Category Archives: Sports

The Right to Our Bodies

In a case where the “facts” are both complex and yet also the question at hand, let us start with one that should be undisputed: Pinki Pramanik says she is a woman. She has lived as one, competed as one, and identifies as one. She and no other person or institution – particularly the law or medical science – has the right to decide what her gender identity is regardless of her anatomy, her chromosomes or her hormones. As the investigations against her began, her claim to be a woman should have been accepted at face value regardless of whether narrow judgments of her appearance, manner, physicality or dress led some to believe otherwise.

To add to Nivedita’s post below and track what the Pinki Pramanik case continues to tell us, here is a link to the rest of the Times of India piece cited above that appeared on Monday. The argument I make in that piece has taken a new turn. The gender test results, as reported by the media currently, now say that Pinki is “male” because she has XY chromosome. Yet the report says at the same time that she has “female genital ducts and female external genitalia.” What indeed, then, are we to make of a “conclusive” report that finds Pink to be “male”? The terms and words of the test undo themselves and the underlying assumptions and pathways to the conclusion are far from apparent. If Pink is indeed intersex, then all of these results can stand without the conclusion the report draws of her being “male.” Worth reading are a Journal of American Medical Association article here on Gender Testing and the Olympics, Alice Dreger on sex and gender testing in sports here.

In a national daily this morning, there is a photograph of Pinki. She is taking cooking lessons with her mother in her village. The performance of her gender has begun as her sex is questioned. The only strategy open to her is to now constantly claim all that is uncontestably “woman”: a saree, a pallu over the head, in the kitchen, learning from her mother. Yet again the binaries and essentialisms of our gender identities are reproduced as Pinki tries to erase signs of the apparent “masculinity” of her appearance and behaviour that has driven much of the outrage against her thus far.

Memories of Cricket: Sameer Khan

Guest post by SAMEER KHAN

My 8th standard final exams were nearing and they coincided with the1992 World Cup cricket match between India and Pakistan. It was the most important match for India, much more important than the final – defeating Pakistan was no less than winning the world cup.  As I sat studying in the bedroom, I could hear Ratan’s peculiar whistle, and I rushed to the balcony. It was drizzling, and Ratan stood there in the shelter of the bus stop along with Uday,  smiling sheepishly.

Abbajan  sat on his armchair in the hall, fortunately he seemed to have dozed off watching TV, I sneaked past him. It was still drizzling, I was glad to see that Uday actually carried an umbrella with him. All three of us huddled under the black umbrella as we made our way towards Ratan’s house which was about 15 minutes walking distance from my house.

Continue reading Memories of Cricket: Sameer Khan

Cricket, Azadi and Pakistan: Mir Laieeq Ishtiyaq


As all of India celebrated the well-deserved Indian victory in the cricket world cup finals, the mood in the Kashmir valley was different. Their favourite team was ousted in the semi-final itself. On the eve of the semi-final between India and Pakistan at Mohali, a friend asked on Facebook: “That Kashmiris don’t support the Indian cricket team is well understood, but why is there so much support for Pakistan? Seems INDEPENDENCE IS JUST A MYTH…” There are no simple answers to this question.

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[Pictures taken in Kashmir during the India-Pakistan Mohali semi-final by ISHAN TANKHA for Open magazine.] Continue reading Cricket, Azadi and Pakistan: Mir Laieeq Ishtiyaq

