Nationalism Private Limited
January 22, 2010 2 Comments
Expectedly the “snub” that IPL gave to Pakistani players by cold-shouldering them has caused a furore in Pakistan. Not surprisingly Cable TV Association has vowed not to broadcast any channel covering the IPL matches. While the decision is understandable some more extreme reactions are both laughable and also irritatingly childish.
Zaheer Abbas, the only man from sub-continent boasting of a hundred hundreds in first class cricket, has called Pakistani Hockey Federation to boycott the Hockey World Cup ; A parliamentary delegation due to visit India is off; A complete ban of Indian films has been sought and as usual the rhetoric on Pakistani pride et all has got shriller.
The sense of hurt of the players involved is understandable but such wild reactions and accusations are typical of the sub-continental obsession with “private nationalism”. Those who involved in the frenzy of effigy burning or sloganeering hardly understand that the inclusion of Pakistanis in the IPL does no good to them or their country. If anything it will only make Messrs Afridi, Akmals and Guls richer by several crores.
So what makes us so obsessively nationalistic on matters concerning individuals which don’t have any bearing on the state or it’s polity.
The simple reasoning is that the political masters of India and Pakistan excel in the art of obfuscation and diverting the attention of the people from more pressing issues.
Take the current situation. President Zardari is engulfed in problems all around him – the action against terror, the NRO Reversal, Sugar crisis, power crisis and a trouble-some relationship with PML. The IPL “snub” is a huge blessing-in-disguise for the political bosses to divert the attention of the public at least for a few days and gloat in euphoria of “private nationalism”.
If I have to join the issue of “nationalism”, how come we in India do not perceive the refusal of Pakistani Govt to permit it’s players to participate in IPL-II as a “snub” ? Why were all those “moralists” crying foul didn’t react when Wasim Akram was prevented from becoming India’s bowling coach ? Wasn’t that a case of “misplaced nationalism” ?
Even in the aftermath of the IPL “snub”, there is no demand for Wasim Akram to relinquish his job with the KKR. How come it is personal for Akram to continue as a coach but not so for Afridi, Akmals and Guls who were the only ones to gain personally from their association with IPL.
The case of India is no different though in the matter of “private nationalism”. Not so long ago, as a nation we were enraged as Shah Rukh Khan was frisked at a US Airport. A few weeks prior to that, came the more shocking news that former President Kalam was also not spared from a personal search. Not surprisingly, the nation felt more “enraged” for a Shah rukh than Dr Kalam since the latter is surely not a mass mover like the King Khan.
Venkataraman Ramakrishnan, the scientist of Indian origin was bemused by the sudden pour of love, affection and attention once the announcement of his nobel prize came through. The nation which probably didn’t even know his existence suddenly sprung into action and claimed to be “very proud of him”.
His success soon became an advertisement for India’s “capabilities and scientific temper” with Dr Ramakrishnan viewing it helplessly from the sidelines.
India is definitely no better than Pakistan in parading “private achievement and issues” as nationalism with the same tactic of obfuscation and with the same result in mind viz diversion.
It is a pity that the poor impoverished masses of both the nations don’t see through such diversionary tactics of the politicians and instead get themselves embroiled in needless agitations, for a private cause.
The actors of this political drama must all be chuckling at the naivety of the masses while the individuals concerned riding on a wave of popularity hoping that one day it will help them to laugh their way to their banks.