Two words, when combined, can create contradictions. Like “Honest Politicians” or say, “Junk Food”. We don’t associate honesty with politics; if it’s junk, why call it food? These figures of speech called Oxymoron are common to the language. It’s “fairly accurate” (again) to note that we use it without realizing.
One such word is “Cricket Diplomacy”. This Oxymoron erupts only when India meets Pakistan. While the players occupy the field, politicians indulge in a diplomatic ball on the sidelines. And playing ball is difficult than cricket. Cricket has an outcome. The same cannot be said of Indo-Pak diplomacy. It moves from one Gordian Knot to another and each time the tangle is irredeemable.
But it buys time for both sides. We cannot do anything and they won’t do anything. So the best way is to create a safe distance between our “cannot” and their “won’t”. Both sides are happy while those “dossiers” gather dust. Inherently, both sides pray for the problems to bury itself. Politicians are ready to help with the dust. They have considerable stockpiles in their government offices. Well, issues have their strategies too. It buries itself, waiting for an ambush.
India and Pakistan resemble two dogs holding on to the same bone. Both growl and bite and run around in circles. When tired, they leave the stupid bone aside to pant and clean their fleas. Cricket Diplomacy gives them time to sit peacefully, yawn and snap flies. When time’s up, they are refreshed, to haggle over the same bone again.
More than Cricket Diplomacy, we have Prisoner Diplomacy (Another Oxymoron). Imagine, prisoners spending years in Pakistani Jail waiting for an Indo-Pak Semi-finals for a reprieve. Likewise, how many semis and finals do we need to get all our brothers back to our soil? And those prisoners better hurry. If Pakistan loses and they are still hovering on the wrong side of the border, they will be herded back to where they were.
One should not mix drinks. It misfires. I am an expert here. Similarly, is with supporters. That’s why spectators are separated by stands. With what history we have, any mix will cause an exchange of blows.
Then what about our “Cricket Diplomacy” enthusiasts – Manmohan sitting beside Gilani with the Great Wall of China in between? As the game progresses, the Berlin Wall will also make a comeback and add to the high-rise. After a while, Manmohan and Gilani would be like veritable “Anarkali”, entombed within walls and throwing imaginative rocks at each other. I am sure; there would be no Dinner Diplomacy thereafter.
Cricket is Cricket and Diplomacy is Diplomacy and never the twain shall meet. It has not served well in the past, nor shall it in the future. But no harm trying! Probably it’s a ruse to break the ice, exchange pleasantries like boxers shaking hands before the bout. Animalistically, the exercise is to smell each other and mark territory. Then we hand over a few more piles of dossiers and they will claim it’s written in Invisible Ink. Another Oxymoron!
There is always heat and dust before and after any Indo-Pak game. This causes visibility problems. It affects not the Cricketers but our fair-weather politicians. When Australia plays England, it’s called the Ashes Series. When India plays Pakistan, we should name it Dust. Then it will be truly ‘From Ashes to Ashes and Dust to Dust.’ After all, it will all end with empty promises of a new beginning. So, Let us see the Friendly War. (Another Oxymoron)