Volume - 3 : Issue - 2

Published : April - June 2004

Group : Issues


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- by Ranjit Butani and Mahesh Vaswani


Cricket magic may lead to INDO-PAK peace, CUT IN DEFENCE BUDGETS & MORE…


“The ongoing cricket tour of Pakistan has generated tremendous interest in the subcontinent. It is a small but important step in restoring normal relations between India and Pakistan. The public statement by Musharraf that he would not allow any part of Pakistan to be used for terrorist attacks on India was a good step. This will have a tremendous bearing on both peace in Jammu and Kashmir and on the Hindu-Muslim relations in the country.”
L. K. Advani – Deputy Prime Minister

The ongoing cricket series has created a “good atmosphere” in Indo-Pak relations. Pakistan team is welcome in Mumbai if ‘everything goes well’. At that time (earlier) the situation was totally different. Our jawans were getting killed without fighting the war.
Bal Thackeray – Shiv Sena Supremo


The 14 year void of international cricket between India and Pakistan has ended. The Indian team led by Sourav Ganguly has played magic for the peace process between the two countries. Peace is no more an option, but a compulsion for the two neighbours. The sudden sweet talk by Pakistani President General Pervez Musharaff appealing the people of Pakistan to treat the touring Indian team with love and brotherhood, visit by top Indian businessmen and industrialists to see the matches live, fun shopping by Indian cricketers in Pakistan are all signs of a melting animosity and blossoming friendship. This will help improve the Kashmir scenario as also the Hindu – Muslim relations in India. The absence of a single anti India hate statement in the Pakistan media is confirmation of the wishes of the people of Pakistan, who want the current atmosphere to continue. For India, it means less cross border terrorism, less killings of the innocents, more of communal harmony, more Hindu - Muslim amity, curtailment of defence budgets and more funds for development. SINDHISHAAN brings you the mixed feelings of the Indians who felt so, even though it is yet to be seen if the enthusiasm shown by the Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in the Cricket Magic will get translated into real peace between the two countries.

Dr. P. S. PasrichaDirector General of Police, Maharashtra State police Housing and Former Police Commissioner of Mumbai :
Certainly, these cricket matches have done magic. See how the Pakistani crowd has behaved and the feelings on both side of the subcontinent are of joy. People have learnt to reap the fruits of globalisation, as the world is fast becoming a smaller place to live in. Food and shelter have become priorities. Soon hatred for each other will be a thing of the past and the people today want peace, friendship and harmony with each other. Once the religious leaders and politicians learn this (as has happened), they fall in line! The people of both countries want to forget the 55 year old prejudices and if the two Germanys could come together, why not the people of India and Pakistan? The whole of Europe has adopted Euro as a common currency, no Visas required for travelling across the country borders and no hatred amongst the countries. The benefits are no wars, no wastage of billions of dollars on defence programmes. The same money can be used for the welfare of the common man and development of the country. People in Pakistan have behaved wonderfully with a sportsman spirit. The possibilities are good for a long lasting peace. Also we must reciprocate and not forget the warm treatment given to us when Pakistan tours India for cricket.

Parasram Ramnani – Engineer :
Cricket will lead to peace? It is impossible. I have lived through the trauma of Pakistan’s birth. All these cricket matches can’t make me forget the year 1935, Mohammed Ali Jinnah trumpeted the two nation theory for the first time - when the Provinces were formed. More than the peace process between Pakistan and India we need to abolish the faulty reservation policy, which generates more hatred within the Indians themselves. The policy of appeasing a particular community from the Nehru-Jinnah days has damaged the fabric of communal brotherhood and harmony. I would request our Deputy Prime Minister L.K.Advani to abolish all reservations on caste and communal lines. Reservations should be only for those who are economically weak and really deserve upliftment.

Dr. Snehalata Deshmukh – Former Vice Chancellor of the Mumbai University :
Frankly, I don’t feel it will improve any relationship between the people of India and Pakistan. If you see the expressions of the Pakistani cricketers you they seem to be more of hatred and less of grit. Today even if people talk good it is a long drawn battle. We( Indians ) certainly have the desire to become friends but they must have the desire too and must start changing. The Americans are also playing a game – Colin Powell recently made a statement according Pakistan the status of being a US friendly state, but for India, the US says that the it is being considered!

Ashish Shelar –BJP Corporator, Mumbai :
I certainly feel that cricket will lead to peace and better trust between neighbours. Pakistan and India will also need to be less wary of each other and this will result in more communal harmony within India. Issues will be raised on bilateral lines rather than on communal lines. Cross border terrorism and loss of innocent lives will soon come to a halt.

