Bettin on Bharat

The Pakistan cricket team continues to play a crucial role in diplomacy, by giving Narinder Modi the sort of results that he wants from Pak-India matches. However, the Indian and Sri Lankan teams are continuing their treason to Imran by throwing away their wickets to Shaheen Afrisdi, thereby increasing the chances of him getting on the same page that Imran once found himself on.

However, another good reason for Pakistan going down to St Lanka in the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup, and thus failing to set up a Pak-India final in the Asia Cup, is that Pakistan couldn’t afford the outflow of dollars. Look, there’s a lot of patriotic betting in Pak-India matches. That means a lot of Pakistani losses whenever Pakistan loses, and that means dollars going to India to settle the accounts. No ,atch, no dollars going abroad.

And you know, the sight of a betting website’s ad on PTV during an Asia Cup match made me remember that the deal had between struck when Rameez Raja had been PCB chief. Now Rameez had played in the era when Pak-India matches at Dubai had seen the peak of tad an h recently the Bombay Bookies, or rather the Mumbai Matchfixers.

I suppose the final has meant a lot of air travel, but I wonder how much has been taking place on Indigo Airlines, which had experienced an odd incident recently, when a woman passenger was groped on a Mumbai-Guwahati flight, while the lights were dimmed. The fellow was caught and handed over to the Assam police on landing. I don’t suppose many female passengers expect to be groped while travelling by air, and I don’t suppose many men expect to be arrested while travelling on the country’s largest domestic airline.

Neither the groper nor his victim gave out any position on the Bharat vs India debate. The country has both names according to its Constitution, but recently the controversy was revived when the invitation to the ceremonial dinner at the G20 summit in New Delhi was made by the ’President of Bharat’, not the ‘President of India’. And at the Summit itself, Narebdra Modi sat behind a name plate saying ‘Bharat’. Not India.

It’s not a new idea. The BJP was said it before. India is the name given by the colonial master. Actually, the British got it from the Latin. The Arabs call the land Hind. That’s because the Sanskrit word for ‘river’ is Sindh. Well, the first bid river you meet when foreign invaders crossed into India was the Indus.

Well, we’ve already got a province named after the Indus, Sindh. Aitzaz Ahsan, who’s pretty bright, even if he isn’t sure which party he’s in, has argued pretty convincingly that Pakistan is the land of the ’Indus Man’, being watered by the Indus or its tributaries. The Indus is one of the Five Rivers making up the Punjab, so apart from Sindh, Punjab  can also claim to be Sind.

So if India does give up the name, and I don’t see why it shouldn’t (It’s estimated to cost $2.3 billion, though), would we be interested in the name? Between you and me, I don’t think so. We’ve been Indians only since the 1840s (before that, we were either part of the Siikh Kingdom, or under the Talpur Nawabs), and in 1947, we saw a decade of struggle culminate in our effort not be part of India, so we became Pakistan. The only motive for claiming the name would be because we wanted to do India, or rather Bharat, down. I’m not sure that will justify the expense.

Speaking of place names, the Maghreb is the Arabic for North Africa west of Egypt. It’s been in trouble this week, with an earthquake in Morocco and a storm in the Libyan port of Derna, with more than 4000 dead and another 9000 missing. Libya isn’t exactly known for storms, but one burst the dams ironically built to protect Derna. And the result was devastation. Actually, more people have been killed than the earthquake in Morocco, where 2000 have been killed.



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