In an old Hindi film, I believe Ashirwad from 1968, the venerable actor Ashok Kumar is trying to entertain kids in a playground. Somebody suspects that he is trying to kidnap a kid, and there’s a big ruckus.
The camera shifts to the edge of the field, where a man on a bicycle stops to watch the hullaballoo.
He asks someone, “What’s going on?” The reply, “Some man was trying to kidnap a young girl.”
To which the bicyclewallah replies, “Yeh sarkaar nahi chalegi!”
Again, in English, “This government is unacceptable!”
While this little sideshow may seem familiar to people from all around the world, it is particularly familiar in India and Pakistan. The countries birthed through Satyagraha, civil disobedience, are perpetually railing against the man.
Even when the man is not personally responsible for their problems.
One side-effect of perpetually railing against the man is that many Indian writers are constantly in this mode. The evils of BCCI are lurking behind every corner. I’m yet to hear a good, solid, researched article on what parts of the Indian system were responsible for the three successful years under Dhoni/Kirsten, but I’ve seen thousands that explain every defeat.
Take Misbah-ul-Haq, the latest victim of the yeh sarkaar nahi chalegi syndrome. Poor guy just led Pakistan through one of their most successful years in history, their most successful Test series in memory, but a few lost ODIs later he’s the man.
Relax. Misbah is, quite literally, playing the long game. And lest you forget, the past 20 years have been a tumultuous time for Pakistan captains.
In the past, I have written about how Miandad was a microcosm for Pakistan cricket. Everything good and bad about Miandad, represents my impression of the Pakistan team. Which is why when they’re not playing India, I’m rooting for Pakistan.
But imagine a future where Misbah was that microcosm. Where everything good and bad about Misbah, was what is good and bad about Pakistan. Slow, measured progress with bursts of brilliance, with calculated risks. Medium-term goals. Stability. Imagine that.
Pakistan, this could be your Pax Romana. Your long stretch of Roman Peace after rough times.
And you didn’t even have to kill Caesar to get here. Just two Butts.