CHURUMURI POLL: Semifinal bigger than final?

It is just the semi-finals of the cricket World Cup, but India’s response to its last-four meeting with Pakistan at Mohali on March 30 shows a supposed superpower’s silly Pakistan Obsession. Newspapers and news channels report every drip of news about the teams, about the venue, about the fans and about the match as if the two countries are meeting for war—minus the shooting.

There is the artificial injection of diplomacy into the proceedings with an otherwise soporific prime minister Manmohan Singh suddenly waking up to invite his Pakistani counterpart to come witness the “clash”. They are supposed to watch the match together, but we are dutifully informed that there will be an informal meeting followed by a formal one, with diplomats meeting on the side.

The response from the other side is no less frenzied. There is a wild clamour for visas as if apocalypse is the day after. Long festering issues, like the release of prisoners, are suddenly fasttracked with the kind of mindlessness that escapes both countries in peacetime.

All this means just one thing: that when India and Pakistan meet on a cricket field, there is more to the batting, bowling and fielding than meets the eye. Pumped-up patriotism meets carefully marinated prejudice. Suddenly, the eleven men in blue are at once ambassadors of and warriors for peace, lugging not just their cricket coffins, but also their nation’s ambitions, aspirations and animosities.

The simple word on the street in both countries is: it is OK if we lose the finals but we must win the semi-finals.

Obviously, there is a background to such primal emotions: the memories of Partition, the wounds of wars over Kashmir, Bangladesh and Kargil, and the attack on Bombay. Still, there are questions to be asked. Like, is such maddening frenzy such a good thing, either for cricket or for diplomacy? Like, can 100 overs of artifically manufactured excitement paper over 64 years of organically engineered hatred?

Like, cross-border terrorism notwithstanding, can India really put all its eggs in the Pakistan basket? Like, should we expect 11 young (and ageing young) men—whose basic skills lie in hurling, hitting or halting five-and-a-half ounces of leather and cork—to do what politicians, bureaucrats, armymen, businessmen and diplomats can’t do, won’t do or are not allowed to do, which is act maturely and strive towards peace and prosperity on the subcontinent?

Like, is all this pressure such a good thing for either Dhoni or Afridi, and their boys?

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6 Responses to “CHURUMURI POLL: Semifinal bigger than final?”

  1. Sanjeeva Says:

    YES, YES, YES, India must smash Pak even if it loses Finals! India has never lost to Pak in World Cup matches so far.

  2. twistleton Says:

    And here i was bemoaning the lack of commonality betw India and Pak :D… Idiocy has no nationality…

    artificial or not, dialogue is required, what better way than cricket…

    Sporting glory directly translates as political plus points, because sporting heroics = greatness and politicians would love some of that greatness to rub off on them.

    The pressure WILL be on the boys in blue and green, for other reasons than cricket; they will deserve honour if they pull off even a facade of cameraderie with each other.

    As for the result of the match itself – beware of the underdog…

  3. the colonel Says:

    Count me in as an Idiot Par-Excellence (IPE).

    Its the IPE only who rescue you from the horrofic consequences of Pol thinking, Churning, and the so called diplomacy.

    The IPE will go bonkers over Mohalli.

    And it is a short autorikshaw ride back to Pak for the greens.

    Win or Lose the IPE will be back on the 31st.

  4. karihaida Says:

    American presidents use war to divert attention, our Indian PMs use cricket match to divert attention :) This match has become a godsend for MMS.

  5. Faldo Says:

    Agree with karihaida and twistleton. Politicians on both sides of the border can’t resist using cricket to save their flagging fortunes.

  6. the colonel Says:

    one more from IPE and this from gujarat.

    1. The Stands draped end to end with the Indian Flag ( A lot of hawkers made a living).

    2. Resounding cries of GANAPATI BAPA MOREYA.

    3. The Less reverantial ” ausies suck”

    4. The Official Scorer. opens his books with a loud Jai Hind.

    5 The show goes on.

    In english there is a word “ROMANTIC” the punjabi equivalent is ” Jappia Pappia”. Which is better.

    ***

    after tomorrows match all of you are invited to my home

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