Centurion Usman Khawaja ‘sufferer of BJP bigotry’ – World

NEW DELHI: The truth that Australian batsman Usman Khawaja was initially denied an Indian visa due to his Pakistani origins has been blamed on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Occasion (BJP) by Australian sports activities writers and Indian cricket lovers alike.

That Khawaja cracked a century on the first outing at Ahmedabad, the place the prime ministers of India and Australia took an uncommon lap of honour, was solely a bittersweet consequence, mentioned historian Ramchandra Guha in an interview with Karan Thapar on Saturday.

Prof Guha, a well-regarded cricket historian too, was commenting on the remarks by Malcolm Conn in The Sydney Morning Herald, slamming the denial of visa to Khawaja.

“When a well-regarded sports activities author displays on the perspective of India’s ruling occasion and its ecosystem towards Muslim sportspersons, it ought to make everybody sit up and take be aware,” wrote M.Okay. Venu in The Wire.

Australian author slams Indian govt for cricketer’s ‘maltreatment’ over Pakistani roots

“Conn of The Sydney Morning Herald has introduced out the wealthy irony of Usman Khawaja’s sensible century on day one of many fourth Take a look at match between India and Australia, which began after the well-choreographed chariot trip across the stadium by PM Narendra Modi, accompanied by his Australian counterpart,” The Wire report mentioned.

Mr Guha mentioned the remedy of Khawaja was “vicious and spiteful … and exhibits India in a poor mild”. He added it “shames us … belittles us,” Prof Guha informed Thapar.

Conn mentioned two standout performances on the primary day had been by Usman Khawaja, who scored a century, and from Mohammed Shami on the Indian facet, who took two out of 4 wickets. “Sadly, each Khawaja and Shami have been targets of bigotry flowing from the Hindu nationalist ecosystem in India,” The Wire reported.

With out mincing his phrases, Conn states that the “Hindu nationalist” authorities of the BJP sees “Khawaja not as considered one of Australia’s most interesting cricketers however as a Muslim born in Pakistan”.

Khawaja was initially refused a visa by the Indian authorities and couldn’t journey with the Aussie cricket workforce on Feb 1. Solely later, after the Australian cricket administration intervened, did Khawaja get his visa.

“The truth that PM Modi was planning a triumphal chariot present could have helped Usman Khawaja get his visa after a delay. However the first intuition was to reject his visa utility,” The Wire mentioned.

“So Khawaja’s century has immense significance, scored at a venue in Gujarat named after Narendra Modi. It is usually his first Take a look at century in India. On the time of writing, he was nonetheless forcefully making a degree with 180 runs on board. Certainly, Khawaja has been the perfect performing batsman for Australia throughout this sequence, even on pitches which favour spinners.”

The Wire mentioned together with his sensible efficiency, Khawaja could have unwittingly offered a sure company to the thousands and thousands who really feel very strongly in regards to the divisive politics hurting India at the moment. Pakistani cricket commentators who had been widespread with Indian audiences have disappeared on account of the Indian ruling occasion’s bigotry.

And sadly, such developments have touched even sports activities writers distant in Australia.

Malcolm Conn not solely empathises with Usman Khawaja but in addition expresses nice solidarity with Mohammed Shami, who has been focused by right-wing trolls in India on occasion. He recollects how Shami was focused for India’s loss towards Pakistan within the T-20 World Cup finals 18 months in the past, and captain Virat Kohli got here out strongly in his help.

“Focusing on somebody for his faith is probably the most pathetic factor {that a} human being can do. They haven’t any understanding of how a lot effort we placed on the sector… They haven’t any understanding of the truth that somebody like Shami has gained India matches in the previous few years,” Kohli had mentioned.

Printed in Daybreak, March twelfth, 2023

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