Mar 07 2014

Age of Kali – A Blow For Freedom

Pakistan beat India at Cricket.

This is a sport. A way for two groups of people to compete. At it’s core a man throws a ball and another hits it in order to score points. People support team A or team B and cheer appropriately. Then everyone goes home and is either sad or pleased as punch.

Now playing a sport is hard work. I am a 95 Kg couch potato, I have little in common with those 95 Kg musclebound ball whackers.

So I like sport, I watch it and I support a team of overpaid millionaires who kick a ball about in a pleasing manner to score many goals in my sport of choice.

However I think that’s where it stops. I think sport can do wonders for the community, it can speak out on the topics of the day such as racism and homophobia (some sport more admirably than others). But what irks me is the nationalistic jingoism that comes about because of sport.

Pakistan beat India at Cricket and this caused problems in India. Not people saying “perhaps India should train more, or think about its team more” but politics.

In Uttar Pradesh at the Swami Vivekanand Universty we saw the true problem with the way India thinks about nationalism.

60 students were involved in a fight, but it isn’t these 60 who are the problem. These kids were from Kashmir and had the audacity to cheer for Pakistan. So the pro-Indian students attacked them and damaged the place where they were watching the match.

The students who supported Pakistan were charged, not the people who attacked them. They were charged with sedition. With trying to destroy the communal harmony of India.

The problem is it’s not them. Are we so blind that we would rather look at 30 people supporting a different team than the idiots who couldn’t even behave properly? The people who are harming peace in India are the idiots who threw a fuss rather than the kids who supported a different team.

And it’s core is religion, after all. Is that not what the two teams are founded on? The Secularism/Hinduism of India versus the Islam of Pakistan?


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    John Morales

    I think tribalism is more the thing than religion — like soccer hooligans in Europe.


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    I think sport can do wonders for the community, it can speak out on the topics of the day such as racism and homophobia (some sport more admirably than others). But what irks me is the nationalistic jingoism that comes about because of sport.

    I’ve always had a problem with the way people get obsessed with sports and treat it as special. People will say that sports encourages teamwork, helps people get exercise, etc. while ignoring some of the problems within sports culture (e.g. nationalistic jingoism, sexism, athletes getting away with stuff because they are athletes).

    Not to say that this is unique to sports; it’s a human problem. It happens in any hobby (see, for instance, the discussions about sexism and racism within sff fandom). But some of these sports are such big franchises, with teams being identified with certain countries, states, etc. that it becomes a bigger part of the culture than other things. (Even non-sports fans like myself still heart about sports on the news, whereas non-fans of other hobbies may not know anything about those hobbies.)

    Ultimately, we are human, and human beings have the ability to do great good and great evil. Any hobby, whether sports or sff fandom or whatever, can be a venue for good and bad. And fans of any hobby have to realize that the benefits of their hobby shouldn’t lead them to excuse the behavior of fellow fans or a toxic culture that has been created.

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