Our izzat is attached to a cricket bat

Published: March 7, 2011

There are two occasions when people can be politically incorrect: during a war and during a World Cup.

“Twenty-eight in two overs.”

“What the heck is wrong with the Bangladeshi bowlers?”

“Commentators are asking the same thing. Now, should we order pizza or Chairman Mao?”

“India will make 300 as usual and Bangladesh will only manage to get to 50, so let’s watch something else…”

“You guys, shut up! Yes, hello, one Manchurian, two chowmeins — IT’S AN OUT!”

This is how a typical conversation goes around world cup time. Some can be rather interesting though:

“Check out the Bangladeshi captain’s shades!”

“Poser, scene on.”

“I’m sorry, but Bangladeshis can’t pose. They’re just not cool enough. They’re not even ‘kewl’, ok?”

“Dude, you know what’s really funny? Indians acting cool. How can you possibly act cool with a name like Harbhajan?”

“Sri Lankan names beat them all, yaar. Wonder how they keep a straight face when talking to each other.”

“Hey, remember that bechara English guy? Sidebottom? LOL at that!”

If you’re stunned at the blatant racism, remind yourself that there are only two occasions when people can be politically incorrect and completely get away with it: during a war and during a World Cup.

People are betting on the victors and tallying run rates, skipping work (in our case tuitions) just to watch the highlights, but nobody seems to register exactly what they’re saying in the process.

Someone in the school corridor yells: “Did you guys notice that on average the Canadian team was like 10 times darker than the Pakistani team? Not a single gora!”

“Did you see the slow-motion shot they took? The Canadians were shouting Urdu gaaliyaan at our team. How pathetic.”

“Thank God our ‘boiiizz’ won. That’s what you desis get for migrating!”

What makes a World Cup so special? What makes people drag out stereotypes and stretch them to the maximum and beyond? “Well of course he couldn’t catch it, he’s an Indian! Stupid vegetarian, doesn’t have the energy to jump like us meat-eating Pakistanis.”

Cue: hysterical laughing and lots of ‘That’s why Partition happened’ jokes. What is going on here? Why are these not isolated comments but perfectly legitimate conversations that happen every four years — actually, no. That take place every time there’s a match between us and our immediate neighbors? It’s like we have this tragic need to justify ourselves, to preserve our pride. Perhaps we do treat our World Cup like war. Perhaps that’s why we go into a national state of mourning when we lose.

I probably didn’t care about it earlier — it’s a game, damnit, just hit the ball and run for your life. But it’s oh-so-easy to crack jokes about dark Indians and oddball Bangladeshis on a Saturday morning with your friends, to realise it wouldn’t kill us to stop worrying about our bayizzati all the time.

Meiryum Ali

Meiryum Ali

A freshman at an ivy league school who writes a weekly national column in The Express Tribune called "Khayaban-e-Nowhere".

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://wasioabbasi.wordpress.com Wasio Ali Khan Abbasi

    Good humor Meiryum, keep it up :)Recommend

  • http://www.6la8.com Confused

    We have a lot to vent about and the world cup provides an easier transition I guess. Why not hate the world if it hates you? Thats probably the thought pattern here.Recommend

  • http://tariq-aziz.blogspot.com Tariq

    salaam . Just read the title of your blog and would like to say it a “Izzat” as either in a sense it no way a Izzat or even it is more than a izzat thing as in our context….Recommend

  • http://www.sportpulse.net Muqeet

    Whats the point of your article? racism or our passion for cricket?Recommend

  • http://www.pakium.com Danish

    This is some excellent stuff. Maryam, you simply nailed it :)Recommend

  • http://www.bonfriends.org/2011/02/16/the-purpose-of-life/ Selina Gilani – Relationship

    useless and ridiculous article maryam. Please grow upRecommend

  • Abdus Samad

    These kind of ‘very personal’ racist thinking should never be a part of a newspaper.Recommend

  • ayaz

    everything is fair in love and war…war is just begin….just leave for atleast two months…:PRecommend

  • http://islamabad Maryam

    good humor…enjoyed the piece..keep writing…Recommend

  • A

    please explain to me WHAT she nailed?
    I have no freakn idea what the point of that “article” was. can’t even call it one, was more like a sequence of words and phrases…Recommend

  • Amer

    I have never ever heard these kinda comments when watching a cricket match! You must be hanging out with the wrong kinda people! Recommend

