VIEW: Time to get real —Dr Hiba Tohid - Tuesday, April 12, 2011

When will we get real? Why does there always have to be a ‘foreign’ hand playing in our misfortunes? Why is everyone from the Sasquatch in the Himalayas to the three-eyed green Martian all against us?

The World Cup is over, with India becoming the new world champions in cricket (amongst other fields). The green shirts are still finding it hard to reconcile with the defeat at the former’s hand on that ‘black Wednesday’. Despite displaying an astonishing gesture of magnanimity to the lost heroes — a rarity for a nation that would, in highest probability, have set effigies, tyres or any other inflammable item on fire to vent out its frustration on losing to its arch nemesis with the worst tirade and censure — the nation needs a reality check.

In what seems to be a stark denial of the team’s rather poor and miscalculated performance in fielding and batting, the nation chose to churn out one conspiracy theory after another of how this otherwise ‘invincible’ team was made to lose out to the ‘traditionally conniving’ foes.

One such attempt at literalising the defeat is marked with such ingenuity and vivid imagination that it will be unfair for it to go unmentioned. According to this theory, Pakistan lost the match to India because they were ‘told’ to so that India would not open its dams and flood our lands. There are a lot of branching theories as to who actually ‘told’ the team to lose. The list is marked with the usual suspects including evil ‘Amreeka’ who, despite having nothing to do with cricket in its tri-centennial existence, has to have a role in the matter because it (due to an obvious presence of competition between Pakistan and itself) is always conspiring against Pakistan.

Other theories about the fall of Troy include the sinister expulsions of the ‘tantriks’ who summoned help from the dark side to falter our game. So it was not Misbah, Younis or Akmal dropping catches, it was the evil spirits playing tipsy with them so that they would not get the grab. The pitch obviously seemed jinxed when Gul got hit for five fours in one over. The few times when the green shirts seemed to outperform their opponent was when one of the spell-mumbling tantriks had to go to the loo or catch a mid-innings snack.

Anyone who came up with this seems to have been high on the Harry Potter series, making the match appear like a battle between the forces of good and evil rather than simply a game of cricket between two teams.

Then there is the all time favourite, mother of all conspiracy theories about ‘satta’ (match fixing). The pundits of the paan stand and the gurus on the sidewalk have it all figured out: “The match was fixed for a booty of seven billion rupees with the senior players getting as much as twenty million” for selling their souls to the bookies who had obviously devoured more souls before the semi-finals since this is how India must have survived the other teams it played before Pakistan. No wonder soul searching is turning out to be such a cumbersome process for the losing teams.

Despite Rehman Malik’s ‘timely’ warnings, the team chose to ignore and play not with the bat or ball but with money. He must not be very happy with this unruly bunch and will have an ‘inquiry’ ordered into this matter immediately so that the culprits are soon brought to justice.

For more on such theories you must stay in the loop — text messaging and networking websites — because people can just not stop trying to figure out how their team of titans was ‘made to’ bite the dust. Poor performance or better opponent will just not be accepted.

For crying out loud! When will we get real? Why does there always have to be a ‘foreign’ hand playing in our misfortunes? Why is everyone from the Sasquatch in the Himalayas to the three-eyed green Martian all against us? When will we learn to blame our failures on poor performance or even poorer foresight rather than devious forces that exist solely for the purpose of slowing down Pakistan’s progress?

All these theories and assumptions may have been a wee bit more justified had it just been for our failure on the cricketing field. With a ramshackle economy, a morbid health sector, an unflattering literacy rate and development en route to nowhere, our team’s victory over India would have been as insignificant as has been their defeat.

Nothing has changed for the better or worse. Neither our collective delusion of invincibility and superiority nor the mass state of suspicion that everybody is just out there to get us. Welcoming the team back home with open arms was indeed a rare act of maturity that should have been reinforced by an equally mature acceptance of falling down to a team that was better than us that day.

Rendering the defeat to paranormal interventions, bookies or sacrificial retreat for diplomacy or.... (highly imaginative minds are still at work to fill this space), we not only ridicule the efforts of a team that outperformed its own expectations but also make a mockery of the trust and prayers that the nation invested in them.

Despite its defeat, the team came out as a true winner for pulling out the patriot in many and rekindling hope in a nation marred with despair. If anything, it deserves a pat on the back rather than half-baked anecdotes deriding its efforts and future potential.

Pakistan is as much an underdog as the team it sent out to the World Cup this year. This team has, intentionally or otherwise, set a precedent for the rest of the nation in all other fields because, if we so badly want to beat India (not to forget the rest of the world that is always conspiring against us), it should be in the race towards development and progress. Victory in the cricket ground will then be a sweet cherry on top.

Till then, the pitch is ready and the game is on!

The writer is a freelance columnist. She can be reached at

Source :\04\12\story_12-4-2011_pg3_5

No comments:

Post a Comment