding Mangoes” by Muhammad Hanif shows us the state of Pakistan and a lot is written about it. India is going through a lot of turbulence. The established powers benefit because of this turmoil and turbulence.

Indian nation state stands alone on the basis of its constitutional framework. India does not need any nation to define its nationhood. We have strong foundational values of liberty, equality, and fraternity which are the core human values and values on which a true society can emerge. But these values do not invoke the rage and animalistic emotions which are invoked by the sight of an “enemy”.

We want to damn and slam our enemies if we are living on the plane of animalistic consciousness which offers us no choice, but to “fight or flight”. In this binary, we do get caught and forget all the possible options that “human intelligence” is capable of finding. Certainly, many possibilities exist between India and Pakistan to help each other to become good neighbors.

After Pakistan acquired “Atomic” bomb, it is clear that any war escalated to the destructive level will destroy both the countries. It is like North Korea-South Korea standoff. It is going to be increasingly easy for nations to acquire destructive weapons and the race for mutual destruction will be accelerated if it is not checked by diplomatic and discussion ways.

If India loses Pakistan in the game of Cricket, it is a secondary matter. It is not the test of one’s love for her country. The primary concern is: Can we win the heart of our fellow neighbor? India has a long history of winning the world through peace and love. History is a witness to it. It needs a change in the attitude, a change in the way we think about others, and most importantly, a change in the way we look at ourselves.

If we follow the strategy of Babasaheb Ambedkar, who was perhaps the greatest strategists who brought radical changes in the society by peaceful methods without violence, the strategy of “Metta”. If we underscore every game that we play with this attitude of “As I am, so they are”, every game that we play will be a stepping stone to enhanced freedom for both the sides. I know that this is an ideal, but this ideal is as important as the “warped realism” that we so fondly accept without knowing its implications that we all perish if we push it beyond the limits.

Author – Mangesh Dahiwale, Human Rights Activist

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