  • Atif

    ….and what??
    oh comon let people enjoy cricket and keep your blogging attempts away from it, like Hamna was not enough. You dont understand the sport and you can only end up with such observations. grow up!
    @danish : yeah rightRecommend

  • Maria

    Sad but true. But not only the World Cup but all television events sometimes become an excuse for Pakistanis to make fun of other races. I find the stereotypes of other South Asians races childish and asinine but typical: cowardly Bangladeshis, skinny weak Indians, dark Tamils, lazy Afghanis but to make fun of the Canadians of South Asian backgrounds is just off the mark. Most of them may be Indian but how many in Pakistan know that some Indians migrated to Canada before India became a country in 1947? Why can’t people learn to watch the game and enjoy the sport even if their team loses?Recommend

  • siddiqui


    he meant the last nail in the coffin of decency…

    the writer seem to be living among racists…
    and the carelessness which she writes, suggests
    that she might destroy her young mind as well…
    i feel sorry for her already…

    fundamentalism destoryed europe in middle ages…
    racism destroyed it again in the last century…
    we have them both in our country…
    God help us…Recommend

  • Hussam

    I was wondering if Express Tribune’s entire arsenal of ‘bloggers’ consists of immature A-Level students.

    After reading this, I guess it does.

    Hey Meiryam. I’m not sure what sort of people you hang out with, but nobody’s very interested in hearing what you have to say here. Partly because it has no point, and partly because it’s terribly boring. Recommend

  • http://saidcanblog.blogspot.com Said Chaudhry

    again?! You’ve got to be kidding!! If its not stereotyping, it’s the racism. What is it with you? “dark Indians”? geez.Recommend

  • Waleed Khan

    Did you just quote some conversation you were having with your ‘girlfriends’ at school ?Recommend

  • Alapan

    I have always seen Pakistanis making racist comments on Indians…

    thank u meiryum for this blogRecommend

  • Farid Malik

    I am sorry but this was not humorous at all. Pointless.Recommend

  • PK Expat

    didn’t really get the point of this article. seemed a little childish. Recommend

  • Abdul

    lol Good one. Have fun. Fun is life. Recommend

  • Asif

    The person written it is not intelligent. Indians and Bangladeshis don’t get bombed by drones. They don’t beg for aid from US and hand over their own people, And black!! lol See your own face most of them are more beautiful than you. Recommend

  • Saad Durrani

    rolls eyes

    Pretends that this never happened.Recommend

  • Nayab

    Hey, this was Extremely Funny!.. lOl, Cracked me up a Couple of times.Recommend

  • Antriksh

    “………. the Canadian team was like 10 times darker than the Pakistani team?Not a single gora!
    “………..easy to crack jokes about dark Indians…..”

    What are you Ms.Black Mariyam?Your article is crap.
    Just visit any western country[if you can afford],and see how they kick you out seeing our green passport and “black skin”.Recommend

  • Henna Khan

    It was pretty amazing until I reached the last two paragraphs where it completely lost its impressiveness………These are just jokes for God’s sake……….and
    @some Indian who said that Pakistanis always make racist comments about Indians……..well lolzzzzzzzz at you, coz today I finally know that how highly Indians think of us Pakistanis…………Recommend

  • parvez

    The cricket scene as a seventeen year old girl with a sense of humour would view it.
    I rather liked the write up but could not understand the frumpy comments made by most.Recommend

  • Atif

    you should see what the europeans do for football and especially the words they use. you are just trying to write bout cricket because its something happening, you have no idea about wcRecommend

  • Malik Nasir

    What was it ??? Recommend

  • JS

    What’s the point of this article? Either I am too dumb or the writer is too smart. The jokes are offensive and insulting. This has to be one of the worst articles I have read on Express Tribune blogs.Recommend

  • K

    at Everyone who is questioning the blogger on her choice of topic well

    * NEWS FLASH *

    this is a BLOG, all most like a diary entry, so it can be about anything, the writer is not reporting any hard facts or statistics. Please just grow up and stop looking for NEWS and ARTICLES in the Blog section, and take it like it is meant to be. a light read.Recommend

  • Shaila

    Dear Meiryum, please stop commenting on your blog using different alias’. If you have any self respect, kindly stop writing all together and save everyone’s time. You need a reality check kiddo. Recommend

