When Brownz don’t stand together; the Coloniser wins


It’s a sad day for the Subcontinent as the Cricket World Cup is now all-white even though the majority of the participating nations are not.

I wrote a few screeds after India’s defeat to England but thankfully they went unpublished.

My spidey sense told me that India conspired to keep Pakistan out of the World Cup and I felt quite betrayed by it.

This parable of the World Cup disaster reminds me of the Indian obsession with Pakistan. India is so keen to be “Western”, at any cost, that it sometimes forgets itself.

Australia, Canada & New Zealand are the “Old Dominions”, not South Asia, and I think India would do a lot better by seeing Pakistan as a friend rather than a foe.

Peace in the Subcontinent will only come about when we stop “otherising” one another. Surely one can understand why Pakistanis wanted to avoid the fate of Dalits and Muslims in India?

The jingoistic upper caste nationalism that seeks to Saffronise and purify everything in its wake has been hugely destructive (and frankly a bit nauseating; vegetarian biryani is not tasty) to the post-1857 South Asian political landscape.

36 thoughts on “When Brownz don’t stand together; the Coloniser wins”

    1. Britain has been a superpower. India never did.

      So Indian nationalist’s delusions are more delusive in qualitative sense.

      Just pointing out a finer nuance, FWIW. 🙂

        1. Perhaps there is some good things which might come out of this delusion

          You don’t need a full blown “ism” to teach people not to shit in the streets. India’s problems are different.

          But I agree with the other observation of the journalist that a general tilt towards nationalism in India is too obvious to miss.

          I left India more than 15 years ago, so I had no memories of national anthem being played in theaters. On a recent visit to India I experienced this circus for the first time. You may have just watched a 2 hour long raunchy sex comedy, but at its end you have to stand up solemnly and sing paeans to your wonderful nation. wtf.

          1. I think this latent nationalism was always there, needed someone to ignite it and play to the gallery. Post Indira , we always had genteel leaders. So much so that regional-ism,caste grouping over powered nationalism. This led to belief that nationalism is more of a upper caste /class concern and not necessarily electorally viable. Even i felt so too.

            Perhaps you are right , national pride might not lead to national shame. But during my last trips to India, to the country side, i am hearing more and more about “This is good/ bad for the nation” instead of “This is good/bad for my community/region” (which used to happen earlier) . That’s what has really surprised me. That’s why ,even though i am as cynical as you on this issue, i am holding my judgement.

      1. So this outcome is proof that the Indian Brahmins conspired to keep the Pakistani Dalits out to favour while colonial elites. (Needless to say if the shoe was on the other foot the Pakistanis would have extended a hand in solidarity to their undeserving brahminical compatriots?)

        Delusional seems like an inadequate description for this kind of paranoia.

  1. My spidey sense told me that India conspired to keep Pakistan out of the World Cup and I felt quite betrayed by it.

    Please let go of these conspiracy theories. When India lost to England (mainly because, newsflash, England played better that day as they had to, otherwise they would have been eliminated.) Also, there were more than enough permutations at that point to keep Pakistan in the hunt well after that game, so they did not get eliminated just because India lost that day.

    So it’s ludicrous on many levels to suggest India would deliberately lose a game (at a time when their own qualification wasn’t certain.) Also that India had it in their control to win games at will (which, as we saw a few hours ago, is not true either.)

  2. vegetarian biryani is not tasty

    It is to vegetarians, unless you consider vegetarianism identical to “saffronism”.

    1. “It is to vegetarians, unless you consider vegetarianism identical to “saffronism”.”

      I’m a vegan atheist and it’s kind of sad but India is the only country where the liberals demonstrate their commitment to progressive values by consuming more meat and organizing beef festivals.

      In Canada and the US, as I think is the case in much of the world, it’s the progressive hippies that go vegetarian and vegan, typically out of ethical and environmental concerns.

      But in drought-stricken India, eating beef (which is the most water and carbon intensive meat regularly consumed) is a sign of how progressive and rational you are. A symbol of left wing compassion and empathy.

      But yea, to respond more directly to your point, not consuming beef often seems to be construed among some desis as being regressive, religious, orthodox, saffron, Hindutva, Hindu Taliban, etc.

  3. This parable of the World Cup disaster reminds me of the Indian obsession with Pakistan.

    Neither has the World Cup been a disaster nor are Indians obsessed with Pakistan.

    To deal with the first point, as any committed sports fan (as opposed to casual sports watchers who catch snippets of games in order to make chitchat) knows, knockout games are crapshoots. India have been the best team in this World Cup (Australia following close behind, and England a close third.) Every team has an off day; unfortunately today happened to be that day for India and New Zealand brought their A-game. We still cut it very close. All in all, a very fun tournament (I say this as someone who has seen 8 World Cups before this.) Hope either England or NZ win; it’s boring to see the Aussies keep hoarding these trophies.

    To deal with the second point, I don’t know how people measure obsessiveness, but I imagine it’s based on Twitter activity and such? (I can’t say as I eschew social “media”.) India being a country of a billion and a quarter, even 1 percent of us have the potential to make waves on any social media platform, but that’s not a reflection of how the remaining 99% feel.

  4. Haven’t really been following cricket.

    But looked at the scorecard, top India’s 3 opening batsmen out for 1 run each lol.

    Two of these guys are ranked 1 and 2 in the world as batsman.

    Hard to buy the Indian conspiracy against Pakistan, when it seems like India conspired to keep itself out out the world cup finals.

  5. It is always a question if Indian obsession with Pakistan comes first or Pakistan’s obsession with India comes first? After all, it is not India but Pakistan that wants to change the status quo in South Asia (by forcing India to hand over Kashmir to Pakistan.. neither state wants it to be free by the way)..

  6. I would say both sides overplay the obsession part (to make the other side look bad). Neither Pak or India are major issues in electoral sense for either country, unless there is a war or war like situation. But at least for India i think there has been a major shift in attitude in South/East towards Pakistan post 2008 from nonchalance to mild hostility. The north attitude has hardened even more.

    On normal days i think both countries have come to a sort of static state. India sees engagement Pakistan as no longer necessary to its larger concerns (unlike the 90s) and Pakistan (i think) wants somewhat of a time out with India/Kashmir till issues on other border (Afghanistan) settles a bit and would like to “normalize relationships” for the time being.

  7. “Surely one can understand why Pakistanis wanted to avoid the fate of Dalits and Muslims in India?”

    Considering Pakistan was mostly an elite Mohajir project and the people who actually lived in what is now Pakistan never really cared for it, this seems quite an overstatement.

    The ‘fate’ of Dalits in India has been that they have been beneficiaries of affirmative action, have developed a political consciousness, and are making significant progress.

    (Not saying things are perfect but that they are headed in the right direction)

    1. “The ‘fate’ of Dalits in India has been that they have been beneficiaries of affirmative action, have developed a political consciousness, and are making significant progress.”

      I find it intriguing that when people cite that socioeconomic study indicating that, as a percentage of wealth and income, Dalits have surpassed Muslims, people fixate on the idea that “Muslims are doing worse than Dalits!”

      They don’t seem to give a shit about the progress that Dalits (as well as many OBC communities) have experienced due to one of the most comprehensive and generous affirmative action programs in the world.

  8. \I think India would do a lot better by seeing Pakistan as a friend rather than a foe.\

    Suppose India sees Pakistan as a friend from tomorrow morning , then what happens ?

    1. “Suppose India sees Pakistan as a friend from tomorrow morning , then what happens ?”

      Terrorist attacks will be relabeled friendly fire.

    2. Pakistan’s terror cells kill some more of our citizens, and we sit around doing nothing.

      So basically the Manmohan Singh policy.

      Anyways,India is the status quo power in the region, and not de facto governed by people whose raison d’être is warfare. We are the ones more open to peace, but it is abundantly clear that the other guys don’t want to play ball. They’re going to be our foes till at least the 2200s, and the idea of friendship with them is just fatuous.

  9. “My spidey sense told me that India conspired to keep Pakistan out of the World Cup and I felt quite betrayed by it.”

    lol and you think Indians are the ones obsessed with Pakistan?

  10. This article and comments confirm that cricket is an anachronic colonial relict which even does not hide elements of racism. Even, this text starts from the racial standpoint – browns/whites, colonisers/colonies. I will not repeat points from my previous comment where I was labelled as an outsider. This is another typical characteristic which is present when you talk about cricket. My past (mostly indoor social, mixed) cricket playing is not really impeccable reference but I (and billions other outside of West and East Indies) have a common sense. I was not writing about a dozen guys who get big money for their endless whole days/weeks strolling and repeating the same movements over and over until observers get headache. I was talking about an ordinary man/kid who can use this wasted time to move his own ass and turn on his brain. Such energy X one billion, would be a tremendous investment in the nations mental and physical health, self-confidence and pride instead of endlessly waiting that a colonial exponent shows you a middle finger.

  11. PS. Six fielders outside the circle on the ball, when ms Dhoni get out?????

    Give me a break! …At the end India got the middle finger and we will watch how colonizers dance Hakka in the World (wow!) cup final.

  12. “The jingoistic upper caste nationalism”

    The irony is that the BJP became more “jingostic” and “nationalistic” as it became OBC-ified.

    Come on Zach, you can do better than copy-pasting far-Left talking points.

    1. HMB,
      The BJP became more jingoistic post-OBC cooption because it could finally afford to be. The muscle is with the OBCs. I’d be surprised if this weren’t always the plan, to “awaken the giant”.

      1. This seems like adding epicycles to me…if the OBCs didn’t care about nationalism, they could have just picked a caste or regional party instead.

  13. Well, today is my day out (plus school holiday) and I must reinterpret my conversation with a taxi driver. We were listening news on radio (Trump, etc) and he wanted to comment but, to be safe, asked me for my background. I told him and to be polite I asked him about his, although I really did not care. He told me – I am Pakistani but when people ask me, I tell them – Indian. Why? Because, they immediately ask me about cricket. As an Indian, I am at least in a half of cases safe. I know that they try to be polite and to keep conversation, but they don’t know anything else to ask. Their politeness I am hearing as – you guys are such (cricket) morons that I simply don’t know what else to talk to you.

  14. BCCI basically has bought the ICC already. We’re supposed to feel sad that India didn’t get to the final of the world cup of the sport it already completely dominates with money and population muscle? This is the only sport a billion plus Indians care about; Australia or England are good at many sports, unlike India.

    At this rate, the World Cup in 2035 will just be India A vs India B playing each other.

  15. I think it‘s hillarious that cricket isn‘t even close to being the most popular sport in England/NZ/Australia and they still manage to dominate it.

    1. Maybe not the most popular sport, but it’s always been somewhat (and very) popular, depending on the season. That doesn’t really matter very much as these countries have long histories of playing the game, so there are grassroots institutions that keep the game going (I have no idea if that’s going to last though, as clearly cricket is competing with other (more) popular sports in those countries.

      And just because cricket is wildly popular in India and sucks in a lot of money from sports administrators and advertisers doesn’t mean India will be utterly dominant. Sporting excellence relies partly on popularity and numbers, but more so on the average physical fitness of a population and the resources the average person is willing to put into achieving sporting excellence. The Indian team has been getting better because the middle class has been getting more prosperous. We are not as dominant as our population size indicates because our average person is still far below Western prosperity levels.

  16. On BCCI owning ICC, this was the case in the 90s as well. Still India had a middling team.

    An analogy is England soccer , which has been consistently the money making machine as well being in the top 3 leagues in the world. Still their national team struggled even though they had a golden generation (just like Indian cricket had) in the late 90s-2000s. But now India has become more like Spanish team where the league as well as the national team has somewhat started mirroring the success.

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