O Khaway Gaind Ya Saib, Tauday Sadqay Assi Lala!


Consider it our national fate or a Divine punishment but some kind of ignominy or another seems to chase us all the time. Cricket, being religiously followed in Pakistan like football in Egypt is regarded as an issue of national importance and our Cricket Team, our collective pride but the recent scandal of spot-fixing involving our players has left everyone in a whirl of confusion or piqued with more ‘expositions’ about it popping up by the day.

Despite all the rage and dysphoric atmosphere caused by it, there has been something in it all to smile and smirk about for a certain group of people : the Lala-loyalists.

Since the emergence of claims by British paper ‘News of The World’ of Amir, Asif and Salman Butt match/spot-fixing – other news about how Mazher Majeed, the notorious bookie could not get Shahid Afridi in his fold of activities is also being written about.

Afridi is termed by many as immature, whimsical and his successes as mere ‘flukes’ but the die-hard fans of the Sahibzada (including me) find no reason not to defend him tooth and nail even in his most outrageous doings such as the ball-biting in Australia to which he apologised about and stated why he did it.

 

After he announced his hasty retirement from Test Cricket during the series against Australia, he was subject to heaps of censuring and criticism from almost every Pakistani as to how he ‘cowardly’ ran from the game after losing a fw matches and now it has been revealed why he really left.

Afridi had also barred the Team from meeting the Majeed brothers during his captaincy while informing the management of the shadowy business of the two.

As reported :

“Mazhar Majeed claims to have almost the entire Pakistan cricket team in his pocket but the one man the alleged match-fixer could never get a hold on is the temperamental Shahid Afridi.

In his numerous conversations with the undercover ‘News of the World’ reporter during a sting operation which has exposed a widespread betting scam, Majeed said he couldn’t get Afridi on board in his shady dealings.

“One player he does not want involved is Shahid Afridi, the veteran Pakistan captain in charge of the side in the one-day series. Afridi was not one of the players Majeed had in his pocket,” the tabloid reported.”

That says it all. Afridi is a man of integrity, honesty, character and a true stubborn-but-no-compromise-on-principles Pathan.  And he has a heart, being the first player to actually raise funds for the flood-victims and personally visit the areas to distribute aid while issuing an apology to all the cricket-lovers around the world for the shame the recent scandal has caused them.  And whatever his flaws, he loves the game and Pakistan.

And so I dedicate this post to myself and other Lala-loyalists all over the world who have always believed in one of the best Pakistan has ever produced.

 

People call us biased when defending Afridi, but I would quote the beautiful line from ‘The Kite-Runner’ with my own addition :

“For you Lala,  being biased and rascist,  a thousand times over!”

We love and support THE Great Sahibzada Mohammed Shahid Khan Afridi and will continue to do so.

 

The man who couldn’t be sold, ALL HAIL THE SAHIBZADA!

Boom Boom for the next Pakistan Presidential Elections! 😀

 

– Hafsa Khawaja

The Angraizi Complex


Aamna Haider Isani had written an article for Instep by the title:  ‘A New Body Language For Cricket!’. In it, she mentioned the joy of watching a win for Pakistan but something she wrote triggered the engine of my mind to run and the muscles in my fingers to be exercised. Such were the two lines:

“The only slight shudder one feels is when Pakistan wins and Afridi has to talk to the commentator on how the “boys played well”‘ and “All credit goes to Umar Gul for sticking to Urdu” and from here I begin another blog post : The English or Angraizi Complex.

With a society immersed in denialism, dogmatism and their thorny roots that prickle when someone thinks out of the box – and that too, in a country marred by terrorism, corruption, unstable Governments with even exacerbated situations of political tensions, social confusions and economic strains, since the commencement of the War on Terror : the Pakistani mind-set is labyrinthine.

Although its been more than six decades since Pakistan’s liberation from the yoke of imperialism, yet the colonial-inculcated sense of inferiority in the natives of this land relating to their culture, language, customs, physical characteristics et al lingers tenaciously here.

The best manifestation being that speaking English in the country is the yard-stick to measure the education, personality, back-ground, caliber for many; the ultimate crown of sophistication.