  • Tippu

    Hahahahhaha. Good one.
    Loved the comments and convo. Sounds like fun was had all around. Which is what its all about in the end.Recommend

  • bilal danish

    i think cricket is taken tooo seriously !! but … soccer is also taken more seriously then we take cricket in soccer countrys . .. but i guess this is what brings 1 country together!! see we all are talk about cricket these days!! Recommend

  • Asffend Aahmed

    lot of other issues need to pen down rather than writing such……..
    And see the comments……more than the column itself…… lolzzzRecommend

  • Anum

    that was reallyy reallyyy immature.and by no chance pakis comemnt on colour during matches..c’mon ..! grow up girl !Recommend

  • Anjum Hameed

    Laughed myself silly over this!..YES, the conversations are racist and mean..the blogger has written the truth re the talk that goes on amongst people watching a match on TV..this is a ‘reportage’ of Pakistanis speaking, right?..well my friends, lets get a sampling of talk by Indians or Bangladeshis or British or Australians..do NOT try to tell me its not going to be full of racist and mean remarks, ok??..we are all the same..and if some holier-than-thou, upstanding citizen wants to disagree, go back and think over your life..however will someone tell me what the point of this blog is?.. Recommend

  • The only Indian here

    There are more fair people in North India alone than the entire Pakistan.

    There are more non-vegetarians in India than in Pakistan.

    Bangladeshis are not coward, because they had the courage and endurance to confront the Taliban who were trying to set up a base in Bangladesh under Khaleda Zia’s govt., unlike the majority of the Pakistanis who doesn’t even have the balls to raise voice against the fundamentalists.

    So, whats the fuss all about ?? Recommend

  • http://www.twitter.com/shahangilani Shahan

    I like how its different from most articles. Recommend

  • Marium

    My name is also Marium but I’m a big girl and you seems like immature.Please grow up and write something that had substance.

  • A

    What Are u on?Recommend

  • A


  • Saad Durrani

    @The only Indian here:
    Dude, be mature. She is only 16. She is just joking. It is a pointless point.Recommend

  • Saad Durrani

    NEWS FLASH 2.0
    This is a blog hosted on a NEWS website. People come here to see analysis. For diary entries, there is Blogspot, WordPress, Typepad, Twitter with Twitlonger, tumblr, Posterous, Facebook Notes… and countless other places.Recommend

  • someshwar

    very childish blog, 16 -17 age is good age to get good knowlage. she is a mature one. but after reading the blog ‘ ANTI- INDIAN ‘ SMELLs through it. How you allow your youth to waste their time in such non sence act… Who told ‘vegeterians’ have less power than meet eaters. tell her the story of ELEPHANT and TIGER . MAKE HER BESIC KNOWLEDGE GOOD. LOVE HUMANS. BORDERS ARE FOR SECURITY.Recommend

  • Qasim

    do u even know what cricket is?
    its the only thing that unites us except islam. given our stint with islam, i prefer cricket anyday.
    whats your age, 10 or 12? don’t make fun of what’s dear to this nation, we’ve taken enough. sit back and enjoy and hope we dance together once again when our boys lift it in mumbai.Recommend

  • The only Indian here

    Saad Durrani – I didnt know maturity level in Pakistani youths is attained post 16-17. No wonder why you people still believe in conspiracy theories !!Recommend

  • Khan

    nothing wrong with the article… its a well written article. people cant do something and if someone else does it, they criticize him/her. She is 16 and she is writing for a News web, why don’t you guys(who are criticizing her ) present us with your words of wisdom or at least tell us what were you doing when you were 16.

    in fact we do make comment on cricket,Indian team, some player or Indian people in general, like Indians people are black(to the level when they start sweating you just want to run away from them). and Indians are vegetarians for which we make fun of them.

