Easing Tensions Between India & Pakistan, Cricket Club in U.S. Does Its Part28 Mar 2019
The fiercely divisive political climate that is currently simmering in advance of the 2020 presidential election isn’t just confined to the United States. Tensions, once again, have boiled over between neighboring nations, India and Pakistan. But while the complex issues of the region show no sign of abating, there is at least one unlikely place where Indian and Pakistani nationals can come together for a few hours despite their political differences – a cricket club tucked into a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts.
The Boston Gymkhana Sports Club was founded by Bikram Singh, a U.S. immigrant who originally hails from the Punjab state of Northwestern India. His club, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year, boasts up to 200 members who convene outdoors in the warmer months to play cricket, a bat-and-ball game that originated in England and is immensely popular in Southeast Asia. Although most of the club’s members are from India, roughly ten percent are from Pakistan. While this mix of nationalities may cause apprehension outside of his club, he is careful to keep the cricket games he hosts as apolitical as possible. Shortly after Singh founded the club, he received an angry phone call from an IndianAmerican member who demanded that the Pakistani participants be thrown out. Mr. Singh’s response was swift: “I said, ‘You know what? You’re not going to play in our club anymore – that’s not the kind of club we are,'” he recounted in an interview with The New York Times.
Not only do Indian and Pakistani members enjoy the game of cricket together through the Boston Gymkhana Sports Club, they also frequently gather for meals, celebrations, and games of poker during the winter offseason. “… [N]o matter what, we live and play or interact with people that we completely disagree with sometimes, but we still manage.” This tone of tolerance is one from which our current U.S. political system could no doubt benefit. [See Why These Indians and Pakistanis Rarely Discuss Tensions: It’s Just Not Cricket, by Kate Taylor, The New York Times, 04.Mar.2019.]
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