And so, it’s considered a reason to shake your head from side to side, in an expression of shame lest Angraizi does not flow ‘fur fur’ on your tongue.

One fails to understand this, why do the Pakistani people stress incredibly upon learning English for our players or any other famous person from this land? Yes, this language is a global and important communicative tool to interact with and put one’s message across almost all around the world but everyone knows, its not for this reason that such emphasis is pressed on English here.

Our players do not go to the cricket grounds to speak Shakespearean English but to play and win. So what if Younas  spoke at a rate of 20 words per 5 seconds? So what if Afridi repeats the same words?

Are their accents and pronounciations larger than their achievements?

Indeed, celebrities and such popular persons are considered ‘public property’ and their lives are scrutinized but dismissing his flair and blazing performance for a mere language which he can’t speak fluently as it is neither his mother tongue nor his job to perfect it ? Those are petty thoughts.

The task of giving this country moments of joy is cumbersome in these times, but people like Afridi and our team make them possible through this sport. Then why does their fluency in this language matter?

Just because a language is global, it does not define or measure talent, class or stature.

Top football stars like Messi and David Villa, tennis champions like Nadal and many players in both football or cricket teams do not speak English. Many sporting stars of the world of today are proud to speak their language even if they know English or often speak English in their natural accents that are even difficult to comprehend, but neither does it disconcert their fans nor does it faze them.

Then why do we, impose this complex of the English language upon ourselves? Or feel dishonored when our cricket players utter broken English?

What loss of glory or ignominy  does it bring us? At a time when a variety of terrorists are the perceived face of this country, is the inability to talk in fine English, really the most of Pakistan’s worries? 

The success of India is often pondered upon by many Pakistanis but little do they realize that one of the basic reasons that the country is blooming today, both culturally and economically is their attitude. Apart from their hardwork and what has contributed to their economic success – most Indians seem to deal with their heritage, culture and history with three P’s : by taking pride in them, preserving them and promoting them.

Whilst in Pakistan, the culture and heritage is dealt with deal with three S’s : feeling shame in associating it with one’s self, shunning it and attempting to separating it from the course of life.

[Bear in mind, I do not mean the foul aspects of Pakistani culture and traditions. ]

Then why burst into flames of anger at other nations who scorn at our culture or country when Pakistanis themselves, fail to ‘recognize’ and embrace their own heritage, culture, roots, language, identity and past ? For if one himself does not respect them, why expect others to?

Hindi today, is in the top 4 most spoken languages of the world and Urdu? Pakistanis, the inheritors of this beautiful language which comprises Turkish, Arabic, Persian and Hindi itself, still hesitate to confabulate in it.

It is strikingly hypocritical, how a local who speaks in ‘broken’ English is met by pityful sighs and an eyeful of eyerolls but when a gora speaks ridiculously-incorrect Urdu, it is viewed to be ‘fascinating and cute’. Sad, to laugh and embarass one’s own while he tries to grasp a component of another culture but to be captivated by another when he tries to grasp our culture.

Culture and language are inextricably entwined or weaved into each other and spurning one’s language is tantamount to disgracing one’s own culture: a major social agency that forms any individual’s identity.

The capacity of this unfounded feeling of inferiority is the touch-stone of a failed people.

I do not condemn the usage of the English language or knowledge of it, but to treat it as some gauge-meter for many an significant things is a plain farce.

Deplorably, this concept is being furthered by many educational institutions and the institution of a family in Pakistan. Elite private schools prefer English as the sole medium of communication, rather some even handle the use of Urdu with strict handling [ Students are reportedly liable to punishment for conversing in Urdu in some of them ]

Families and parents are often seen to place the teaching of English as a priority for their little children while they crawl to reach the stage of learning, instead of Urdu. Its not a rare scene, to see some children in Pakistan with fluent English but terribly poor Urdu.

The abasement of Urdu and the ensurance of its protection, was also what was included in the list of interests of our people [ That later became Pakistanis ] in the pre-partition era and in the championing of the ideology of Pakistan.

To go by history books, it was one of what their identity comprised thus, there is less doubt, that Urdu language was integrant in Pakistan’s emergence.

