Kashmir, the indicies of green & blue

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The war of cricket rivalry between India & Pakistan and how much it values for Kashmir.
It is not about winning or losing, it never was at least for me.Its not even about a cricket team, its always been about the idea behind the team. It was about being together in sadness and the moments of joy. It has always been about the stand, a well preserved secret, something which only we know. It was about the sense of sharing something common, something we can associate with. Kashmiris, other than pain and humiliation, have not shared much. This perhaps is one of those last things we share.

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Kashmir, the indicies of green & blue

  1. 1. Kashmir: The Indices Of Green & BlueWritten by Azaan Javaid
  2. 2. Caller- Hello! - Azaana, uman ava jahnam (Azaan, I wish they end up in hell)Me – Kyoho gai (what happened to you?)Caller - Mooddai ha karukh Kharab, wallah ha osus paraan nafal vainnuk tain (They have ruinedmy mood, I swear by God I was praying for them up until now)Me – Cze kortha emi mojoob phone (Did you call for the purpose of telling me this)Caller - Ahanu (Yes)Me- Kya gai, myei kith parzeha zah nafal (have you ever thought of praying for me instead)Caller – Yuna chuna waqt kaige karnas (This is not the time to be the ‘wise guy’)Alas! Pakistan was defeated by their cricketing arch rivals, India, on the eve of 2011 Cricketworld cup semi finals. Speaking on the other side of the phone line was a close acquaintance, astudent of engineering in a university in Europe. I felt guilty the very moment he hung up on mein disgust. He probably got angry as I couldn’t provide him any solace which he had intended tolook for before he decided to call me. Instead, I tried to crack some wise jokes even though theintention was to ease out some tension, clearly unable to understand the intensity of hisdispleasure over the way things unfolded that night.But that was me. I have never been a cricket enthusiast. Not that I don’t like the game. I verymuch love cricket - the sport for gentlemen, but at a level when I am playing and not onlycheering. I have always found it illogical to root for teams whose victories or losses do notaffect people tangibly. That has a lot to do with my quiet nature; I am yet to cry out loud onseeing my team win matches or even share hugs. Handshakes - yes, they have been abundantin number but anything more than that has been impossibility for me.Just as I sat down on the couch of the studio apartment, the after effects of that night began toseep in. Firecrackers exploding in the streets of southern Mumbai seemed much louder than I
  3. 3. expected. A rowdy gang of bikers stopped right outside the building, high on victory and alcoholthey were waving the tri colored flag. Not to my disappointment, the chanting was no whereclose to patriot songs. At that point of time I wouldn’t have minded ultra patriotic and jingoistichymns. All I could hear was the unparliamentary mention of the mothers and sisters of thedefeated team. I remembered a particular test match at that moment which was playedbetween the same teams few years ago. Shahid Afridi, the only reason a majority of Kashmiri’swatch cricket had hit 4 sixes off Harbhajan Singh’s bowling in a single over. An over joyous teenin the moment of ecstasy had used an unpleasant word after the fourth six was hit. The wholeshop was full of men from all spheres of life, the young, the old, employees: government, nongovernment, the civilians and the police. All stared at him till he became conscious. Afterpeople regained their temporary loss of interest in the match, he slyly walked out of the shop,embarrassed perhaps.Alas! In Mumbai, on the second of April 2011 no mercy was shown. By no means am Isuggesting that Kashmiris are more ‘civilized’ than their counterparts in the subcontinent. But Iremember moments of joy in Kashmir which had rather different manifestations. The fastestcentury in one day cricket, the highest individual score of 194 and from what my elders tell methe six that was hit from the last ball of the innings. However it wouldn’t be fair to say that onlyKashmiri people know how to truly appreciate a victory or a good cricketing day. In the first 20-20 world cup finals I, along with a group of close friends (Non Kashmiris), went to a food courtto watch the grand finale. The place was full of students all over from India and abroad.Without exaggeration, the number of Indian fans surpassed the number of opposition fans withthe ratio of almost a 1000 to one. That time I didn’t even know who Misbah was (the last manstanding against the Indian onslaught). At that time I considered myself to be the mostdisinterested person in the whole crowd, but the experience was suffocating to an extent that Iwanted to cheer out loud in defiance. I wondered how long would a cricket-enthusiast Kashmirilast if placed in my situation. It was the month of Ramadan, and as a part of standards ofbreaking the fast, all Muslims pray to their God for things they desire, both tangible andintangible. Just when I was about to break mine, I paused and said, “Today you know exactlywhat I want.” (Of course not loud enough to be heard by others) Later that evening all hopes
  4. 4. were lost. The cheers and happiness were all around. Real happiness I must say; something wehad a very little experience of. The very moment people root for their national teams, inKashmir Article 144 is imposed. This is an occupation of not only the lands, but also of voices,thoughts and feelings of the people. So much so, a Kashmiri becomes so conscious of thesupport that it makes him/her feels like an occupied citizen even when he/she is not even inKashmir.Three years later a newspaper with the largest readership in India carried an article whichsuggested that the support for Pakistan is because of the fault line among Kashmiris. The articlesaid that the support for the men in green cuts through all ‘castes’, political ideologies, the socalled mainstream political parties, the pro-independence and the ones who didn’t care muchfor politics, all according to the author supported the men in green. The reason given by theauthor was that a cricket victory over India is the only way Kashmiri people can assert somepower over what they believe an oppressive presence. The article further suggested thatoppression on Kashmiris and the reaction resulting from it manifests itself in cricket matchesonly; however Kashmiris have no love lost for the plurality India has. I disagree. In a placewhere the number of unmarked graves runs in thousands, I would say to cheer for a team doesnot top the To-do list of the bereaved families.Coming back to the night of 2nd April, Facebook statuses of the Indian cricket fans were allgaga. Kashmiris on the other hand were silent, while some were furious and some chose toempathize with the defeated cricketers. Some mentors and elders advised the youth not to bedisheartened. “Gindnas manz gaisna vadnus khasun” said one. (We should not cry foul after aloss). My cell phone started to ring again. Messages (read taunts) from my friends camesplashing like the monsoon rains. I was drowned in my thoughts so I chose not to respond.The loud bangs of firecrackers refused to mellow. They drowned every other voice, except theone inside me. That night after I had made peace with myself I knew there will be someone inmore trouble than anyone else I know. Brother of a friend. I called the same friend to inquireabout the situation. He answered rather angrily. “You are as stupid as everyone else, what is
  5. 5. wrong with you people? It’s a game and we aren’t even playing. You know in ancient Rome,Gladiators were made to fight which provided entertainment for the masses so that the peoplewould forget the main issues plaguing their society, just like modern day sports. You people arejobless, including my brother” he said. Two days later when India lifted the world cup I calledhim again “Hay kashrin kyazi yotha azaab, ahanu kotha karav bardash” (why are kashmiris in somuch pain and trouble? How much will we tolerate?) said the cricket hating philosopher. Thedark humor and the sarcastic overtone can be understood by Kashmiri’s better than anyoneelse. It is funny how one can explain almost everything to everyone but not to oneself.Just when distress was knocking my door, I saw a status update by a well known Kashmiriblogger known for his satirical pieces. It said “Kashmir will be a sad place tonight”. I failed tofigure out what was about the status that relieved me almost immediately. But today I do.It is not about winning or losing, it never was at least for me.Its not even about a cricket team,its always been about the idea behind the team. It was about being together in sadness and themoments of joy. It has always been about the stand, a well preserved secret, something whichonly we know. It was about the sense of sharing something common, something we canassociate with. Kashmiris, other than pain and humiliation, have not shared much. This perhapsis one of those last things we share.

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