This article has been submitted by Prachi Pahuja for the CLATGyan Blog Post Writing Competition. If you think it’s a good read, ‘Like’ the article on Facebook (the button is at the bottom of this piece) or post a comment using the ‘Comments’ section below.
“Sweat trickled down the faces of Indians all over the world. Their eyes and hearts dallied for that moment, which would’ve defined their generation and it could well turn out to be a moment that they could brag about to their children. The tension and anxiety had gripped them in a way which was next to in-explainable, or rather contagious. As Nuwan Kulasekara, the little Sri Lankan bowling star commenced his run up down the other end, every Indian, young or old had his heart in his mouth. The delivery was pitched in the good length area, with speed of almost how he usually bowled. The messiah, the Indian captain, MS Dhoni, the boy from Ranchi who once dreamt of the moment that unfolded next, swung his bat in his authoritative stride. The cherry struck the bat, only to emit a pleasing sound to the ear and launched itself into the starry, moonlit and gazing sky of the city, that never sleeps- Mumbai. As the ball kissed the turf of the Wankhede Cricket Ground and landed with a thud, the pandemonium kicked off in an instant. And this was the moment all Indians, regardless of whether they were Hindus, Muslims, Christians or Sikhs waited for two decades.
Moments such as this are etched in the memories of all Indians, aren’t they? While, they may well be viewed as a victory in a famed tournament, but at the same time, also has an another facet- It was something which united all Indians present on the surface of this Earth.
It’s almost needless to highlight the diversity, that our nation often boasts off in proud way. In fact, the phrase ‘Unity in Diversity’ speaks volumes for itself and the cultural diversity India possesses. But the term ‘unity’ doesn’t seem to make any wee bit of sense in the context of our world. The world which houses almost uncountable amount of cultures is often condemned for being inhabited by them, plain and simple. Our day experiences in schools are a perfect example for such actions. I’ve seen football fans in schools and places act in a rather racist way many a time. For example, whenever I mention Patrice Evra, the Juventus player in front of someone who hates him, the reply is “Oh, that n****r”. And my answer is “You racist!” Let me tell you, even I don’t take a liking towards Evra, but if you don’t like the look of him, are you supposed to talk in such a way? What has inculcated this racist attitude into our minds? Nationalities and boundaries. That’s how our world is slowly assuming itself to be.
In a world where every aspect of life is demarcated just because someone belongs to a loathed culture, sports is something which throws all cultures, nationalities, and religions out of the fray and unites us all. “Sport has the power to change the world”, Mandela said in a speech in around 2000. “It has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.” A statesman, Mandela didn’t just have brushes with sports, or occasional appearances timed only for political gain. He embraced them wholeheartedly – football, cricket, rugby, boxing, track and field, among others. And, by many accounts, with their celebration of humanity and how they unite teammates, fans and countries in triumph and, sometimes in despair. At one time in his youth, Mandela cut an impressive figure as an amateur boxer.
The picture above serves as a testimony to the fact that sport is not just about glory, it’s about the coming together of masses of differing cultures and striving to accomplish a common feat. The players in there belong to almost all the linguistic lines that exist in our world. Spanish speaking, English speaking, Portuguese speaking, Czech speaking or Serb speaking, the players don’t ask each other things. What they care about is winning and doing the best for the fans of the team and for the team itself. They play together, laugh together, eat together and win together. It ensures that people, irrespective of their religion have something to enjoy and celebrate, and mourn when lost but all that happens together.