Shahid Afridi holds up mirror to Virat Kohli, Gautam Gambhir on why message of humanity is more important than fake nationalism


India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday applauded former Pakistani cricketer Shahid Afridi for his reported comments on Kashmir and Pakistan’s inability to manage its own internal affairs.

Speaking to reporters Rajnath Singh said, “He has spoken the truth. Pakistan is indeed not able to manage its four provinces, how can it manage Kashmir? Kashmir is an integral part of India.”

In a viral video of the 38-year-old former Pakistani captain’s address to students in the British parliament, Afridi had said, “I say Pakistan doesn’t want Kashmir. Don’t give it to India either. Let Kashmir be independent. At least humanity will be alive. Let people not die… Pakistan doesn’t want Kashmir… It can’t even manage its four provinces…What is the big thing is insaaniyat(humanity). People who are dying there, it is painful. Any death, be it from any community, is painful.”

However, after seeing his comments receiving considerable media attention, Afridi took to Twitter to issue a clarification while reiterating his call to care about humanity. He wrote, “My comments are being misconstrued by Indian media! I’m passionate about my country and greatly value the struggles of Kashmiris. Humanity must prevail and they should get their rights.

“My clip is incomplete & out of context as what I said before that is missing.Kashmir is unresolved dispute & under brutal Indian occupation. It must be resolved as per UN resolution. Myself along with every Pakistani support Kashmiri freedom struggle. Kashmir belongs to Pakistan.”

The controversy aside, Afridi has help up a mirror to Indian cricketers such as Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir highlighting that standing up for humanity that pushing the agenda of fake nationalism was more important.

Likes of Kohli and Gambhir have left no stone unturned in contributing to the politics of hatred with their divisive social media posts in the past. Not too long ago, Indian captain Virat Kohli had asked one of his fans to leave India after he said that he admired batsmen from England and Australia more than Indians.

Gambhir has time again faced public condemnation for his social media posts on Kashmir, widely viewed as unbecoming of a former national cricketer. He had seemingly crossed all boundaries last year when he invented a dangerous definition of the three colours present in India’s national flag. He had written, “His next tweet read, “Anti-Indians hav forgotten dat our flag also stands 4: saffron – fire of our anger, white – shroud for jihadis, green – hatred 4 terror.”

An Australian blogger Dennis Freedman had even termed Gambhir a ‘verbal terrorist.’

What Afridi has done is extraordinary since he has not cared about the potential backlash his comments may evoke in his own country. India’s pro-government media is nimble-footed in hailing Afridi, but the same media outlets would have reacted differently had these comments were uttered by an Indian player.