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Cricket's over, what about Kashmir?
May 06, 2004
Even Priyanka Gandhi had a 'heart-warming' experience in Pakistan. Her visit became yet another feather in the cap of 'cricket diplomacy.'
Two nations whose moral fibre is still soaking in the bloodbath of Partition and the four wars that have followed it (not to mention daily border skirmishes), were brought to a crescendo of excitement and friendship by the game of cricket.
Even googlies like detractors crying 'shame' at the political mobilisation of cricket could not stop this train to Pakistan. Everyone in both these nations, or at least it seemed, wanted to see this as a train that would take us somewhere good and the only boundary to these efforts was the one on the cricket field.
Of course, there were some minor glitches -- like Rahul Dravid's ill-timed call when Sachin was just a wee 6 runs short of a double-ton (with Javed Miandad adding fuel to the fire) and allegations of match-fixing from several quarters. The diplomatic pitch was going strong indeed and both sides were running away with the laurels of potential and long overdue peace in the region, even cross-border amity.
But there is still the sticky wicket of Kashmir that has everyone from the hardcore mullahs to the rabid Hindutvavaadis stumped. That question is being ignored for a while, it is resting in the pavilion of Indo-Pak politics, but may emerge Yuvraj-style and pose the question again: 'Well, what about me? Where do I fit in?'
The cricket season is over. Now what? Shall we all just eat our share of this pie and then run for cover? Wouldn't that be silly of us? We need to grapple, and grapple now, before it slips forever from our hands, with the following question: 'Are we a nation of sensation-mongers or do we actually want some real answers to some hard questions?'
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'Cricket ain't gonna fix nothing,' as our Yank brothers would say.
I wish we could outsource these troubles but since India is all set to be the world's outsourcing destination, our problems are here to stay and ours to fix.