March 22, 2003
Indian Muslim Council-USA (www.imc-usa.org), a Washington based advocacy group working toward safeguarding Indian society’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, congratulates the Indian Cricket team on their marvelous performance so far in the Cricket World Cup. “We wish them the Best for the world Cup Final to be held on this Sunday, the 23rd of March and hope that they will not only regain the cup and the glory of Cricket but will also regain the honor of the nation that was lost when the land of Gandhi was taken over by those who killed him” said Dr. Shaik Ubaid, IMC-USA President.
This World Cup has seen many an old records shattered and new heights of fame and performance achieved. But long after the most talked about performances have been forgotten, one noble deed of courage will continue to shine, immune to the passage of time, and be a beacon to the players and spectators alike.
The courageous protest against political tyranny by Henry Olonga and Andy Flower of Zimbabwe, undertaken at the risk to their lives, will continue to inspire young aspiring stars and the established superstars alike. This is the standard that the Indian team must strive to reach and beat. For the tyranny Henry Olonga, now in hiding, was protesting pales into insignificance when compared to the evil now gaining strength in India. This world cup is being played in the month of the first anniversary of the Gujarat genocide. It was in the month of March 2002, that Gujarat, the state where Mohandas Gandhi was born saw Hindu extremists mobs, espousing the fascist ideology of Hindu-supremacy (Hindutva) burn little boys and gang rape hundreds of young girls before their parents. Pregnant women had their bellies slit open and the full term unborn infants torn from the sanctuary of their mothers wombs and flung into fire. More than 2000 people were thus brutally burnt or hacked to death and more than 200, 000 rendered homeless.
A year has passed and yet the killers roam free, threatening more genocide’s and more ethnic cleansing. They openly vow to “cleanse” India of its hundreds of millions of Muslims and Christians and to cremate India’s secular constitution in the funeral pyre lit by religious hatred. By protesting against the tyranny of Hitler-loving Hindutva-fascists, the cricket players of India will gain a fame so illustrious and so long-lasting that no amount of accumulated dust of time will be able to dampen its luster.
IMC-USA hope that this Sunday when the Indian Cricket team takes to the field, in the land of South Africa – where Gandhi launched his struggle against oppression – for the highest laurel in Cricket, they will be wearing black arm bands of protest and defiance. Indian captain Sourav Ganguly and the Superstar batsman Sachin Tendulkar must show the spirit of noble warriors and take on the demons of religious and political tyranny with the same resolve they take on the opponent bowlers but only with more contempt.
We hope that they will rise to this occasion and wish them success in the game of Cricket and the reality of life.
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