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England had it all, Allah as well!

In self-declared liberal India, "Abide with me" can be brutally excluded from the Beating Retreat ceremony; but Britain has no problem in recognising Diwali with none other than its incumbent Prime ministers taking the lead in celebrating it! Despite its imperialist history or recent Brexit, England still remains the most liberal and open-minded society in the whole world where quality and humanity are allowed to don the highest chair by overriding all silly borders of colour, religion or race.

ByKajal Chatterjee

Updated 6 Feb 2022, 8:50 am

(Representational Image: Unsplash)
(Representational Image: Unsplash)

Indeed as far as respect towards multiculturalism is concerned, Britain/England simply leads from the front.
 
A look at the World Cup winning English cricket team of 2019 itself will prove the liberalism of the country.  An Irishman. A South African. A New Zealander. A man from Barbados. Another boasting  of Pakistani parentage! And these five formed part of a playing 11 in a cricket match resembling a composite World XI team playing in some sort of an unofficial charity match! Persons physically/ethnically hailing from all possible corners of the globe with continents ranging from Europe to Africa, Australia to America to Asia --- all forming an integral part of a single national team namely ENGLAND! 

Yes we are talking of Irishman Eoin Morgan, South African Jason Roy, Kiwi Ben Stokes, Barbadian Jofra Archer and Adil Rashid of ethnic Pakistani stock! All played unitedly with a single mission of making England the world champion in Lords by rising above all narrow parochial boundaries of national background, ethnicity, continental barrier, religion, race and colour! Not to forget Moeen Ali, of Pakistani roots, sitting in the dressing room! 

Can such racial religious continental conglomeration with an all-embracing mindset be imagined in any cricket team of the world ? It is indeed difficult to keep a count of Black/coloured cricketers of Caribbean/South Asian descent(home-bred or migrants) who have been allowed the privilege of representing England in international cricket and also displaying their skills in County cricket.

Just a cursory look at the state of affairs of the world will clearly reveal that divisive forces are increasingly making their presence felt around the globe with political parties and leaders spewing hatred against co-citizens of minority vintage --- be it in ethnic linguistic or religious terms. And the more they indulge in such racism, the more they are capturing the imagination of the people with the hatred-mongers promoted to the seat of governance. Yes, in such a deeply polarised world, only a handful of countries are trying earnestly to guide their respective societies towards racial/religious egalitarianism with England/UK prominently featuring in the forefront.

Despite its imperialist history or recent Brexit, England/Britain still remains the most liberal and open-minded society in the whole world where quality and humanity are allowed to don the highest chair by overriding all silly borders of colour, religion or race. And this is the reason why despite an undercurrent of Islamophobia and not so uncommon bombings/terrorist attacks in England with the sponsors often being people of Islamic vintage; Sadiq Khan, coloured son of an Asian/ Pakistani Muslim bus conductor, dons the post of London Mayor through popular vote! Neither his colour nor migrant ancestry, nor his religion nor parental social background; rather Khan's quality was judged the one and only determinant factor behind his elevation to the Mayoral post of UK capital!

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Let's compare it with the 2017 Gujarat Assembly election. Just a few days prior to the last phase of polls, none other than a very high profile leader always wearing his "nationalism" on his sleeve, spoke of a "nexus"  between Congress and Pakistan to install Ahmed Patel as the Chief Minister of Gujarat if Congress wins the polls! Even a layman can conclude that a wave of antipathy towards Congress was trying to be generated by stoking the fear of Patel as potential Chief Minister! Now isn't Ahmed Patel a son of Gujarat as well as that of India! Why can't he be the Chief minister of the state! For his Islamic vintage despite living in a Constitutionally secular multi-religious nation! But in far away European England, ethnically Pakistani Sadiq Khan's religion is not an issue at all by any yardstick! 

Yes, despite a bit of racism here and there, England is steadily climbing the height of humanity and liberalism which rarely gets witnessed in other parts of the globe. So we have come to know that prior to the victory celebration, through a champagne shower, after winning the 2019 World Cup; Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid had left the dressing room for religious reasons! No, the Britishness or patriotism of the duo didn't get questioned for it! This is called respect towards human rights and diversity.

In contrast, acceptance or rejection of "Jai Shri Ram" is being zealously projected as a yardstick of "nationalism" by some in India with the "anti-nationalists" often beaten up!

Few months ago, accusations of racism were directed at the Yorkshire County club and English cricketing scenario by a certain Azeem Rafiq of Asian/Muslim origin. Yet just on the basis of mere allegations, heads after heads of senior mandarins started getting rolled with each passing day!  We had witnessed a series of voluntary resignations and suspensions of individuals whose names were even remotely associated with this controversy! Even the British parliamentary committee also played an active role in probing the case!

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What a prompt and serious effort to nip minutest traces of racism right in the bud which proves that the heart and mind of Yorkshire/English cricket is firmly rooted in the right place. What a contrast to those scenarios when reports emanated that Danish Kaneria(as Pakistani cricketer) and Wasim Jaffer(as Uttarakhand coach) got subjected to religious taunts; yet we haven't heard anything about the matter to be brought to logical conclusion! Rather those allegations were simply swept under the carpet! But English has taken the racism "bull" by its horns so as to eradicate even the last trace of it from society. Indeed no kudos is enough for the concerned authorities of England. 

Thanks to this all-embracing spirit of Britain; the Asians, Africans and those of Caribbean stock, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs have all prospered in various spheres of the country and are donning influential posts in all possible fields including politics and governance. Perhaps, only in Britain can the British passport holders of Asian/Caribbean background dare to publicly root for their respective countries of origin when they take on England or Sashi Tharoor's book can be launched with much fanfare in London despite the author "criminalising" Britain in staunchest terms for setting up the empire in India for centuries!

In self-declared liberal India, "Abide with me" can be brutally excluded from the Beating Retreat ceremony; but Britain has no problem in recognising Diwali with none other than its incumbent Prime ministers taking the lead in celebrating it!

Ending with the World Cup winning captain Eoin Morgan's comment following the historic victory -- "We had Allah with us as well"! Yes Allah is present not  within the cricket team only, Allah is with whole Britain also for serving as epitome of humanity.
 
(The views expressed is personal)
 

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First published:

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IndianationalismsecularismUKenglandhindu nation

Kajal Chatterjee

Kajal Chatterjee

Special Contributor, KOLKATA, West Bengal

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