Photo courtesy of MCT
Throughout history, Hindus and Muslims have had difficulty seeing eye to eye. Obvious religious differences created conflict for the two distinct groups. While writing this, I can hear the orthodox elders comments most clearly – “Those Muslims don’t even know what they’re talking about. … Why are you wasting your time writing about them?” Because after all, they don’t believe in our Gods so they can’t be worth it, can they?
This narrow gaze was observed by many Hindus and Muslims when a battle between India and Pakistan occurred over the land of Kashmir, and is sadly observed by some even today. I thought this had truly become a part of the past until something new brought back the tension: the 2011 Cricket World Cup.
Cricket is a sport of its own; watching India’s national cricket team win matches has been unbelievable, and I’m proud to say that they play in the semifinals today against Pakistan. What I’m not proud of, however, is that this match has become a rivalry beyond sports. It has become a war between two cricket teams, two nations, two religions and two peoples.
As soon as it was announced that India and Pakistan would face one another, people could be heard exclaiming that it would be a match of a lifetime. But these comments quickly shifted into – “We’re going to completely do away with those Pakistanis for what they did to us before” and “Those Indians don’t know what they have coming.” Not only this, but Pakistani terrorists have even threatened to attack the match (occurring in India) due to the location and the opponents.
I can’t help but ask – why? Why is it that as soon as a simply rivalry is brought about through sports, we are soon reminded of our many differences from the past? Why is it that instead of focusing on supporting the cricket teams and the match to occur, we are focusing on why we don’t like one another and on how much we’d like to beat the opposing team?
The majority of Hindus and Muslims today are ignorant toward the other group and do not realize this. There are many stereotypes that have been created and may seem harmless, but they have had a gradual effect on the distance between these two groups. It’s unnecessary, helping neither group in the end.
Rather than encouraging these through this event, we should empathize with one another. We should be using this cricket semi-finals match today as a reason to show the world – to show both our elder and younger generations – that we are one united people. We should show them that the many differences that do exist between our two groups do not define who we are. They may have been a struggle in the past and caused a rift, but we have overcome them and can join together today to, yes, support our own team and hope for its success, but also to watch a match without wishing the absolute worst for the other beyond the sports arena.
As I watch this cricket match on campus alongside both Indians and Pakistanis, I expect to see both blue and green attire. I expect to hear trash-talk, see food flying and perhaps even witness a fight or two. But I know that as soon as the match is over and we leave the Union, we will all become friends once again. This match will not define our thoughts regarding one another, and I hope that this is how many are able to recover afterwards. But while we are on the subject of the match itself… BLEED BLUE!