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World Cup India-Pakistan match: Who’s going to survive?

Saturday, 26 March 2011 - 12:11am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
The semifinal between the bitter rivals will be a paradigm for patriotism.

What’s wrong with Pakistan playing against India in a semifinal at Mohali in the World Cup 2011? It isn’t going to be restricted to cricket alone; I should like to approach the question in a circuitous way by examining the possible reactions equally hysterical in victory or defeat.

I must acknowledge winning the match versus India and considering the magnitude of the event, a semifinal of the World Cup would surely run its course and order could begin to emerge from the chaos that Pakistan’s cricket had already been before their ascendancy started beating Sri Lanka and Australia in the Group ‘A’ matches; remember losing to New Zealand wasn’t acceptable; what would happen if it happens against India?

The Pakistan team, not the 180 million inflation-hit people of the country are ready to believe but the orthodox try acquainting that still their team has a lot to be desired, and they need to continue having a full agenda.

Nevertheless, the sequence of wins against Kenya, Sri Lanka, Canada, Zimbabwe and Australia and the West Indies in the quarterfinal at Mirpur, Dhaka were all-absorbing as they have come during the period of turmoil. This allows me to return my attention to the problems of playing against India in the semifinals. It is going to be truly global in scope.

Defeat is a fact of life, but our society resists accepting it as such. People go to great lengths to deny losing to India or to ignore it. To make matters worse, both cricket and losing to India, if it happens could come under ideologically motivated attack.

I must admit , the advocates of Pakistan playing against India have exploited the tolerance for alternative hypothesis by claiming equal time for their ‘sportsmanship’ and ‘liberalism’ theories, and a typical Pakistani on the streets wouldn’t really accept such a result, you just can’t capitalise on the striving for better racial and political balance or diversity, thereby introducing incense and hatred if it happens, or celebrate if Pakistan wins; they just can’t imagine how important is the quality of cricket; playing against India is like playing for pride and it’s a war.

We must distinguish between constructive and punitive interventions through cricket. There shouldn’t be any conflict between constructive intervention, exemplified by the Pakistan team and the principle of national sovereignty because the countries concerned accept it voluntarily. A doctrine could emerge to justify punitive intervention.

In Pakistan, cricket is a coherent nationalistic tool with a typical philosophy. It is logically, as well as emotionally compelling. Pakistan isn’t really a nation unless until it is pitted against India. So many wanted to avoid playing India in the semifinal not out of fear of losing but primarily because of the aftermath; the players will not have the right to existence, since the society hasn’t been able to get their minds out of the prison of left prejudices.

I assure you, if Shahid Afridi picks Sachin Tendulkar, none would be commenting on the drift that could undo world’s best batsmen it would be Pakistan having an edge over India. Tendulkar would be representing India’s flag and Afridi wrapped in Pakistan colours; it wouldn’t just be an ordinary match; the semifinal between Pakistan and India wouldn’t just be about cricket, it would be linked to the wars in 1948, 1965, 1971, the Kargil insurgence and the conflicts at Siachin.

There isn’t any procedure to define the ‘nation’, subdividing ‘nationalism’ into abstract types, and construct arguments for each type-and every step of the way, to make unwarranted assumptions guaranteeing that the arguments all fail and allowing that nationalism would be rejected if, by any means, Pakistan loses to India.

Pakistan-India semifinal in the World Cup 2011, first of all, the invocation of the result-doctrine would open up a whole can of philosophical worms as to what ramifications would be. The educated might well be blithely indifferent towards, or even ignorant of, these all-important questions.

Playing against India, may well it only be on a cricket field, the event could obliterate the distinction between nationality and the nation-state. Pakistan cricketers wouldn’t exist if they do not win; they would be worshipped if they triumph; I feel such matches are delineation of universal homogeneity; I believe we have to admit these unless we are ignorant fools and interestingly, we would become if India ascends and Pakistan flails.

I must delineate that the Pakistan-India semifinal at Mohali wouldn’t just be an ordinary cricket match, it would have impact in different tangents like the ramifications could be aggregative, societal, naturalist, subjectivist, political, territorial, cultural etc. Each tangent would isolate one constitutive element of nationality and treat it as the whole. If Pakistan loses, I tell you it would just like be a man having his leg cut and then blamed for not being able to walk.

Consider cricket, the paradigmatic criterion of nationality. Winning against India becomes important part of identity of an average Pakistani and that’s why ‘sportsmanship’ theory becomes utter nonsense whenever the two teams are pitted against each other. The India-Pakistan match would hold the players embodying and reinforcing the pride of their nation; it should be both ways; presumably Indians would be as intolerant losing to Pakistan as we are, still there could be a difference in hysterical and reactive responses. Whatever, it should be a cracker of a match.

I end by making an argument that regardless of the result of the semifinal between Pakistan and India, tolerance and acceptance of the result with polity within; however, it is going to be a mirror image of what we feel here in Pakistan and there in India. ‘We the people secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity’.


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