Money > national interest

Bharatiya Janata Party MP and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Anurag Thakur has a lot of explaining to do. He is vociferous in championing the cause of nationalism, but what he actually does is something very, very different; he promotes cricket between India and Pakistan—something that is against national interest. Perhaps he expects that people would not notice the yawning gap between precept and practice.

Thakur accuses Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh of embarrassing the country by not allowing the Indo-Pak match at Dharamshala. “It’s unfortunate that the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister kept changing his statements again and again. This gave Pakistan an opportunity to point fingers at India,” he said in an interview to a news channel.

Singh may have indulged in petty politicking, but the much bigger culprit is the BCCI whose official Thakur is. Putting commercial considerations above everything else, the board is not working in the best interests of the country. Being a member of the ruling party, it was incumbent upon him to dissuade the BCCI from having any cricketing relations with our western neighbor, but his behavior has been exactly the opposite.

Thankfully, there are some worthies in the ruling alliance who are opposed to Indo-Pak cricket. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has unequivocally denounced the India-Pakistan World T20 match. In fact, he went on to commend Virbhadra Singh for opposing the match at Dharamsala. “Biggest question is: do we need to play sports with country [Pakistan] that has back-stabbed India?” Thackeray asked.

“When jawans at border will look behind and see that they’ve bombs in their hands while others have ball with which they are playing with Pakistan, either throw ball or we’ll throw bomb, both cannot take place at same time… We don’t want to play such dangerous games,” he added.

BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy is also of similar persuasion. “I agree with Uddhav. It was a mistake to allow them here. We should have that cricket match in Sri Lanka, Dhaka or Maldives or somewhere else. But in India, the problem is when Pakistan cricket team comes then all kinds of ISI people also come in the name of spectators,” Swamy told ANI. “I think the Prime Minister should take a call and should see that no matches take place with Pakistan until the issue of terrorism is resolved.”

That is the crux of the matter: there cannot be terror and conviviality at the same time; Islamabad cannot send jihadists to wreak havoc in our country and expect us to have sports, cultural, and other relations with it. I have always maintained that the only peaceful way of dealing with Pakistan is the severance of all ties with it, and strive to convince the rest of the world to do the same.

We must remember that the global boycott played an important role in ending the obnoxious apartheid in South Africa. India was among those countries which passionately opposed apartheid. Today, we, and the world, have a much bigger reason to make Pakistan a pariah in the comity of nations. For, despite its manifest evilness, apartheid was not hurting the people outside South Africa. But the military-jihadist-complex that the powers-that-be has created and nurtured over the decades is a menace not only to India but the entire world.

Instead of working towards the marginalization of Islamabad, BJP leaders like Thakur are, willingly or unwittingly, helping Pakistanis. With its might in world cricket, the BCCI could have easily sidelined them, but it is not doing this. People like Thakur are guilty of dereliction of duty.