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Azhar c Gupta b Hansie
By A G Khan

Azharís outburst followed by apology made many Indian Muslims hang their heads in shame. He caused an irreparable damage to our reliability. It is ironical that the man whose name implies manifestation or deen (faith) gave such a shabby show of Islam and provided an excuse to the VHP brigade to cry hoarse about Muslims as traitors.

By raising the minority bogey, Azhar pulled an overdrive. Did he want to be exonerated by playing the minority cards? Is minority a privileged status granting immunity in all kinds of shady dealings? He never realized what colossal damage his misdemeanour caused to the trust reposed in an Indian Muslim when he was entrusted with the honours responsibility to lead the team. No sane Muslim should rush to defend him as it would amount to a connivance. By defending him Hizbul Mujahideen has unnecessarily given a false clue of ISI links. Though Bollywood films are not to be taken seriously yet in Sarfarosh Salim, the Muslim Police Officer, assures Ajay Rathore, the Dy. Police Commissioner, that there are thousands of Salims ready to serve the cause of the country provided the nation trusts them. How short lived proved to be the sentiments!.

Yes, we suffered Azhar long enough. For quite sometime, he had been an object of ridicule. Never did he realize that his poor performance was earning an ire against the entire community. His dismissal, first as Captain and then as a Player, created a wave of sympathizers. His willingness to forget his expulsion and humiliation and readiness to play under any Captain was considered as dedication towards the game, and a superb demonstration of the sportsman spirit. The whole picture now acquires a sharp clarity in light of Hansieís charges. By hook or crook, he wanted to be an "insider". There were, obviously, considerations that had nothing to do with sports. 

An Indian Muslim has to demonstrate his superiority to merit recognition. He survives in his profession by his excellence and competence because he has no god father to promote him nor a largesse to squander on bribes. He acquires a position by his sheer hard work. He is recognized (and sometimes respected) for his sincerity and integrity. He cannot afford to shirk from responsibility that his"other" colleagues can conveniently and non-chalantly do. In a factory or in any office, every boss has a high opinion of his competence. He showers praise on his Muslim sub-ordinate and goes on burdening him, with additional responsibilities while"other" relax. An Indian Muslim knows his predicament and walks on a razorís edge throughout his career. 

Not that there are no temptations to seduce him. Man is fallible. But a Muslim in India has to be extra cautious, because a minor slip would drag him into the trap. WhileĎothersí in most cases, manage to emerge unscathed; a Muslim shall find all doors closed on him. Not only this earns a bad reputation to the individual, but to the entire community and would create permanent blockade for another Muslim incumbent. In ninety percent cases Muslims always keep this fact in their minds and they try to live according to Ghalibís dictum:

duniya mein hoon par duniya ka talabgar nahin hoon 
bazar se guzra hoon magar khareedar nahin hoon 

That a country of 15 crore Muslims has only one or at the most two in a team of sixteen explains the above fact. If Azhar was there, he was because of his undisputed competence. As a Captain, he was supposed to remember that Ceaserís wife should always be above suspicion. By appointing him Captain, the country had put him to a critical test of integrity.

There is no denial of the fact that several are involved in the scam. But their "sins" will soon be forgotten and forgiven as human frailty: whereas Azharís shall be remembered and of quoted as classical case of betrayal. There is no sense in pointing out an accusing finger about the diamond necklace or other gifts given to many. Memory of the people is conditioned by the fact of oneís background in Azharís case this will be kept alive by recalling time and again. By indulging in malpractice Azhar has sealed the fate of many more talents of the community who shall now find it very difficult to make an entry in the team.

After Mr. Vishwabandhu Guptaís disclosure the cat is out of bag. No more can Azhar silence the accusers by declaring that he would pay Rs. one crore to any one who substantiates the charge. No longer can he slap contempt cases against journalists or cartoonists.

Did Azhar not have the intelligence that involvement of the Pakistani players in similar malpractice bears no comparison to his case:. In Pakistan there is no we Vs they divide. They swim and sink together, but in the Indian scenario there is an eternal "otherness" writ large every where which no sensible person can afford to ignore.

TAIL PIECE: The fall out of the controversy might be one of the reasons behind Mr. Vishwabandhu Guptaís unceremonial suspension. By his sensational disclosure he torpedoed the VID Scheme. No tax evader, in future, shall trust the hollow assurances of the Ministry of Finance. The VIDS was a kind of amnesty in financial scams and the secrecy of name should have been maintained whatever the pressure. If the CBI had demanded, the facts could be communicated in view of unusual circumstances. However, by making a public disclosure on TV in an interview the Officer has violated the conduct rules.

It is in this context Azharís cry of a minority case carries substance. Is Azhar the only person, who made disclosure under the VIDS? If no; then why his name alone featured so prominently?. Why was he alone brought into the sharp focus?.

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