On 24th September, 2007 at the Wanderers, India and Pakistan faced each other in the T20 Finals. Ramadan was on in those days and the match was on a Friday so the Pakistani players believed with complete religious fervour that they will be the “rightful” winners.
In the pre-match interview, the captain Shoaib Malik expressed that as well unambiguously. Since it was Ramadan, he said, his team will surely win and the team was ready to fight it with their lives (jee jaan eek kar denge) [as if it was a religious war]. Semantics betrayed a sense of Jihadi mindset except it was on the cricket field.
The match happened. India scored 157/5 in 20 overs and in the Pakistani innings, there was a time when it needed just 6 runs from the last 4 balls. In the last over, the last wicket was left and Misbah was at the crease. Joginder Singh was bowling and the first ball was a wide ball, next one was a dot ball and third one, Misbah hit a six. On the fourth, Misbah attempted a paddle scoop but was caught by Sreesanth at short fine leg. Pakistan were all out for 152.
Very keenly contested match indeed. But unfortunately the “gods” really didn’t work things out for Pakistan as they had suggested pre-match.
Shoaib Malik was being asked by Ravi Shastri post match about his reaction. Shoaib thanked the “Muslims” all over the world and apologized for having lost to India.
Lot of heckles were raised about this remark after that. Some of those who opposed brought out two points:
1. There were more Muslims in India than Pakistan
2. There were two Muslim players in the Indian team – Irfan Pathan and Yousuf Pathan. Irfan, incidentally was the “Man of the Match”
When asked in an interview Shah Rukh however took another view – that of suggesting what Shoaib’s motives and thoughts were, as if he knew how to read the inner thoughts.
Bhupendra Chaubey: Then how do you respond to what had happened at the T20 World Cup finals? You were there. The Pakistani team lost the match to India, and the Pakistani captain, Shoaib Malik, at the podium said “My apologies to the entire Muslim community across the world”. You think he went out of line there?
Shah Rukh Khan: No, I don’t think so. I think, you know, because he comes from a nation which is Islamic, in a large sense, and I think he meant a lot of people must have given him duas, and when somebody gives you dua, he assumes they must be Muslims, and he must have said it as a way of speaking. I don’t think he meant to segregate Muslims and Christians and Hindus and say this was a match between Islam and Hinduism. I don’t think that.
Bhupendra Chaubey: Because it created a lot of controversy…
Shah Rukh Khan: I know, and I think the way he spoke it out, he just meant the people who prayed. A lot of people must have prayed, we all prayed. I’m a Muslim, I also do dua, and I don’t think he meant it as a rift between the Hindu and the Muslim thing.
Bhupendra Chaubey: I mean, the irony couldn’t have been completed better, because the Man of the Match of that match was Irfan Pathan, someone who came from Baroda, and here was Shoaib Malik who was talking about how the Muslim community must have been affected.
Shah Rukh Khan: I think more than the irony we should recognise the fact that these differences are no differences. You play the game, you win it and you lose it; it’s got nothing to do with any religion. I think it was misconstrued what he said. I think it was just meant to be that a lot of people have given you duas when you are coming here, so I’m sorry all the Muslim guys. I think he just meant it in the general sense.
All looks great and ostensibly some felt great at the logic of Muslims in India and in the Indian team and some felt happy with the charismatic SRK’s rambling like logic. But here are things that disturbed me about the incident:
1. One, if you look at the Pre-match statement about it being Ramadan and how the team would perform given it was a Friday; AND the post-match statement of apology to Muslims, it is clear that Shoaib DID mean Muslims and NOT Pakistanis in general! His articulation was clear and unambiguous. So SRK is at best acting smart and at worst indulging in Al Taqqiya! He needs to decide what he is upto here though.
2. What if there were NO Muslims in India AND / OR no Muslims in the Indian Team??? Would his statement still be OK? Is it ok for someone to express open and unambiguous hatred to a person of another religion or is it only if such a statement is made for Hindus in particular? When is it OK?
I am protesting AND challenging our instinct to say such hatred is OK! Because I am NOT OK with that! I am not OK with anyone .. .. ANYONE.. expressing hatred or playing for a religion in Sports!
It sickens me beyond words… that not only were we ok with that, we actually were looking beyond it as if nothing was amiss! Of course, Shah Rukh’s reaction was completely absurb and insulting to one’s intelligence itself.
And if you think Shoaib Malik was an aberration, then after the IPL auction, Sohail Tanveer reiterates his hatred in the video here, where when asked about the incident, he replies “What to do.. that’s the mentality of the Hindus” (Hinduon ki zehniyat hi aisi hai). The guest on the show, a Sports Journalist, then proceeds to again emphasize the same sentiment.
It is hard to believe that all this was also a harmless case of miscommunication. If you were to look closely you will find no difference between the rhetoric and mindset of Shoaib, Sohail and Osama Bin Laden. Its the same mindset. Just the way to implement their aims is different.
Islam, Jehadis and Pakistan
“I want to be your “Brother” not your Brother “in law”” said Martin Luther King Jr. once. I don’t want a make believe friend. I want real friendship. Short of that, we are simply hallucinating!
When Shah Rukh and others amongst us say they think Pakistan is a “good neighbor” what is it that we are trying to say? Are we trying to just make believe until the next bunch of terrorists descend on Mumbai or Delhi or somewhere else ….
….. and after again hundreds die at the hands of guys swearing by “Allah” and “Quran” (and who are from Pakistan).. that everyone of these highly moralistic guys goes on the same TV Channel to say “Well, these terrorists are not Muslims.” … “This is not my Islam”.. et al.
How has it ever mattered to those who died? How will it ever matter to those who die if the Islam which inspired Aurangzeb, Ghengiz Khan, Osama Bin Laden, Ghori, Ghaznavi, and now the next new Jehadi kid on the block.. is the same Islam as what Shah Rukh or someone else thinks it is??
The one to die… has died .. and he will keep on dying.. until Shah Rukh actually comes to realize that there is NO DIFFERENCE between his Islam and the Jehadi Islam.. and SO.. something needs to be done about it!! Because unless that equation is made, the Jehadi Islam breeds in the shade of Shah Rukh’s Islam knowing fully well that someone will defend the gory aims of the former when it creates mayhem! Obfuscation is, after all, the best friend of the Devil.
Something has to change….Not for anyone else.. but for those who die innocently. All the logic is only until you are not the victim. When one becomes the victim himself, then there is no ambiguity.
I have said many times… the real battle in Islam is between Dara Shikoh and Aurangzeb. Unfortunately, Aurangzeb has ALWAYS won! Never in the history of Islam has Dara Shikoh been the victor. Probably, its not even about the dead of the Mumbai attacks anymore. . probably its just about saving Dara Shikoh!