Virat’s Branded Nationalism
By Mudasir Ahmad Gori
Virat Kohili, the epitome of aggressive sportsmanship evoked a controversy recently by lashing out on a cricket fan. This cricket fan had stated that “he loved British and Australian batsman over Indian players.”Virat responded to this fan of cricket in the following way, “I don’t think you should live in India, go and live somewhere else.” This video went viral and Virat Kohili is subject of debate now, he received a torrent of criticism on social media. There is no denial to the fact that he is one of the greatest batsmen the world has ever produced. He is often touted as the India’s batting megastar after Sachin Tendulkar retired from International Cricket. But he should have not responded the way he did to this cricket fan. It must be noted, he later twitted and clearfied why he said “leave India” comment. “I guess trolling isn’t for me, I will stick to getting trolled! I spoke about how these Indians was mentioned and that is all. I am all for freedom of choice, keep it light guys and enjoy the festive season. Love and peace to all.”
However, little did he know that his comment had already disturbed the peace of the people, he wished. If it was for all freedom of choice, is it for Virat only and not for the fans. If I have a liking for something, I would love to use or appreciate that thing, irrespective of where it comes from? Who manufactured it? I am sure most of the celebrities of this country wear the branded items only including you. Bollywood’s Big B lenses are from Tom Ford brand, which is an American brand. Shahrukh Khan’s shoes are Golden Goose Delux, which is an Italian brand.
But do we still question their nationalism? All these celebrities must have used their native countries brand, may be that could have helped in the growth of the economy of small scale industries. How many of them use products that are manufactured here in India? The number is quite low.
Virat has been linked to many high profile women, like Sarah Jane Dias, who is an Indian model, Sanjana an actress for a while; he was also in news for Tammana Bhatia as well. Here mention be also be made of IzabelleLeite, a Brazilian Model. Perhaps Virat was not conscious of nationalism when he was in relation with the Brazilian model IzabelleLeite.
How easy is to play with words for few people? When it becomes personal we sideline nationalism but if anyone dares to even state his choice he is treated as anti-nationalist and asked to leave the country. How far is this justifying? Ironically India is a democratic country, where freedom of speech means freedom to speak the language of authorities, those in power, be their mouthpiece else you will be tagged as an anti- nationalist agent.
I wonder what about the foreign fans of Virat and other celebrities. What would Virat Kohili say to his foreign fans abroad who love him more than the players of their own country?
Individuals cannot be compelled to like only those players who hail from their country. It is good that they have fan following all over the world. In fact, in some countries they are appreciated and looked as role models. Will Virat question their nationalism too? Do they need to stop liking him, because he is not from their respective countries? Why doesn’t he come clear and announce publically that I should be not favorite of any foreign fan because you are not from our country.
Even do the countries of these fan followers question their respective nationalism? No they do not, because they understand it is entirely a matter of choice, liking and love, which needs to be respected rather than ordered to leave to native country. This country is equally of him as much as it is of Virat Kohili.
I am personally a fan of Virat, however, I do not want him to undermine the importance of the choice of every individual. He is representing India at an International level, but these remarks are very much personal. He represents the country in the field of sports but ideologically people of your country may differ, they should be welcomed, because criticism can help and elevate you to better place from the one you possess.
Wearing foreign branded shoes, clothes, and celebrating honeymoon in some remote corners of the world, then questioning the very spirit of nationalism of a cricket fan may retaliate your branded nationalism too.