By Ayesha Villalobos
When, in the course of human history, it becomes necessary in four quarters of the globe, who never ever heard of Cricket in Pakistan, it had become a somewhat ‘cult of patriotism” where every match seemed to be a National Holiday showcasing intense patriotic enthusiasm and exudes skyrocketing air of euphoria in every households, offices and every streets . Cricket novelties, literature and media ads appeared by hundreds and sold by tens of thousands, and along with Cricket flourished a variety of symbols.
Pakistan adopted Shahid Afridi as an epitome of a real sportsman, a saviour and redeemer. Team’s Official Jersey becomes the fad for both men and women, old and young, even to those who are toothless and bald.
Along with symbols Pakistanis needed public heroes, Pakistan Cricket Team, above all other, has attained in the estimation of their countrymen a place above politics and above criticism. Pakistan was swept up in the outpouring of patriotism, that every day and in every way, Team Pakistan, the most upbeat and soon to be the greatest most Powerful Team in cricket world. They read it in daily broadsheets, speeches and at lectures in the academe; they thanked Allah for it in their prayers and devoutly believe in it always. Despite all the pandemonium and euphoria, not even the overwhelming patriotism and the outpouring nationalism, would forever silence the disruptive social and moral epidemic of the country. The same combination of pessimism, ambivalence of the present and uncertainty about the future burdened the masses. Their bemoaning of social chaos, the fake democracy that enslaved them under the pretence that they have an asylum under democracy as a means of ending crime and poverty.
To majority of Pakistani Cricket have become a symbol of national pride an embodiment of individuality a beacon hope and a remedy (placebo effect) to some of their societal ailment. At every match it was like “the day the earth stood still” and Unity was suddenly felt. Whether you are a Balochi, Pathan, Punjabi and Sindhi etc. Everyone cheered and prayed for Team Pakistan.
The desire to bond and to Unite is imminent and evident in many circumstances and Cricket is not just one event where Pakistanis have shown a great deal of national cohesion and Unity, the way people responded during the 2005 Earthquake that hit the country and the 2010 Flood and during the 1965 War with India and the overwhelming majority who supported the creation of Pakistan, the mass migration based on faith. But the absence of true and Genuine leadership admonished by Pakistan’s founding Fathers , Allama Iqbal and Quaid –E-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was never materialized , the Pakistan Motto of “Ittehad, Tanzeem, Yaqeen-e-Muhkam” ( Unity ,Discipline and Faith) is not just an abstract vague sentiments, or a sporadic and moralistic utterances but a conviction and principle to be implemented and emulated . Pakistan Leadership over the decades had gravely failed to lived up to that ideology which Pakistan was created for.
Majority of Pakistanis looked upon the nation as a vale of misery and some deliberately submitted themselves to it; they cast their eyes at the savage society and concluded it is hopeless. While some of them dwell in the Pakistan ideology about the quality of life, the shared belief that the most desirable kind of life, is the one that breeds independence and strength of character that through delivery of justice, based on Islamic principles without making the process expensive and cumbersome, through education, social awareness and national cohesion they can shape the nation towards honest governance admonished by Allah.
Few also viewed with horror the social slaughter; they were the unlucky ones which… no further proof should be required. Their silent testimony over the course of many years should be essential. They consider these political evil, as a curse, and can transformed everything it touches, they have divided Islamic faith, shattered political parties and turned the nations into a battlefield.
The primary difference of Cricket and politicians is that in cricket we can predict the outcome of the match, and players if defeated, acknowledge and admit that they committed lapses and shortcomings, with at least a speck of fear to their immortal soul, they prefer not to commit the sin of lying or worse, of self-deception (of course with the exception of match-fixing issues and cricket board anomalies).
Pakistan should combine high idealism with the most firmness and Cricket as one of the Avenue in promoting Unity is of great significance. Today is the time when the people of Pakistan should strive to enjoy their dignity of independence. Freedom, if it has any meaning, is something that an individual possesses .The same is true of rights. And there is not a slice of reason to agree that freedom of a “nation” or an ethnic group or religion to express its collective self reinforces the freedom of individuals.
Pakistan has since displayed its own brand of strident and bullying nationalism, bullying both towards its own dissenting citizens towards the acceptance of whatsoever a “fatal hegemonic entity “(U.S). Pakistan is big enough and ethnically diverse enough, to lack a countrywide scale of collective actions to oppose the vicious, snarling beaurcracy that continued to infest the country. Strong leaders may bring out the best in a democracy (?) or they may express its ugly traits. They may flatter, manipulate or coerce the popular will towards various ends.
While the recent Cricket match was a sad affair, it is not true that when limited battle ensued, Pakistan did not try to win. They tried and failed. It is true that they fought under constraints, but so did their opponent, perhaps under greater constraints than Pakistan did. Did the Indians have a privileged sanctuary across the River Ganga? Probably Yes –but not as vulnerable as privileged sanctuary as Pakistan enjoyed in the solace of national Unity and Pride. In the end, every Pakistani resumed about their individual endeavour and personal battles facing the threat of undetermined future that have been imposed to them by the evil leadership. Pakistan should not wait for another Cricket match to show Unity in opposing the forces of autocrats. “Just like cricket, to win the match means to win within the constraints “and that can be achieved through Unity, Faith and Discipline. Pakistan Zindabad!