हां, में क्रिकेट खेलता हूँ। लेकिन क्या मैं किसी की जान बचा सकता हूँ? क्या गेंहूं का एक दाना उगा सकता हूं? क्या एक ईंट जोड़ सकता हूँ? हीरो बनाना है तो डॉक्टर को, किसान को, मज़दूर को बनाइए।

मैं काहे का हीरो हूँ? मैं आपका मनोरंजन करने के पैसे लेता हूँ। आपका चहेता परफॉर्मर हूँ, जैसे फिल्मी सितारे होते हैं।

मुक्ति योद्धाओं ने गोलियों का सामना पैसे के लिए नहीं किया। वे हीरो थे, परफॉर्मर नहीं। हीरो क्रिकेटर रकीबुल हसन था जो मुक्तियुद्ध के पहले ही अपने बल्ले पर जय बांग्ला लिख कर मैदान पर उतरा था।

वे कौन अहमक हैं जो देशभक्ति को क्रिकेट से जोड़कर खेल बना रहे हैं। वे ख़तरनाक खिलाड़ी हैं। वे सच्चे देशभक्तों की बेइज़्ज़ती करते हैं।

मशरफे मुर्तज़ा
लोकप्रिय बांग्लादेशी क्रिकेटर

Asad Zaidi

A CRICKETER OF OUR TIME

Was there ever a player in our subcontinent who spoke like Mashrafe Mortaza, the cricketer and captain of Bangladesh team? Respect.

“I am a cricketer but can I save a life? A doctor can. But no-one claps for the best doctor in the country. Create myths around them. They will save more lives. They are the stars. The labourers are the stars, they build the country. What have we built using cricket? Can we make even a brick using cricket? Does paddy grow on the cricket field? Those who make courtyards using bricks, make things at factories, grow crops in the fields – they are the stars.”

“What do we do? If I say it very bluntly – we take money, we perform. Like a singer or an actor, we do performing art. Nothing more. The Muktijoddhas [1971 Liberation warriors] didn’t face bullets to get money on winning. Who is being compared to whom? If there are any heroes in cricket, they are Rakibul Hasans or martyrs like [Abdul Halim] Jewel… Rakibul Bhai had dared to enter the cricket field with ‘Joy Bangla’ inscribed on his bat [before the 1971 Liberation]. That’s big. Even bigger was his going to the front with his father’s gun. Shohid (martyr) Jewel left cricket and joined the crack platoon [a 1971 Liberation war guerrilla formation]. That’s bravery. Dealing with fast-bowling has romanticism and duty, not bravery.”

“I say, those who cry ‘patriotism, patriotism’ around cricket, if all of them for one day did not drop banana skin on the streets or did not spit on the streets or obeyed traffic rules, the country would have changed. This huge energy was not wasted after cricket and was used to do one’s work honestly even for a day, that would be showing patriotism. I don’t understand the definition of patriotism of these people.”

Courtesy Jashwanth Simone

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