    @The only Indian here

    and in your country people start writing philosophical papers at the age of 10. Recommend

  • Antriksh

    @khan…lol you’re typical muzzie got shagger.Recommend

  • Atif

    @The Only Indian here: lol, Is this what you call growing up? (http://tinyurl.com/indiasyouth)
    and btw you r not the only indian here, there are alot on ET, indians are epidemic. Arent we the ones fighting with the taliban, leave the decision about our good and bad taliban to ourselves. You must get your grown dudes to your waters to find kasabs, umm may be they are busy proving their maturity. alas!Recommend

  • Grace

    @The only Indian here: You seem to be overly incensed by the silly jokes made by people. Don’t tell me that Indians, Sri Lankans and Bengalis don’t make jokes against Pakistanis too. All over the whole people have sterotypes of other nations, especially neighbours. As for your rebuttal that there are more non vegetarians in India, you do a disservice to all the Indians who choose to follow a classic Indian vegetarian diet which has clear health benefits if done properly. The whole world knows that Hinduism supports vegetarianism and yes most Indians are vegetarians. Rather than say being a vegetarian isn’t bad, you fly off and say there are lots of non vegetarians in India! As for claiming that there are more fair skinned people in India, most people know that the native races of Pakistan are generally fairer and taller than most native Indian races because of its geography, history and race influence. Yes there are lots of darker skinned people in Karachi who migrated there from India but why must you even fall for the trap about dark and light skinned Asians and races. Again you do a disservice to the vast majority of Indians who are dark skinned compared to native Pakistanis. Don’t let it bother you.Recommend

  • Alisa Ispahany

    Yes, the world cup really is war, and there is nothing more exhilarating, trilling and/or important in life than a Pak-India match. However Meiryum, I really think you’re hanging out with the wrong crowd.Recommend

  • The only Indian here

    @ Grace – India does not mean Hinduism only. It is equally proud of Muslim and Christians and other religions as well. So, ensure whether you are cracking jokes on Indians or Hindus specifically. Moreover, Hinduism do not support veg diet. Shiva and Kali devotees are very much non-veggies. Infact Goddess Kali is even offered meat as Prasad. However, Krishna devotees are veggies. It seems you haven’t studied balanced diet in Science paper in your school. Veg-Non veg combo with fruits and milk is the best form of nutrition.

    I just provided statistics to say that if a Pakistani is making a joke on any Indian on a particular point which she thinks that the Indian lacks then jokes on the above mentioned points doesn’t fit. My object of providing the stats was to say that EVEN IF Pakistanis think they are superior on those lines then also WE COUNT more than them.

    I am also not doing any disservice to dark Indians as I understand the difference between being beautiful and being fair. Thats why we have six Miss Universe and World (combined) and Pakistan have none, inspite of being fair and tall … lol.

    If you go to Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu you will find women who are no less than 5 ft 8 to 5 ft 10. Men are more taller. Come to Amritsar or Haryana and you will see how tall men are. Remember all Pakistanis were Hindus at one point of time since Hinduism in the Indian sub-continent took its birth in Sindh. Rig Veda (the most ancient religious text in the world was written in Pakistan). At that time there was no Prophet Mohammad. lol. So, should I say if you are cracking jokes on Hindus then indirectly you are making fun of your ancestors ?

    Lastly, it doesn’t bother me if you crack a joke on us Indians because the entire world find Pakistanis to be a nuisance. lol. You joke on the stupid performance of any Indian cricketer or IPL controversy, I will agree with you. I myself being a great fan of Imran Khan and Saeed Anwar will not like if Indians crack jokes on Pakistanis on silly grounds. So cheers and enjoy WC !! And even if u joke on Indians after this then introspect yourself first.Recommend

  • talal

    true…….very trueRecommend

  • salman

    @The only Indian here

    1) as per your country’s official statistics 75-80% people of india are hindu and the same percentage is reflected in every walk of life, like, your cricket team. so generalization in this case is not unfair. btw non-veg does not mean “no vegetable at all”, so its perfectly balance.

    2) yes there is difference between being beautiful & fairer. so whats your point?? you are black but beautiful!!!! FAIL. there is a world outside bollywood, which is called reality, get out of bollywood bubble and face reality. Pakistan has not won any beauty contest because we have never participated in any of them.

    3) go there and watch, come here and see…blah blah.. stop trying hard with your lame explanations. i find your history and geography very confused when you say ALL Pakistanis have hindu ancestors.historically indus river used to be the border line of Indian subcontinent. 2 of our 4 provinces belong to difference races altogether. Race and religion are different things. Islam is a diverse religion which includes people from different races. as for race is concerned, those were the people of current day Pakistan who created one of the earliest (indus valley) civilization and they were who injected superior genes into your part of indian subcontinent and some later contribution from afghans & Turks. they might be the reason for 1% fair skin people in India(ofcourse not your African ancestors).Recommend