Bleed Blue?

The promenade at Worli was swarming with people in blue waving the Indian tricolor. There was chanting and jeering as bikes and cars passed the sea-front, slowing down to partake in the revelry and boisterous merry-making. The vuvuzelas could barely be heard over the shouts and whistles of policemen trying to control the traffic. As the queues outside wine-shops and popular eating joints grew larger by the minute, the sky was set ablaze with fireworks by enthusiastic fans. One could be forgiven for thinking it was Independence Day.

As a nation poured out in the streets, I began to wonder if our sense of national pride was now measured by the antics of a cricket team. I wondered if patriotism had a new definition, one that was measured on the basis of allegiance to cricket and one that bordered on the edge of fanatic jingoism. I wondered and I wondered some more. I thought about Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, who lost his life trying to defend the people of this city, and I wondered if he was a cricket fan.

And as the issues that have dominated the Indian psyche for the past twelve months play second fiddle to the euphoric celebrations and a sweeping sentiment of national pride, we have all lost our touch with what it means to be Indian. It is certainly not about basking in the glory of eleven men wearing blue.

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