Political parties like Shiv Sena thrive on media attention. Staying visible is a need, it keeps them afloat. But the media cannot help if they don’t make any noise, if there is no story.
So Bal Thackeray’s Shiv Sena gives them one. Only this time, they have gone slightly overboard.
Keeping in line with their inherent hatred of the Pakistanis, Maharashtra-based Shiv Sena has warned premier sports channel, Star Sports, that unless they remove Pakistani players from the ‘Pro-Kabaddi League’, they will not allow any match from taking place in their State. This is classic Shiv Sena stance. Display of nationalistic sentiments through Pakistan bashing! They have done this one time too many.
No thinking Indian shares Shiv Sena’s position on the matter, yet, the regional party continues to spit venom and threaten disruptions whenever a Pakistani team comes calling. Confined to just one State and out of power for the longest time, Shiv Sena will never be able to acquire any political significance if it continues to maintain its Pakistan-centric path. Every other cause has an element of Pakistan in it. Pakistan has become Shiv Sena’s nemesis.
It’s the same old logic: “While our jawans are being killed by the Pakistanis, how can we allow Pakistanis to play on our soil?”
Politics should never be allowed to make its presence felt in matters of sports. The two have nothing to do with each other, there is no clash of interest, it’s completely harmless and entertaining. Pakistani players playing in various Indian leagues are earning their living. They are not Pakistani spies, out to steal India’s State secrets. They are mostly from humble backgrounds, living in lower-middle class regions in Pakistan. They are a very grateful lot, too.
Quite a few Pakistani players in the Indian leagues have expressed their gratitude, saying India has given them an opportunity to earn a decent living that helps support their families back home.
How can any God-fearing human being have a problem with that? Does it even matter where the player is from? Shouldn’t we just sit back and let them play?
We must, but I am not speaking for Shiv Sena.
This is a party which has extensively campaigned against all non-Maharashtrians in the past and continues to do so, and has been especially harsh against the Biharis. They are harassed by Shiv Sainiks and live under their fear all the time.
But there was a time when Shiv Sena actually worked for people and possessed constructive mindset.
Shiv Sena pushed for jobs for locals. If it was a public sector bank or PSU, the Sena government would ensure that most workers, who got in, were Maharashtrians, which made Sena extremely popular. Make no mistake, ‘aamchi Mumbai’ has always been their motto. They have no concept of India.
In the eighties, when mill workers were rendered jobless as mills were shut in the city, the Sena played its union card and tried to ensure that the workers were absorbed in local restaurant, hotels and other establishments. But those were the good old days, when politicians actually justified their election.