Bharat Mata Ki Jai, But I Wanted Pakistan to Win

Let me start with a disclaimer: “I love my country and I care about it”. You can call me a sickular libtard and I will go to Pakistan if you sponsor a business class ticket and stay in a 5-star hotel (if Pakistan has any 5-star hotel). “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”!

Now that we have this out of the way, let me clarify that I don’t have a logical explanation of why I want our arch-enemy to win. All of the arguments are based on feelings, observation, and the seditious rot that’s caused by reading the articles of Arundhati Roy.

Schadenfreude: Disappointed Bhakts

The major reason for this seemingly anti-national aspiration of seeing Pakistan win is stemming from a deep-seated annoyance for nationalism. For over four years of constant jingoism, I’ve been cringing at everything that has to do with nationalistic pride and Pakistan hating.

While rivalry on the pitch is the most productive way via which hyper-masculine men can screech “India-India”, I can’t help but marvel at the thought of schadenfreude induced satisfaction that one gets when toxic pride of nationalist men is hurt. There is nothing more enriching than to see my Muslim hating family members curse in disappointment as a Muslim man, and that too from Pakistan, excel. Basically, to see pissed of deshbhakts” is glorious.

Source: Reuters

Because Pakistan literally has nothing else to be happy about

I don’t have any mathematical reason about why losing this 18th Word cup match were to be particularly profitable for team India. The only reason why I want our team to lose is,  for once I want to see Pakistani fans happy. Moreover, after their mega roast session on Twitter, I have a newfound respect for our neighbors.  

We have Harmanpreet Kaur, PV Sindhu, Mary Kom, ISRO, and ten other things to be proud of. Pakistan, a country that is steeped in bigotry and homegrown terrorism, doesn’t have many reasons to celebrate (perhaps except Coke Studio). So to steal their one shot at happiness feels unfair. 

Cricket is, or at least use to be, one area where Pakistanis were our equals. I don’t know what inspires this sympathy but to see a nation in turmoil celebrate a sports win is heartwarming. In a broader view, the patronizing reason why I want to see Afghanistan do well is the reason why I unconsciously root for Pakistan. 

Too much cricket and too much winning.

There is a thing called overkill and the onslaught of advertising that BCCI, world’s richest cricket board, pumps in promoting IPL and other series is exactly that.  Not just people like me who only care about this sport during the World Cup, but even hardcore fans are getting over it.

The viewership numbers of cricket are falling. A 2015 Economic Times report revealed that “The decline in viewership is evident in all formats, not just ODIs. The weekly GRP for India’s international matches is down 16% while for those that don’t feature the country it’s down 14% between 2007 and 2014. Viewership of the T20 leagues has dropped 4.2% between 2008 and 2014.”

In 2017, Broadcast Audience Research Council India’s (BARC) data reported that between 12th to 18th August, cricket didn’t feature in the top 5 most watched program list. This was the time when the India-Sri Lanka test series was going on. Although BARC data can be limited and less representative,  with the observation I can tell my peers to be less enthusiastic about cricket than my elders.

It’s only during a few big events and India-Pakistan matches that cricket feels like a religion. Otherwise, it seems like a sport which is relevant only because of nostalgia attached to it.

Cricket still dominates all sports-related conversation but with time Indians and their sports palette are changing (and thankfully so). The generation that grew up under the glorious shadow of 1983 world cup is aging and Gen X has discovered other passions. Besides, we are winning too much and too easily. People can get used to everything and victory is one of them.

Niharika Dabral
Niharika Dabral

Niharika Dabral is an aspiring journalist.

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