When the British Imperialists came to the Sub-continent, they tried to foist the ways of their civilization (especially the language) on the people of the region, considering it far more superior than the culture of the people whose land they ruled. It may have inflamed the people of that time to revolt and rebel, but surely it is evident, that the imperialist-instilled constituents of their superiority as a people and all that their race represents and the state of being subaltern of all the natives and what is linked to them – are still obstinately self-retained in our minds; now be that the Gori-Chamri complex or this, Angraizi Complex.

~ Hafsa Khawaja

Fickle and Mausami Pakistani Cricket ‘Fans’, Take A Hike!


After Pakistan lost the Semi-Final of the T20 World-Cup to Australia, majority of Pakistanis started updating their Facebook statuses abusing and cursing our Team while blaming Afridi for the loss. While anger or depression is natural when you are such a nation that sees the face of depair as much as the rising of the Sun every morning and this game is a single reason for us to smile  but what was surprising was the sudden capricious change in the words and emotions of the Pakistani ‘fans’ who showed their despicable attitude of hurling harsh words at our Team players when only moments ago they were showering them with praises until the tide of the game turned against us.

Our people should have accepted the defeat with grace, remembering the blazing performances by the Akmal brothers and the excellent bowling of Muhammad Amir and Abdul Rehman.

As far as Saeed Ajmal’s bowling in the last over is concerned, then I believe he was the right person at the wrong time. Ajmal is being constantly being censured and being held responsible for the ‘win turned defeat’ at the hands of Australians. Let me also remind all those hurling insults at him to revive their amensia-striken brains about his fantabulous performance as a world-class spinner and an exceptional player, proving to be a lethal weapon for us in previous matches to be used against other teams.  He was the highest wicket-taker for Pakistan in this tournament and the 3rd highest wicket-taker for the T20 WC 2010. He himself was considerably heavy-hearted and dysphoric in disbelief at the end of the match.

In my opinion and for me, Team Pakistan is and will always be the centre of my pride and adoration. Yes, our Team may not have performed upto our expectations in this Tournament and they did make mistakes that could have been avoided but no win is forever. Our team did not put up a fight with the Aussies but a battle. They fought like lions and tried their best. No one would ever want to lose on purpose and it should be realized by now that they are all humans and making mistakes is a component of a mortal’s life and so is loosing and winning entwined with a game as are two sides of a coin. We should all acknowledge their efforts and appreciate their attempts on trying to capture the place in the Final.

At the Presentation Ceremony, it was evident that all our players were crest-fallen and dispirited especially our Captain, Afridi. They have alot of mental pressure on them currently and as a nation we should back them and welcome them home warmly.

As for those mausami fans who rarely watch cricket and criticise the Team just for the sake of showing their involvement in the game and their analytical ability, assail national players with insults and those who have too much of an attitude of scornful or jaded negativity infused in them that they can’t take a defeat or appreciate the positive aspects of a picture, I say, take a hike because Pakistan has had enough of pessimists and cynics.

I admit our Team needs restructuring and organizing to be close to what we want them to be but at the end of the day, Team Pakistan will always represent us and at one time or another, be the source of joy and pride for this nation as it has been in the past. What was never meant to be by the will of the Creator can not be ascribed to people. Cursing or humiliating them means we are deriding our own country and our own selves so support your Team in every situation!

Team Pakistan forever!

– Hafsa Khawaja

Updated : Pakistan lost its first match in the Cricket World Cup 2011 today to New Zealand by 110 runs and all of a sudden, all the aforementioned Mausami ‘Fans’ began to pop up like popcorns. Just a few days before when Pakistan won from Canada, Sri Lanka and Kenya – they were screaming with support and this is a shame.

Fans aren’t those who appear when their team is winning but those who support their players in the worst and best of times. All the rest are those who watch the game for sheer entertainment or time pass.

I say, its not the end of the world that they lost. Our Team did not come into the WC with the guarantee of winning every match, we needed this loss to realize that we need to still be working hard. We already lost the World Cup Hosting rights and in just months saw a runaway wicket-keeper along with 3 players guilty of spot-fixing.

