Feisal Naqvi

The Abu Drubbing of the British

In Uncategorized on January 30, 2012 at 3:42 am

At about 5 pm this past Saturday afternoon, northbound traffic on the Lahore-Islamabad motorway was flowing freely. Eagle-eyed motorists just about to enter the Salt Range though would have spied, if they had been so inclined, a dark-green Honda pulled over on the verge, its lights blinking to warn passing cars of the fool doing an impromptu bhangra on the roadside.


That fool, dear reader, was yours truly. Like all of my countrymen at that particular moment, I was celebrating our pasting of the English cricket team.


Even at the best of times, it is difficult to explain to outsiders the precise extent of the joy which a Pakistani win produces. And in this particular case, there was enough history and subtext to keep a whole passel of Freudians happy.


Start with the fact that the match was against the English, our former colonial masters; indeed, the very people who introduced us to the game of cricket. Now add to the pupil’s joy at beating the master, the fact that Pakistan and England’s particular history in relation to cricket contains enough snobbery, residual arrogance and false allegations of cheating on the part of the Poms to leave us permanently resentful. Then add to this poisonous history, the fact that a couple of years ago, three young Pakistanis were indeed caught cheating at cricket while in England, those three later becoming the first professional crickets to be sentenced to jail for spot-fixing. On top of all this, add the final fact that Pakistanis view national success at sport as somehow directly justifying the events of 1947, as if thumping the lalas and the goras at cricket validates the deaths of the one million innocents who died during Partition.


Even if you get all of that, one final ingredient would still be missing. That final part of the puzzle comes from the misery heaped upon us by our current crop of leaders, as vile and as corrupt a bunch of people as ever set foot on this planet. Put it all together and the average Pakistani finds little reason to smile while even the fortunate Pakistani is constantly required to justify to himself, his continued presence in this country. What keeps people going then is an atavistic faith, a belief that better times are around the corner, that we are better than this and that we could show the world this, if only we had better leaders.


Beating England in this Test series thus ticks all the right boxes. It validates us as a nation. It allows us to thumb our nose at the goras and accuse them of whining. It allows us to escape the shame and the stigma of the spot-fixing convictions. And it allows us to believe that we have not failed but that we have been failed by our leaders, because if we were properly led, we too would be gloriously triumphant like Misbah and his men.


Now, if you will excuse me, I’m going back to dancing.

  1. Yes it certainly was some amazing heartwarming cricket. Celebrations!!

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