Today’s India-Pakistan cricket match (March 30, 2011) was seen by an estimated TV audience of 1 Billion people. Life came to a standstill in both countries where “cricket” is almost a religion. For my part, I decided to postpone calling friends in India about research I am doing being pretty sure that no calls would be taken!
[Note: This post from March 30, 2011 is updated for formatting issues on May 22, 2021]
Taxi-men in Mumbai took their cabs off the street in Mumbai for the 8 hours of the match, politicians in the assembly of Indian state Madhya Pradesh suspended legislation, tech companies in Bangalore closed early and many organizations arranged for employees to watch the match on TV in-house along with refreshments.
The Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan sat together and watched the match in Mohali Punjab India where the Pakistani leaders were invited by Indian leaders. Preceded by talks at the Home Secretary level Pakistan has agreed to allow India access to the Pakistani terrorist end of the 2008 Mumbai attacks. There is dinner after the game and probably the outcome that Pakistan lost is not so important as a dialogue between the two countries.
There is just so much common between the two countries that younger people do not fully understand the periodic conflicts that occur. Same language, sport,film and food interests tie the countries together and Indian muslims play a huge role in Indian film (Bollywood) and are well represented in sports like cricket in Hindu majority India.
The common Pakistani and Indian want peace to prevail, because only with peace can there be economic activity. Let us hope that the “Mohali Spirit” translates to better relations between India and Pakistan.