The murder of Nitin Garg in Melbourne on January 2 is appalling. At the time of writing, it hasn’t been confirmed whether Garg was the victim of a ‘racist’ assault or not. But in the light of the recent spate of racially motivated attacks on Indians in Australia, the perception of a growing anti-Indianism does matter.
Garg was not the first Indian to come under attack by bigots. The spate of racist violence raises some pertinent questions about Indians living in Australia.
Which is where the question of cricket diplomacy also comes up. If we can cut off cricketing ties with Pakistan and deny Pakistani players entry into the Indian Premier League then, going by the same yardstick, shouldn’t India do the same thing with Cricket Australia? After all, things aren’t hunky dory on the ground for Indians in Australian cities like Melbourne. To not accept this is to be in denial.
If we can shut out our neighbours when something goes awry in Pakistan, it seems odd to lay out the red carpet for Aussie players and offer them lucrative endorsement contracts, while something that is also wrong and unchecked is underway in Australia.
I’ve always believed that sports can’t be hijacked by politicians and be used for ‘diplomatic’ moves. Sadly, countries have to deal with external violence in some form or the other. To have a boycott in place against Australia is nothing personal against Australian cricketers. It is just a ‘political’ move undertaken so that action is, for starters, seen to be taken against anti-Indian bigots in Australia
Mina Anand is a Chennai-based writer
The views expressed by the author are personal