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India-Pak rivalry not the same anymore

“The frequent matches between the two sides and communication between people of both the countries has brought about this change,” said an elderly Pak fan. Subhash Rajta reports.

cricket Updated: Jun 27, 2008 01:45 IST
Subhash Rajta

How bad does it feel when Pakistan lose to India? “Just as bad as losing to Scotland,” said a group of college-going youngsters, smiling wryly at what they clearly thought wasn’t a very bright question. “Where’s the time to feel too bad or hurt? We are too busy thinking about our careers …we watch cricket just for entertainment,” said Sheikh Ayaz, a business administration student from Baharia University, just opposite the National Stadium.

While there’s no denying that passions now don’t run as high as they used to, such indifference comes as surprise. Not long ago, cricketers and their families lived in fear of angry retributions from spectators if they lost to their old enemy. Incidentally, the situation wasn’t any different in India as well.

“Look, it’s not that we don’t care if we lose. We do feel bad, but it’s no longer a matter of life and death for us. We are now concerned about more important issues. Globalisation, means of communication and education have opened a window to the outside world and now we know how far ahead India and other countries have moved from us. It’s here that we want to catch up with you,”said Mazz, another student.

This moderation in outlook isn’t confined to the youth; elders too have mellowed, though not to the same extent. “The intensity has certainly gone down. Now it's not like the streets getting deserted and people staying glued to the television and swearing at each other,” said cricket chacha, that elderly Pakistani fan who often travels with the team.

“The frequent matches between the two sides and communication between people of both the countries has brought about this change,” he said.

This softening of stance in Pakistan is quite significant, as against that in India, for Pakistan have, of late, lost the edge that they used to enjoy over India in the past. Nevertheless, they have shown the gumption to take it sportingly.

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