Shiraz Hassan on cricket diplomacy

کرکٹ ڈپلومیسی، تنازعات کے پرامن حل کا عزم

پاکستان اور بھارت کی تریسٹھ سالہ تاریخ تنازعات کی ایک لمبی داستان ہے۔ دونوں ممالک کے تعلقات اس دوران کئی بات انتہائی کشیدگی کا شکار بھی رہے۔ قیام پاکستان اور ہندوستان کی انگریز حکومت سے آزادی کے بعد سے ہی دونوں ممالک کے مابین اعتماد کی فضا قائم نہ ہو سکی۔ اس ضمن میں دونوں ممالک کے مابین پہلا معرکہ 1948ءمیں کشمیر کے محاذ پر ہوا۔ جس کے بعد حالات مزید کشیدگی کی جانب مائل ہوتے گئے۔ 1965ءمیں ایک بار پھر دونوں ممالک کے افواج آمنے سامنے آئیں۔ 65ءکی جنگ کو ابھی چند ہی برس بیتے تھے کہ پاکستان کو 1971ءکے سانحے کا سامنا کرنا پڑا۔ اس جنگ میں پاکستان کو شکست کا خمیازہ دولخت ہونے کی صورت میں بھگتنا پڑا۔ پاک بھارت کے درمیان 1999ء میں کارگل کے محاذ پر بھی فوجیں آمنے سامنے آئیں اور حالات روایتی جنگ کے آغاز کے دہانے تک آپہنچے۔ البتہ موجودہ دور میں ممالک کے سرحدی علاقے اس وقت خاموش ہیں اور امن کی فضاء تیزی سے فروغ پا رہی ہے گویا دونوں ممالک کے سیاسی و دفاعی ماہرین نے تناو ¿ بھرے ماضی سے یہ سبق سیکھ لیا ہے کہ ”جنگ سے نہیں بلکہ امن سے ترقی ممکن ہے۔ “
پاکستان اور بھارت کے سفارتی تعلقات کے استحکام اور امن کے فروغ کے لئے کرکٹ کا کردار بھی نہایت اہم رہا ہے۔ ورلڈ کپ 2011ءمیں دونوں ٹیمیں موہالی کے میدان میں سیمی فائنل میچ میں آمنے سامنے آئیں ۔ پاکستان اور بھارت کی کرکٹ ٹیموں نے 2008ءمیں ہوئے ممبئی حملوں کے بعد ایک دوسرے کے مدمقابل نہیں کھیلا تھا۔ ان دہشت گرد حملوں میں کم و بیش ایک سو پچاس سے زائد افراد ہلاک ہوئے تھے اور بھارت کی جانب سے ان حملوں کے لئے پاکستان کو ذمہ دار ٹھہرایا گیا تھا۔ ممبئی حملوں کے بعد پاکستان اور بھارت کے درمیان تعلقات ایک بار پھر سخت کشیدہ ہوگئے تھے جس میں وقت گزرنے کے ساتھ کمی آئی ہے تاہم بھارتی وزیراعظم من موہن سنگھ کی جانب سے وزیراعظم گیلانی کو موہالی میں میچ دیکھنے کی خصوصی طور پر دعوت دی گئی جسے وزیراعظم نے قبول کیا اور اس عزم کے ساتھ موہالی پہنچے کہ ان کا یہ اقدام نہ صرف پاکستان بھارت کے درمیان پیدا شدہ کشیدگی کو کم کرنے بلکہ خطہ میں مستقل امن و استحکام کے لئے بھی معاون ثابت ہوگا۔ وزیر اعظم گیلانی اور بھارتی وزیراعظم من موہن سنگھ نے ایک ساتھ میچ دیکھا اور مختلف امور پر تبادلہ خیال بھی کیا۔ میچ کے بعد وزیراعظم گیلانی نے خصوصی عشائیے میں بھی شرکت کی جسے پاکستان بھارت کے درمیان بہتر تعلقات کے استحکام اور تنازعات کے حل کی جانب Continue reading Shiraz Hassan on cricket diplomacy

I dont love India but I love cricket: Sudipto Mondal

Guest post by SUDIPTO MONDAL

They don’t love the deftness of a late cut
or the terror of a snorter;
the authority of a cover drive
or the seduction of a flighted one.

They don’t love the smell of spit on leather.
They don’t love one eased through long leg
unless its Deepika Padukone we’re talking about.

They don’t love cricket but they say they love India.

They don’t love Inzamam’s hulking sixes.
They don’t love Hayden’s muscular heaves
or Ponting’s nervous shuffle.

They don’t love Lara because he was
as good as Sachin.
And Kambli was after all just an urchin

They don’t love cricket but they say they love India.

They don’t love the man who cleans their shit.
They don’t love the colleague that eats meat.
They don’t love the ‘backdoor entrant’ who shares their seat.

They don’t love the hungry protestors
who block their path at the height of summer’s heat.
They don’t love the vendor on the street.

They don’t love cricket but they say they love India.

They don’t love the lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders either.
They don’t love the man who puts food on their plate
because he asks for food in turn.

They don’t love them jungle boys
because they wouldn’t give them their hill.

They don’t love the dark ones.
They don’t love the short ones.

They don’t love a nose that lacks precision.
They don’t love circumcision.

They don’t love cricket but they say they love India.

Indians who want Pakistan to win and Pakistanis who want India to win!

To make our point against jingoism.

To say that no one needs a cricket match to prove their patriotism.

To hope the best for those we’re told we should hope the worst for.

Please join this Facebook Event page and ask your friends across the border to do so, too.

Islam Colony Riders vs. Ward 2 Worriers [sic]

You are a young politician in Delhi and you want to make a mark in an area, in a seat. You want to be known, you want to be a leader, you want followers, you want to be taken seriously. You want votes. You have the right kind of Delhi first name – Mahender rather than Mahendra – and an even better surname – who better than a Chaudhary to be your leader? But there would be many Mahender Chaudharys. What can you do? You can get basic work done – permissions and pipelines and land conversions and garbage clean-up. But anyone with the right contacts can do that. Anyone can become a protege of a Congress leader like Yoganand Shastri. In a city like Delhi, in a city of migrants, in a city whose citizens think they have the right to be treated better than the rest of India, in a city that does not seem to be ‘politicised’ like the seemingly distant world of the ‘real’ India, in a city that is a state – how do you begin being taken seriously as someone with political ambitions? One Mahender Chaudhary has this poster put up all over Mehrauli (which was once all there was to Delhi). Check it out: Continue reading Islam Colony Riders vs. Ward 2 Worriers [sic]