03 August, 2021

Bowling At The Death

The local TV images of the mass funeral had a ticker tape running below—"PM congratulates victorious Indian team."

illustration by Sandeep Adhwaryu
Bowling At The Death
At about the same time as the Indian batsmen were building an impressive opening partnership in the final against England in the NatWest cricket tournament in faraway Lord's on July 13, a group of unidentified men were opening fire in a poor settlement in Jammu. Among those killed that night were some who were listening to the cricket commentary outside their shacks. Rajiv Nagar, where the massacre took place, was without power. Splinters from a grenade lobbed by one of the killers caught a few cricket fans gathered around a radio on a rooftop.

Even those who live a little distance away from Rajiv Nagar did not respond to the goings-on: they were following the game on radio or TV. When Tendulkar's wicket fell, some of them switched channels, and learned about the fresh killings that had taken place in their town.

Earlier that day, I had checked into a hotel in Jammu. My afternoon had passed at a camp for the Kashmiri Pandits. One-room tenements in Mishriwala have been 'home' for a people who lost their homes more than a decade ago. I saw some youth there, sitting...

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