What is One’s Identity?

By Kollengode S Venkataraman

e-mail:  ThePatrika@aol.com

The latest trend in India is Bollywood actors and industrialists owning sports teams. When they own the team, they also “own” the players, like feudal lords. Indian dailies write about players being “auctioned” like Jersey cows or race horses. It sarted with cricket and now has spread to the uniquely Indian sport Kabbaddi, with players paid in lakhs of rupees.
Kabbaddi PictureKabbaddi tests the players’ physical strength, endurance, and lung capacity on how long you can hold your breath under stress. It is a team contact sport far more physical and aggressive than the American football. Obviously, the anglicized, urban Indians are not into it. In the Indian subcontinent kabbaddi players are, by and large, rural and rustic.
Recently, Kabbaddi matches were organized between teams from India and Pakistan. The Lahore Lions, the Kabbaddi team from Pakistani Punjab, was in New Delhi to play competitive matches. The players went around seeing Delhi. Reporters asked them what more they wanted to see. Their replies (Hindustan Times (August 26, 2014):
Akmal Shahzad Dogar: “My native village is in India. It is in Tarn Taran Sahib district in Amritsar. I really want to go there, but it is difficult to get permission… Most of my team mates have their native villages in India… They too… dream of visiting their villages.”

Babar Waseem Gujjar, captain of the Lahore Lions: “I have my village in Ludhiana district. It is called Burj Hari Singh… my family members too want to go there.”

These well-built muscular men in their 20s are third or fourth generation “native” Pakistanis born and raised there. For decades the Pakistani establishment has been indoctrinating them in schools, through their media and mullahs against everything about India and Indian. Yet, for many Pakistanis their affiliation is still with the native villages in India their great grandparents left during the 1947 Partition, a man-made disaster arbitrarily carried out in great haste by the British.

It is worth recalling here Wali Khan, a Pashtun nationalist, the son of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, said in the 1980s: “I have been a Pashtun for 4,000 years, a Muslim for 1,400 years and a Pakistani for 40 years.”   

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