Ever wondered when did the phrase “India-Pak match” became synonymous with a “fierce battle between two groups perceived as radically different from each other, where defeat is unacceptable, and even if the victory is Pyrrhic” ? When did it become a symbol of the clash of the arch-rivals, mortal enemies, of friends and foes ? Since when did it symbolize aggressive conflict, violent and red ?
It is most interesting , that when an actual India-Pak match does take place, even the most apathetic person to this game turns into a cricket-is-my-religion type super patriotic fan who swears by the game. In all likelihood, they have never played, they don't know much about it , they don't give a rat's ass usually, and yet, you find them at the edge of their sweats, jeering the other team more than cheering their own. For this brand new fan of this sport, it is no longer a war of the bat,ball and human spirit; but of pride and religion. Winning is of the utmost importance because it wounds the pride of the other. It is no longer a game but it is War between the very Gods they worship. If you have heard the crass jokes on it , you would know what I am talking about. For them, their religion comes before the nation. For they cannot conceive the notion that both were a part of a larger nation. They shed blood through halaals and jhatkas for a victory .
I guess, it was their kind, who could not see beyond their “own”, and in their short sightedness , upset the equilibrium established by time and fate. All they ended up with was a deep rift , ever widening . And just imagine how much more colorful life would have been , if there were more pieces in this picture, more characters in this play, more nations carved of the old one, a multi-national tournament of blood and feud .
Leave them aside, the actual fans of the sport, living for the next match, practicing their yells. Those who think of themselves as patriot-cum-jingo's, where in fact , all they are capable of is shout harder,swear sharper and burn more fat and blood. They are the ones whose “patriotic feelings” disappear like some cheap,fast vaporizing deodorant, drowning gradually, in the stench of sweating over the contest. When the match gets over, it fades out of existence. From “Go India Go” to “Who cares , as long as it doesn't affect me directly” . You might say, why the pretense to be so overly patriotic , when they actually aren't ? Because deep down , they know the truth , but to drown the voice of their conscience with their pretentious over enthusiastic screams , which gives some gratification . The heat of their passionate cries warms them up somewhat, for sometime.
When the match gets over, they go back then to their lives, back to their squabbles. They look for a common enemy to unite them , rather than accepting differences among their own. They go back to surviving and profiteering, the real fans and the fake ones . Living as they do , till the next Indo-Pak match , or whatever pumps them with their periodic dose of Patriotism .