Clashes erupted late on Tuesday at Wangjing Tentha in Thoubal district between the police and people who were taking out a torchlight rally in protest against the Naga agreement. All sections of people fear that since the Centre was not disclosing the details of the agreement, there might be clauses against the interests of Manipur.S. Ibomcha, Police Superintendent of Thoubal district, told The Hindu on Wednesday that a large number of men and women took out a torchlight procession in the district. As part of the well-organised agitation under the supervision of the COCOMI formed by five civil society organisations, processionists tried to storm the house of Paonam Brojen, the MLA of the constituency. Police intercepted them to maintain law and order while the people tried to bull through the police barricade.There was a mild baton charge. The processionists retaliated by throwing burning torchlights. Besides, stones were pelted at the police. Some youths were also allegedly used sling shots to attack the police. A few policemen sustained injuries. Later, police arrested 17 processionists.There were reports of such processions at Leishangthem also in the Thoubal district on Tuesday night.Meanwhile, Congress MLAs of Manipur reached Delhi on Wednesday to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to demand protection of the interests of Manipur while signing the Naga agreement. Okram Ibobi, the CLP leader and former Chief Minister, said, “The reported assurance of the Home Minister Amit Shah on the issue is nothing new since he made similar assurances in the past. Despite assurances, the stakeholders were not consulted before giving the final shape to the Naga agreement”. However, as Modi is out of the country, it is not immediately known when and if the meeting will take place.Appeals by Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren to have trust in the assurance of the Centre and call off agitations, including the proposed ban on the tourism-related international Sangai festival, had fallen on deaf ears since the COCOMI continues to quarterback the agitations. Taking umbrage at the refusal to summon a special Assembly session to take a firm resolution on the issue, the COCOMI announced that it will not hold any further talks with the State government.
Dressed in the team jersey, footballfans in Kolkata cheer for their favourite team, BrazilYou’ve got to love India for the way it loves football. There is no Indian team in the World Cup; and yet, for many Indians, life has ground to a delicious halt for the month-long duration of,Dressed in the team jersey, footballfans in Kolkata cheer for their favourite team, BrazilYou’ve got to love India for the way it loves football. There is no Indian team in the World Cup; and yet, for many Indians, life has ground to a delicious halt for the month-long duration of the tournament. Unlike in 2006-when Vikash Dhorasoo, a Mauritian descended from Andhra labourers indentured in the 19th century, made his improbable way on to the roster of France-there isn’t a single player of Indian origin in any of the 32 squads on view in Brazil.Amid the legions of naturalised players representing countries other than the ones in which they (or their parents) were born, there are Congolese players playing for Belgium, Albanians for Switzerland, Jamaicans for England, Turks for Germany, Surinamese for The Netherlands, Senegalese for France, Guinea-Bissauans for Portugal, Icelanders for the United States.But there is no ethnic Indian in sight- on any team, from anywhere-even though there can scarcely be a country where Indians have not settled in numbers. And yet, India is agog, watching the World Cup through late nights and early mornings with a passion that is truly impressive, even slightly mad. At an emotional and spiritual level, this should make Indians a special people. At least with regard to football, we are not narrow nationalists. I wanted to set up a business call with a colleague in Delhi and he pleaded, “Please, no, not then, I’ll be watching Colombia.” This was a country in which the man in question had never set foot, whose music (I can reliably state) he’d never heard, whose language he does not speak, and yet…missing even a small part of the game mattered. Colombia mattered because Colombia was playing football in the World Cup, and that was that. There is a purity of devotion in the heart of the Indian football aficionado that comes from being unsullied by merely patriotic impulses. This is what makes the Indian football fan so much more noble than the Indian cricket fan, who cares only for the Indian cricket team (a victorious Indian cricket team, preferably), and who would rather die a slow death than watch New Zealand play Sri Lanka, or England play South Africa.advertisementEvery four years, when the football World Cup starts to sizzle, Indian fans are faced with a question that fans in Brazil or England, Argentina or The Netherlands, do not ever face: Who to support? Not for Indians the electric pleasure of watching their team emerge from the tunnel, hair gelled, chins astubble, chests puffed with pride as the national anthem plays out to the world. Not for Indians the delight of having strangers from other lands come up to them, mouthing (and mangling) the names of Indian players in gestures of admiration and fandom. Not for Indians the panning of the cameras to Indian sections of a World Cup crowd, alighting on the faces of lovely Indian girls, painted Indian diehard fans, troops of men beating Indian drums. India, a billion-strong, is absent from the spectacle. We had a chance to be a part of all this, in 1950, when the Indian team was invited to the last World Cup held in Brazil. But the men who ran the Indian football federation, to their eternal damnation, chose not to send a team that would likely have acquitted itself well. They deemed the damage to their precious budgets to be too high.India-and Indian football-has been paying for that shortsightedness, that cosmic niggardliness, forever after. Those were years when India was the India of global under-confidence, of an inward-looking provincialism, when competition was frowned upon by the elites who governed the country. This aversion to competition afflicted our business, our industry, our trade… our football. And now that we are ready to compete with the world, we find that we cannot, except in those areas where we have a special advantage, such as cricket, with its small field of countries against which the game might be played.We are still appalling at most truly global competitions: Our universities aren’t world-class; our scientific R&D is mediocre, as is our defence technology; our industries are uncompetitive; our military fit for battle only against paltry Pakistan (and China knows this); our diplomats can barely speak English (let alone Russian or Arabic)… and our football team is ranked 154th in the world, one place above Singapore, one place behind Malaysia.But our football fans should be ranked close to, or at, No. 1, for they are the closest one gets to the platonic ideal of a football-lover. Not wedded to a team by blood or flag, they pick their favourites independently. An Indian family might have a father who supports Brazil, a son who shouts for a Spain, a daughter who swoons for Italy, a mother who admires Argentina. Brazil has long been an Indian passion, in part because its players play the game with such rollicking panache, but also because there is a sense that Brazil, somehow, is like India: A big, unruly, Third World country with colossal income disparity and cities seething with slums. It helps, perhaps, that some Brazilians even look a bit like us. But when we look at their football crowds, and their women, we know that there are few countries in the world that are as unlike India as Brazil. We gape at their sexual frankness, their startlingly different moral codes, and we know that all comparisons, all likenesses, have limits.advertisementIn the end, what the Indian fan looks for in a World Cup team is not an echo of himself or his country, but a history of excellence and a recognisable sporting idiom that appears to transcend national boundaries. Brazil plays football in a way that invites the whole world to watch. Recent Spanish teams have played that way, too, as have some of the more successful Argentine sides of the modern era. England, by contrast, and Germany (or, to be fair, the Germany of about 10 years ago) have both been teams that tailor their appeal to their own compatriots. Flair is an important part of global appeal, efficiency and grit less so. Which is not to say that Indian fans aren’t quietly envious of people from countries that aren’t in the top tier, and yet, by sheer dint of effort, send teams to World Cups: Costa Rica. Algeria. Greece. Bosnia and Herzegovina. South Korea. United States. Honduras. Iran.For the truth is that the Indian fan is acutely embarrassed every four years by the resounding absence of India from the World Cup, even as he is exhilarated by the matches between old favourites. Just as players from other lands are household names in his own country, the Indian fan yearns for the day when Indian players will command global attention, serving as better ambassadors for India than the legions of suits in embassies around the world. Watching football is a complex business when the World Cup comes around. We are uplifted by the play we see, by the rugged beauty on display. But we also feel very small as we watch, a nation cut down to size.Tunku Varadarajan is a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution
Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram has praised Rohit Sharma’s leadership skills in the ongoing Asia Cup 2018. Rohit (111 not out) notched up his 19th century in ODIs as he led India to a 9-wicket win over Pakistan in the Super Four in Dubai on Sunday.Rohit was named India skipper after Virat Kohli was rested for the Asia Cup. Rohit has been impressive as captain so far winning all the matches in the tournament and guiding Team India to the final.Rohit has so far captained India in 16 limited-overs matches and has tasted success in 14 of those games. He had earlier this year led India to victory in the Nidahas Trophy in Sri Lanka.Rohit and Dhawan are one of the most successful opening pairs of all-time for India and on Sunday, they just proved why they are so effective and deadly in limited-overs cricket.Read – How Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan plotted record-breaking partnership vs PakistanThe pair complements each other very well and what works in their favour is both can change gears according to the situation of the game.On Sunday, as India took on Pakistan in their second Super 4 match, Rohit and Dhawan simply took the game away from their arch-rivals with their scintillating display at the top of the order.Also read – Dhawan, Rohit blast hundreds as India crush Pakistan againTheir record partnership of 210 runs in India’s chase of 238 was filled with extremely well timed shots, lots of running between the wickets and calculated risks.advertisementThe highlights of the partnership was how both complemented each other and played according to the situation instead of playing their natural attacking game on a pitch, that was tricky to bat on.”I think Rohit Sharma has done a great job as India skipper. He is leading from the front, he’s getting runs consistently and with ease. With him, Shikhar Dhawan is playing equally good. They are making things look so comfortable when they come out to bat. They look so calm and I think they have got every shot in their book,” Akram told India Today.Also read – Rohit Sharma celebrates 7000 ODI runs with 19th hundredCaptaincy has also got the best out of Rohit the batsman. He has so far scored 269 runs from four matches at an average of 134.50, including two fifties and a century.Harbhajan Singh was also all praise for Rohit’s captaincy in Virat Kohli absence.”Rohit has been scoring runs and leading the team from the front. He is showing the way. He has done a great job. We can say when Virat Kohli is not there, Rohit can be given the responsibility of leading the team,” Harbhajan Singh told India Today.India next play Afghanistan on Tuesday at the Dubai International Stadium.