Pakistan Cricket Board chief, Shahryar Khan, had come to India hoping to revive bilateral cricketing ties. He had come asking for help, basically. The PCB is on the verge of calling in insolvency… however, the poor old good-intentioned man should have factored in the nationalist, chauvinist, xenophobic, and reactionary Shiv Sena, or rather the trigger-happy Shiv Sainiks.
On Sunday, a gang of uncontrollable and disruptive Shiv Sainiks behaved like untamed creatures when they forcefully barged into the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai and confronted BCCI president Shashank Manohar. The newly-elected BCCI boss appeared relaxed in the face of a dangerously volatile mob, tried to reason with them, but only till so long. Even he realized the futility of the exercise. Anything could have happened; a loose mind could have physically attacked and hurt him.
It was, possibly, Shahryar Khan’s good fortune that all hell broke loose before the scheduled meeting with BCCI boss was to take place…What is the difference between these jobless, spiteful Shiv Sainiks, and the killer gang led by the ‘Joker’ of the Gotham City? Not very much… both law unto themselves in their own ways…
The PCB is in financial dire straits. Except for some sporadic series on neutral territories with insignificant countries, there is not much happening. Nobody is playing with them, they don’t have much money to pay Pak players and the others. The fact that they are undergoing some seriously troubled times is not really the concern here. It’s not really our business, although on some humanitarian level, one does feel sorry for them… after all, what did the cricketers do to deserve such hard times?
Pakistan-sponsored terrorism is a known fact, and India has had to bear the brunt of it. Only the Governments have the tools to break the pattern of hostility and they may be doing their bit, too, but such interferences will cancel out all the peace-making effort that the States initiate. This is a different debate, though.
This is not the first incidence of violence by Shiv Sena. In December 2003, Shiv Sena activists damaged the cricket pitch of the Agra Sport Stadium which was supposed to host the cricket match between Pakistan and India. In April 2005, Bharatiya Vidyarthi Sena, the student wing of Shiv Sena, attempted to prevent the India-Pakistan One-day international match being held in New Delhi.
Its anti-Pakistan agenda engulfed ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali in its flames, recently. Shiv Sena issued threats which enforced a ban on scheduled concert by the Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali in early October. It is claimed that the agitation was initiated to mollify anti-Pakistan constituents and inspire them to vote for Sena in coming elections.
According to Wikipedia, Shiv Sena is seen by some as a terror group, and has been blamed for the 1970 communal violence in Bhiwandi, 1984 Bhiwandi riots, and violence in the 1992-1993 Bombay riots.
BCCI is an independent body and is expected to keep national interest ahead of anything else. The Government is always there to keep check in case there is any straying from the national stand. Cricket is a gentleman’s game and the spirit of the game expects generosity and tolerance from those who love the game. The actions of terrorists have no relationship to cricket. The relationship between the two countries is not dependent on the resumption, or not, of the ties. In fact, cricket will only help, not sabotage the atmosphere.