We should be proud of our Team who have struggled and performed well despite all the demoralising incidents.

Our Team needs US now!

BLAME KHATMAL BUT SUPPORT YOUR TEAM!

Its Not The Players, Its The Boards Stupid !


Since the arrival of 2010, Pakistan’s hockey and cricket teams have been sliding down a string of defeats. Our Cricket team’s Tour of Australia and our Hockey Team’s performance in the Hockey World Cup, both were indeed disasters. Not only did the shock the nation but crushed their hopes.We must wake up to the fact that there are many factors that contribute to the performances of our teams other than the players. Alot of debate has been going on to determine the reasons for such defeats and most of the time, the players of both teams are blamed and held more responsible than the the Boards who have contributed much to the failure than the players, PHF and PCB.

The PCB has recently stinged the major players of the Cricket Team with bans and fines as ‘punishments’ for the defeats on the Tour of Australia and PHF has sacked the management of the hockey team with the entire Hockey Team tendering their reisgnations after their performance at the World Cup.

While one already knows the situation and state of PCB currently, it is no surprise that PHF is also in a reflecting condition of the cricket board. Qasim Zia, President of the PHF was appointed at this position by the PM through a usual case of bringing relatives and politics in the stream of sports. Asif Bajwa, the Secretary of the Pakistan Hockey Federation, is highly reputed to have come into PHF through his links with an MNA from Sialkot of the ruling party. Bajwa seems to lack the vision to purge the national sport of the country out of its current decline and so far, nothing remarkable from his side has emerged to revive hockey except rumours of his ill-management. It is evident that the state of inertia still persisted in our hockey after the elevation of both Zia and Bajwa to these posts, it is also quite evident that they lack direction, skills and leadership qualities to head the PHF. and should have long resigned after the failures of our Hockey Team.

Shahid Ali Khan, a former Olympian and though a hard-working coach of our team was previously a goal-keeper which is quite a restricted role in the game of hockey. Mr.Khan can not be blamed for a goal-keeper can not have the acumen to coach and that too when the state of the team is already deplorable. Can we expect Salman Akbar, our current goal-keeper to coach the future hockey team of Pakistan? Certainly not.

Our Hockey Players, many of who were playing for a long time, were also decided to be awarded the Central Contracts THIS year, and to get it straight, no player plays to his full potential without the assurance of money to be granted to him to support himself and the deserved respect.

Coming to our cricket board and its famed management that has no such qualifications to be in the management of a sport that is the heart-beat of its nation. The PCB Chairman, Ejaz Butt who played 8 tests in his time from 1959 to 1962 was appointed as the Chairman by President Asif Ali Zardari who is the Patron of Chief of our cricket board [Pakistan is the only country where the President is the Chief of a sports board] on account of his relations with Defence Minister, Ahmed Mukhtar. Butt is neither efficient nor is he capable of running PCB. He seems to have absolutely no knowledge about the game and how to handle the players and the management itself is maladroit.

People like Tauqeer Dar and Abdul Qadir are running private academies for the game of hockey and cricket respectively.
Dar who hails from a family of fine hockey players runs his own ‘Dar Hockey Academy’ in Lahore where any youth can join free of cost and he provides them with all the hockey equipment himself. Coaches are always there to instruct the boys.
Last year, Pakistan’s U1-9 Hockey Team won a Cup of a mega tournament and that team consisted of players who were part of Tauqeer Dar’s academy.

Abdul Qadir also runs his own academy for cricket for youngsters and is a strong critic of those who run the PCB currently.

Both Abdul Qadir and Tauqeer Dar are doing more than just a commendable job for the future of cricket and the latter for the revival of hockey and in producing players that shall take the game to its glorious heights again but as long as the official boards of these games, PHF and PCB are run on the basis of nepotism and politics, the conditions of both hockey and cricket will remain stagnant and exacerbate because that is the result when players are mismanaged and handled by people who lack in skills and knowledge.

It should be realized by now, that to save sports in Pakistan, politics shall be thrown out of it and each appointment should be on the basis of merit.

Hafsa Khawaja