Kashmiris cheering Pakistan Cricket Team../Rashmi Talwar / Rising Kashmir

Kashmiris cheering Pakistan Cricket Team

Kashmiris cheering Pakistan Cricket Team

Kashmiris cheering Pakistan Cricket Team

Rashmi Talwar

I have read multiple view points emerging about the recent Kashmiris cheering Pakistan episode. Of special mention is the article ‘Of Sedition and Cricket’ by Shujaat Bukhari. It is well written and the writer has brought all aspects of the mindset of Kashmiri youth. However, it fails to make inroads into the mind of other Indians and the reason for discriminatory behavior towards the youth of the valley per se.
My personal view is the government has been unnecessarily harsh on Kashmiri students, with 67 of them booked under seditious charges, who also faced suspension by a Meerut University.
It is hard to dig deep into the heart of any Kashmiri by others in India every time he or they commit a faux pas. Dictionary defines a faux pas as a socially awkward or tactless act, especially one that violates accepted social norms, standard customs, or the rules of etiquette. “People only see the overt face value!” is what the world says. They have little time to spare to dig into your psyche, your history and your compulsions to understand and condone the acts.

Say for example – If, I was to shout at my wife in front of train passengers. Everyone will hold the view that ‘I am a bad tempered man’. They will not dive for reasons why I displayed such behavior publicly no matter how right I may be and how wrong my wife may have been.

Coming back to sports – can an American cheer for a Russian team in a match between the two countries? I don’t think even multicultural Americans, who hold civil liberties and freedom close to their heart and call themselves a civilized nation, can digest that in their country in an open platform against their rivals. It is difficult to explain to the rest of India why Kashmiri students cheer for Pakistan against India. When I queried about this cheering, a Kashmiri youth once told me ‘It is tradition in Kashmir to cheer for Pakistan.’
‘Aap nahi samjhoge’ (you’ll not understand). I asked him an explanation, he had none.

Another significant point, Shujaat’s article raises, and this may find resonance in Kashmir too; he writes, “One interesting thing has come up after the Meerut incident. Some of the students who are studying there have gone under Prime Minister’s Scholarship Scheme, which means that their study is fully funded. But even that has not helped them change their ideology.”

To this, I respectfully ask, “Why do the students accept the largesse if they detest the benefactor of these benevolent schemes. Do they have it in them to reject such schemes or not to apply for them?”

This pattern, reminds me of a recent case of Rachel Canning, an 18-year-old from New Jersey, who sued her parents. The parents said that their daughter Rachel voluntarily left their home after refusing to abide by the house rules. Rachel’s dad Sean told New York’s CBS 2-. “There’s minor chores. There’s curfews. When I say curfew, it’s usually after 11 o’clock at night. She does not want to abide by these rules or pitch in for house chores” In the lawsuit, Rachel asked a court to have her parents pay the outstanding dues for school; pay her future living and transportation expenses, her legal bills etc.
The judge shot down her plea and stated “Do we want to establish a precedent where parents are living in constant fear of establishing basic rules of the house?” Judge Bogaard said in the hearing. “If they set a rule a child doesn’t like, the child can move out, move in with another family, seek child support, cars, cell phone, and a few hundred grand to go to college? Are we going to open the gates for 12-year-olds to sue for an X-box? For 13-year-olds, to sue for an i-Phone?”
In other words, Rachel wanted all rights without any duties or responsibility. In the current scenario, do we as self-respecting individuals need to introspect that duties, responsibilities and rights go hand in hand.

It is my opinion that not only in India but in any country it would be a digression to see any local or others cheering for an arch rival against the home country. And here in India, cheering a country with a long history of enmity and hatred in a public place is hardly becoming.

People visiting Kashmir from other states can be taken aback when they see Kashmiris cheering for Pakistan in Kashmir during sports matches, but if Kashmiris were to repeat this sentiment elsewhere in the country in public, it could hardly be expected to find favours.

Not just India, but in any other developed countries too it would be hard for the local populace to tolerate even a tourist cheering for his own country team in their country or worse if a tourist cheered an enemy country against a home country team in public. One has seen many fights erupting in sports stadiums world over even though groups are cheering their own home teams.

Somewhere cheering for Pakistan is the result of a deep rooted mindset, in Kashmir valley. Even a small scuffle or heated word by security forces or police may raise hackles in Kashmir. The fact that the security forces have been harsh in public dealing in Kashmir cannot be denied. Hence, a mere security check is looked down upon as an affront, with little understanding that it may not be construed as humiliation but as a preventive measure for public safety. And, it is not as if the minor episode is confined to the particular point, the opportunity of weaving stories around it and making it into a full fledged magazine article is never lost. Many conflict zones exhibit this trend.

I have seen this pattern in Pakistan too. There too a minor episode is blown up with a disturbing and bechara aspect thrown in to create an emotive issue.
In the current scenario much of Pakistan’s public, especially, its dominant Punjab is strongly in favor of solving their home problems and moving forward on other issues with India without the Kashmir issue being a of core value. Time and again few Pak politicians raise the Kashmir issue for effect. Even Nawaz Sharif, the current Prime Minister of Pakistan, did it sometime back but it caused more of a flutter in India than in Pakistan, a media person from across the border confided laughingly.

