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A citizen of the cricketing world, no other

I am faced with a dilemma, caught in a struggle, on the one side of which lies my "responsibility" to the Nation and the other to cricket and its followers, writes Pradeep Magazine.

india Updated: Dec 22, 2008 01:29 IST
Pradeep Magazine

I am faced with a dilemma, caught in a struggle, on the one side of which lies my "responsibility" to the Nation and the other to cricket and its followers.

One as an Indian national whose country is in a war-like conflict with Pakistan and the other as a believer in sport and its binding powers even when nation states are waging war.

As a citizen of the world, I think India should go to Pakistan to play cricket just as England came here to do the same. It was, as is being said, to prove a point and pass on a message that the best way to defeat the designs of terrorists is to not play into their hands by being terrorised.

As an Indian citizen whose identity is being hijacked by those in power, just as it must be in Pakistan, I may have no choice but to side with those who believe that to punish the wrongdoings of a state you have to punish its people as well.

And when Pakistan is involved in killing people in my country, how can I want us to play cricket with them? No arguments here.

But as a cricketing citizen, I have thrice travelled to Pakistan and have realised that people there are no different from Indian nationals like me. They face the same problems as I do here. The people in power use the same rhetoric to create enemies and project themselves as saviours. The common man, fed up with being used by politicians for their personal gain, abuses the ruling class there as much as we do here. We have a common thread and that is our lack of faith in those who control the levers of power in both countries.

When I was last there in 2005, the Indian and Pakistani governments were friends and the army dictator, General Pervez Musharraf, was criticised more in Pakistan than in India. The irony now is that Pakistan has shoed away dictatorship and embraced democracy, but we are in a war zone again.

Peel away the artificially created layers due to geopolitics interests and the fears of the "aam aadmi" are the same across the globe.

I am beholden to my identity as a citizen of the cricketing world, for it gave me an opportunity to travel to "enemy" countries and realise that people who rule have a vested interest in stoking the flames of hatred. Therefore it is sad that the cricket tour is off.

I wish people were given the option of adopting a nationality of their choice at their free will. I would want to be a citizen of the cricketing world and not of a nation state.

One binds, the other divides.