Nanik Rupani – Chairman, Priyadarshini Academy, Mumbai :
It is the inherent desire of every one that relations between India and Pakistan must and should improve. Peace is not an option but an absolute necessity between the two countries. When Europe is moving towards ‘open borders’ and unity, there is no reason why India and Pakistan cannot aspire and achieve the same goal. Goodwill cricket matches serve to reflect the mutual love of the game that exists in both the countries. Equally present in our minds and hearts is the burning desire to reach out in love and friendship towards each other. The peace process has come as a cool refreshing breeze to the pre - partition Sindhi community who have lost contact with the place of their forefathers’ origins.

Dayal Jethwani – Businessman :
The cricket matches between the two countries have brought out the hidden feelings of love in the hearts of the people of the two countries. During partition , the Hindus were forced to abandon their wealth and homes in Pakistan due to the circumstances like the Muslims who chose to cross over to Pakistan. Prior to that both the communities lived amicably, ready to do and die for each other. But the political divide had till today restrained them from expressing themselves. Now due to the efforts of our dear Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and the recent cricket matches between the neighbours, people have come closer to each other. But we need to be cautious about the continuously oscillating attitude of Pakistan’s President Pervez Mushraff over the Kashmir issue. Musharraf was born in Delhi, India. Kashmir is part and parcel of India and Mushraff should not forget that Pakistan was also once part of India. His greed for Kashmir could make him lose Pakistan also.

Sudesh K. Padvi – Sp. of Police, State Crime Branch CID Konkan Range, Maharashtra :
The cricket has opened up the gates for peace process, as one can see the Indians are being not only respected but also loved by the common public in Pakistan. The most important change is in the attitude of the Pakistanis, as could be seen they were never using anti India slogans but were in fact seen cheering Indian cricketers whenever there was good batting. There should be more bilateral relations in the field of cultural programmes, entertainment, trade, industry education and other sports too. Now at least the communication between the people of two countries has become lively and desirable. This should continue and it will help bring the people of both countries as close to each other as ever. There is bound to be more communal stability as a result of this. It is now for us Indians to reciprocate with the Pakistanis in the same brotherly way when they visit India next on a cricket tour. We must refrain from slogan shouting, burning effigies and take the game as a sport only.

Dr. N. L. Butani – Principal, MMK College, Mumbai :
The cricket magic is wonderful. The Pakistanis have behaved and reacted in a very positive manner. We are thrilled to know how much love and respect the Pakistanis have for the Indians. It has to be an ongoing process, not just one round and peace will return. It is also for the Indian politicians to not inflame the passions of the people for political ends. And for us Indians to behave well and reciprocate the love and affection for the Pakistanis when they tour India next. This will also help reduce cross border conflicts, thousands of crores spent on war games can be diverted to the education and upliftment and betterment of the people in India and Pakistan.

Prem Tolani – Teacher and Social Activist, Ulhasnagar :
The people of Pakistan now understand the people of India better than their rulers. Cricket is one of the gestures that will help understand each other emotionally and sportingly. But more is required to be done in this direction, such as exchange of literature, newspapers, magazines, writers, poets, singers, musicians, etc. besides these endeavours, it is also necessary to have mutual respect for other’s religion, cultural and social sentiments and to wipe out the old malice and prejudices of the past. The attitude of equality and fraternity for the other community within the Indians themselves will ensure lasting communal stability in India.

Padma Shri Dr. Motilal Jotwani – Literateur :
Ever since Pakistan was created on the basis of the two nation theory, it has been justifying its existence on the hate-India campaigns, one after another. Its government has been feeding half-truths and quarter-truths to its people. Their history began with invasion of Sindh by Muhammed Bin Quasim in 711, and there was hostility between the two communities even before the partition of 1947. but the people of Pakistan know the full truth that there is a great deal of cordiality in the relationships at the people-to-people level of the two countries. This was quite evident during the India - Pakistan cricket series. Even as the people of India are yet to rejoice at the goodwill generated, the Pakistani Dictator has given a notice saying that much would depend on the outcome of the Indo Pak foreign ministries meeting slated for July/August next. He has also raised the Kashmir issue in the midst of the Indian cricket tour of Pakistan. As long as Pervez Musahraff continues to speak in two tones and play with the Kashmir issue, aspiring for lasting peace in the sub-continent would be a far cry!

Tarun Vijay – Editor Panchanjanya :
Not because we won the one day series or the first cricket test in Multan, but because the beautiful stories we brought back home, have changed the perception about Pakistan to a great extent. We sent flowers for them, unfurled their flag, wished them well and in return the Pakistanis cheered even the good play by Indians, raised pro India slogans and treated defeat as a matter of sport event, with grace. There were no bickerings or acrimonious comments about each other, which would have been unimaginable about few months ago. I hope the cricket magic lasts long and soon the Indians would be able to spend their summer vacations in Muree(a hill famous station near Islamabad) and the Pakistanis could do the same in Mussourie. But the K word could spoil it all. The road to peace with Pakistan not only passes through the experiences of Islamic Jihad but also through the pressures of the United States of America. This only shows that we have to tread very cautiously and not get carried away by the present euphoria or a few events. In between the present cricket euphoria, General Musharaff had raised the Kashmir issue creating suspicion about his sincerity towards the peace process.

Dr. L. H. Hiranandani ENT Surgeon, Mumbai :
These cricket matches between India and Pakistan have led to one most important thing, opened up the gates of communication between the people of both the countries. Since every person in both the countries observes cricket with great enthusiasm, it was certain to be a major factor in bringing about the beginning of the peace process. I was thrilled to see the way the Pakistanis applauded the Indian cricketers in the last test. This has already generated a lot of goodwill in the hearts of the common man for his brothers across the borders.

Principal Dr. Jaimini Oza – Director, Rizvi Education Society, Mumbai :
The cricket magic has generated a storm of the feelings of love and joy amongst the people of India and Pakistan. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Pakistan’s General Musharaff need to exploit the changing times in a mature way and bring about the beginning of an everlasting peace between the two nations. The people of Pakistan have pleasantly surprised their Indian counterparts by showering lots of love and warmth to all those who have been there. This will also bring about mutual trust, billions of dollars of saving in defence expenditure of both the countries and also give a boost to the economies of both countries.

J. T. Wadhwani :
The cricket craze will only have marginal effects on the political relationship between India and Pakistan. The disease of conflict between the two countries is a very complicated one. It will require greater efforts and understanding between the two countries. The interpretation of Pakistan about Islam and Quran has to undergo change to enable the people of the world to remain in peace and harmony.

UttamChand IsraniAdvocate, Bhopal :
Cricket is just a game being played, its magic wont work towards permanent cordial relations between Bharat and Pakistan. How can we forget History, why and how Pakistan was born out of India in 1947. Britishers had divided Hindus and Muslims forever so as to gain favour of either or both even after leaving India. The Indian National Congress fell prey to the machinations of the then Muslim League President Mohammed Ali Jinnah and the Britishers and allowed the partition. Can the idea of two nation theory ever be wiped off or even subside with such cricket matches? There is only one hope. The Pakistanis should read and realise the culture and history of the two countries. They must read about Mohan Jo Daro, Harappa, Taksha Shilaand history of the revered Sindhu river, on the banks of which Rishi Ved Vyas had codified and classified the Vedas. The interest of third parties like America and China has to be also kept out of the issue. Matches may be played, won or lost. There may be attempts for exchange of cultural programmes and arts, but the real minds will meet after the Pakistanis realise that they are part and parcel of what was once a united nation, the soil of Bharat(India). The name Hindu has originated from the river Sindhu! The cricket or any other magic will not do. Let us not  be too emotional about win-win cricket matches.

Hari Mehra – President Khar Gymkhana, Mumbai :
It is a very good effort on part of both the governments that the ice has finally been broken through cricket. Barring the religion part, people of both the countries looked identical almost like brothers and sisters, with so much of love for each other that we wonder as to why we were ever so hostile to each other. Hopefully cricket will lead to more peaceful times and the politicians too realise that.

Principal Dinesh Panjwani–Chandibai College, Ulhasnagar :
Sports always provides a healing touch provided it is not used as a tool of one-upmanship between the sponsor countries. The ongoing cricket matches between India and Pakistan will surely help if the outcomes are not used for selfish political purposes.

Ayaz Amir – Senior Columnist, “The Dawn”, Pakistan :
Both India and Pakistan have demonised each other. So the Indians who came to watch cricket over here weren’t quite prepared for the spontaneous warmth and hospitality they encountered. Official policies are a different matter. Kashmir too falls in a category of its own. Post 1989 Kashmir was a problem invented and manufactured by the Indian ineptitude and exploited by Pakistan. It was exploited and exploited and no one knew what the ultimate objective was. Feelings and emotions now shown by the Pakistanis towards the Indians were always there, cricket only held up a gleaming mirror to the reality. For a record number of Indians it provided an opportunity to step beyond standard, everyday demonology and experience at first feelings at the popular level they never knew existed. If Pakistanis visit India it will be a learning experience for them too. They will learn something about the vastness of India, its new concerns centred on growth, commerce and industry.
People of Pakistan have lost what appetite it had for being governed by the old fears. This doesn’t mean there’s any sentiment for appeasement or bidding farewell to Kashmir. At the same time all evidence suggests a quantum leap towards the realisation that Pakistan’s best interests are served by a normal, sensible relationship with India, one veering between misplaced sentimentalism and pre-programmed hatred. In what is first in the history of Pakistan, both the people and the security establishment want the clouds of hostility (against India) to part. Had it not been for American prodding, the old India tunes, the golden oldies with which the high command (in Pakistan) was most comfortable, would not have changed.

Aruna Jethwani – Educationist :
Peace is to be cultivated at grassroots and not by spectacular events. Personal emotions and venom in our heart should be converted to nectar of love. Through love we survive. Through boundaries we collapse. People of India and Pakistan both strengthen ties through cultural and spiritual heritage. We need more of Abida Parveens and Jagjit Singhs. We must restore spiritual ties.

Kamini Bhatija – BJP leader and President Lions Club Of Bandra, Mumbai :
The cricket magic with many successful cricket tours will definitely help to pave a path for everlasting peace between the 2 countries. The sporting spirit and exchange of people’s participation through trade and commerce will assist in leading to everlasting peace. Kashmir will feature as part of the routine problem and will be solved as an internal issue. Communal stability is apparent.

S. B. KeswaniCriminal Lawyer, Mumbai :
Obviously with the cricket matches, more visas were issued than ever before between the two countries. More Indians were able to meet their Pakistani brothers very closely. The cricket has been a magic formula that may improve the relations between the two countries. More such sports exchange programmes trade, cultural tours and means to encourage meeting of the people of the two countries will help the peace process.

Rita Shahani – Sindhi scholar and writer :
During the recent cricket tour of Pakistan, Indians and Pakistanis have shown the world the true feelings, emotions, mutual warmth and joy on coming in contact with each other after many years. Changing political scene, the Jawans of both the countries at the Line of Control feeling relaxed, the Indians are not only being allowed to enter into Pakistan to watch cricket, they are being welcomed with outstretched arms and with warm hospitality by the Pakistanis. The situation has become paradoxical! Reopening of the bus, rail and air routes are positive and welcome signs. The expression of deep-rooted sweet feelings of warmth and affection for each other is overwhelming and touching. The recent revelation opens up the optimistic possibilities of further friendly relations between the two countries.

Sonu NigamPlayback Singer (he escaped a suicide bomb attack in Pakistan on April 11) :
The bomb missed me and my family by just a few seconds. The bomb exploded in a car that tried to overtake the bus in which my family and me were travelling to a concert. It is reassuring that Pakistanis are good and they love Indians. By performing immediately after the blasts, I wanted to prove to the miscreants that nothing can disrupt the ongoing peace process between India and Pakistan. After the concert, we were taken underground till we boarded the flight to India on the 12th April. The Governor of Sindh treated us as state guests.

D. K. Raikar – President, Mumbai Press Club & Dy. Editor Lokmat group of Newspapers :
Cricket has already helped the peace process and people from both the countries have welcomed it. Particularly in the light of continuous hostility over the last 10 years during which even the near and dear ones staying across the borders couldn’t even meet. With the cricket magic, suddenly people the two nations have come close that it gives one an impression that these people had never parted ways. The return cricket series to be played in India some time later this year would further strengthen the bonds of friendship and brotherhood.

Thakur Chawla Editor, SIPOON( Sindhi Magazine) :
In a spectacular move the Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the Pakistani President General Pervez Musharaf have set the stage for peace to return between the two nations. Since the first time that Pakistani PrimeMinister Jamali had totally avoided the mention of Kashmir in the SAARC meet, it was clear that Pakistan now meant serious business in the direction of peace. Even as the Indian Cricket team regaled the Pakistanis on their soil, a meet of the Indo-Pak writers was organised recently in Delhi by the Sindhi Academy. A team of Pakistani film producers was in Mumbai to explore the prospects of Indo-Pak joint venture in films. More such cultural and educational exchange programmes and interactions should be encouraged between the people of both the countries.