Noted columnist and Editor-in-Chief of ‘The Friday Times’- Najam Sethi, who became a caretaker Chief Minister of Pakistani Punjab during general elections, bluntly states in television interviews that Kashmir has ceased to be a core issue for Pakistan.

Nusrat Javed, a famous Pakistani journalist and anchor for Aaj TV says Kashmir issue is no more an emotive issue that cuts any ice with the Television channel audience and carries very little interest amongst the Pakistani public. The Pak public today is more concerned and perturbed over their own grave problems of daily bombings and killings besides dealing with the Taliban on its western border and frontier provinces with Afghanistan.

Hereby self-respect has become the moot question for Kashmir. There is a country that hardly lays any store about past intimacy and here is one who cheers, holds and harps on about a romance refusing to believe it is lost.

Author can be mailed at rashmitalwarno1@gmail.com


4 responses to this post.

  1. Love them…<3



  2. Posted by Kris on March 15, 2014 at 9:52 PM

    Kashmir should be a closed issue after 65 years of animosity and move on to current and more important problems facing their countries and find ways and means of helping each other for development, trade, and progress.



  3. http://www.countercurrents.org/bhat070314.htm

    Growing up in the shadows of conflict, of guns wielded by both militants and armed forces, we in Kashmir have witnessed many confusing narratives that sometimes just ‘happened’ but which are now imprinted in our minds, seemingly forever. Everything in 1990s Kashmir was, as I remember it iteratively, brought to a standstill each day. Our lives as young boys were ruled by a primary goal: to save ourselves and to live just for one more day. While boys of our age in other parts of the country were aiming for productive careers in the engineering, medical and civil services and concentrating on their studies, our lives were part of another narrative—knotted, twisted and often grotesque – despite the shimmering beauty of the landscape we inhabited. This personal narrative tries to explain how we as common people in Kashmir have witnessed at least three crucial stages of conflict dynamics. (i) Pre-militancy era – when everything was normal and after returning from the local school, we would play with the army men [without arms] who had camped in our village for some social service, and were perceived as within ‘us’, not ‘them’ or the ‘other’. Kindness was at its peak and the red clouds in the sky innocently followed folklore to mean that blood was being spilt or any unwanted incident was ocurring in some distant ‘other’ corner of the world. (ii) The militancy era – with haunting memories which still predominate our terrified dreams of cross-firing, crackdowns, identification parades, serving food to one militant party followed by the raids of another militant party and then nocturnal raids by the armed forces. Caught in the existential paranoia, career and conflict, absolute anarchy of this era is the strongest part of our memories, thought process and behaviour. (iii) The post militancy era again consists of many catastrophic phases and is dominated by the agonizing ‘manufactured’ and ‘action’ narratives.




  4. This ‘being Kashmiri’ identity and the consequent trouble has many bases and concerns. One of the serious concerns is the misinformation of common Indian masses about the Kashmir issue. This unawareness has lead many Indians to speculate that sugar, salt, rice, gas and oil is highly subsidised [almost free] for Kashmiris as compared to people living in any other part of Indian. As a matter of fact, the common masses in India are acutely ignorant about the Kashmir problem and the sufferings of Kashmiris. A majority of the Indian population does not know about the historical and real narratives of the Kashmir problem except romanticising and equating it with two media-constructed contradictory lexical items “heaven on earth” and ‘aatankwaad’ or terrorism. Moreover, this doubtful assumption about Kashmiris for many Indian’s is sometimes based on the conceptualisation of Kashmir through Bollywood movies like Mission Kashmir and Roja, and the biased local print and electronic media. Therefore for me, and many of us, carrying the Kashmiri identity and travelling through different parts of India was complex in many ways.

    The consequences of this identity assertion entail many facetious and serious narratives. For instance, a friend of mine from Delhi once jokingly told me: ‘aap Kashmiri log na dil se bharat bolte ho na zuban se bolte ho’ meaning “you Kashmiris neither speak the word bharat by heart nor by mouth” pointing to the aspirated sound [bʱ] which the native Kashmiri speakers cannot pronounce properly; instead Kashmiri speakers pronounce it as barat. Nonetheless, the issue of such an identity assertion is not always a joke but it is sometimes more intricate than we envisage. For instance, in September 2003, I boarded a train from Bangalore bound to New Delhi. After a day-long interaction, a sardarji in his mid sixties came to the compartment I was travelling in. I assumed that he came to say ‘goodnight,’ but he had a surprise for me, which hardly surprised me. After a tiny-smile, and handshake, he excitedly said “you must be happy.” When I asked the reason for my being happy, he replied with what seemed like sincere astonishment “don’t tell me you don’t know that Pakistan has won the match against India”. He further asserted: “Kashmiri ho, mai janta hoon tum Pakistan ko like karte ho” which meant that ‘you are a Kashmiri, and I know you like Pakistan.’ Because of my disinterest in cricket, I didn’t know of the match. I candidly replied: ‘well, I sincerely don’t care who wins, and how does it matter to me.’ Looking at the other co-passengers in the compartment, I simply couldn’t understand how to respond to him next, except with a couplet of Allama Iqbal which came to my mind–

    Zahid-e-tang nazar ne mujhe kafir samjha!
    Kafir yeh samjhta hai musalman hoon main!!

    Translation: ‘To the narrow-minded Muslim I am an infidel or disbeliever! And the infidel thinks I am a Muslim.’

    Full text here:



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: