By Carol A. Breckenridge

Ebook by means of Breckenridge, Carol A.

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Extra info for Consuming Modernity: Public Culture in a South Asian World

Sample text

Yet in Sharjah, as well as in every venue in India, in Pakistan, and elsewhere since Partition, cricket matches between India and Pakistan are thinly disguised national wars. Cricket is not so much a release valve for popular hostility between the two populations as a complex arena for reenacting the curious mixture of animosity and fraternity that characterizes the relations between these two previously united nation-states. England, in any case, is no longer part of the equation, whether in the tense politics of Kashmir or on the cricket grounds of Sharjah.

These values, about which much has been written, can be summarized as follows. Cricket was a quintessentially masculine activity and expressed the codes that were expected to govern all masculine behavior: sportsmanship, a sense of fair play, thorough control over the expression of 26 ARJUN APPADURAI strong sentiments by players on the field, subordination of personal sentiments and interests to those of the side, unquestioned loyalty to the team. Though cricket became a central instrument of socialization for the Victorian elite, it contained from the start a social paradox.

In this, as in other matters, the Parsis were the bridge community between Indian and English cultural tastes. Parsi teams from India toured England in the 1880s, and in 1888-89 the first English team toured India (though the majority of its matches were against teams wholly composed of Englishmen, and only a few were against teams composed of Indians). Bombay was the birthplace of cricket for Indians (and still retains a preeminent place in Indian cricket culture). Though there was never a conscious policy in regard to the support of PLAYING WITH MODERNITY 2/ cricket by the colonial regime in India, cricket evolved into an unofficial instrument of state cultural policy.

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