Brothers, united by a common heritage, in a country that prides itself on tolerance

The Midnight Children celebrated azaadi together. Very fraternal, it is a love story.

Last August, Indian and Pakistani artists based in the United Arab Emirates joined hands to celebrate Independence Days (August 14 and 15) of the two countries. Jashn-e-Azaadi, an art exhibition, had 20 artists from India and as many from Pakistan.

The Desi group – Indian and Pakistani expatriates in the United Arab Emirates – are united by love, food and companionship throughout the year, but separated for a few hours, only when India and Pakistan play cricket. They headed to Dubai International Stadium on Sunday for the biggest game of the T20 World Cup, ready to scream hoarse in support of their respective teams, joke around and then, when the match is over, forget about the cricket division and go. focus on unity.

The art exhibition was a by-product of this unit, which showcased the culture, colors, history and tradition of the two nations, with a large part of them linked by a common thread. This is where the depiction of Lord Krishna and Lord Ganesha shared space with Pakistani truck art. In a country where tolerance is a virtue, the event was well attended by Yasser Algergawi, Director of Programs and Partnerships, UAE Ministry of Tolerance.

On the ground, Pakistan has embraced nationalism. A team member carried his national flag and planted it firmly on one side of a training ground, as the players began to warm up. The arrival of India, on the other hand, was only business, in perfect harmony with the approach of Virat Kohli: “For me, it was always another game of cricket”. Pakistan stuck to their cricket and fitness exercises, while India started with fun football.

Former Pakistani captain Zaheer Abbas stepped into the press gallery, soaking up the atmosphere and pushing back interview requests. Indian spinners, meanwhile, started rolling their arms – Ravichandran Ashwin and Rahul Chahar – with team mentor MS Dhoni running the wicket. Pakistan quickly assembled for a team meeting before the actual battle.

Imagine this game taking place at Eden Gardens in front of 67,000 fans! This could well have been the case without the forced switch of the tournament from India to the United Arab Emirates. In 2016, when the India-Pakistan World T20 match was moved from Dharamsala to Kolkata, Bengal Cricket Association President Sourav Ganguly added more spice to an already high-profile event, inviting Amitabh Bachchan to sing along. the Indian national anthem. Kohli was resplendent in his winning sleeves.

In Dubai on Sunday, the rise of fans was a bit slow but steady. Local authorities put arrangements in place, expecting a mad rush, but the crowds came at a leisurely pace. In the draw, Indian supporters outperformed their Pakistani counterparts. The answer came via a roar when Babar Azam won the toss and chose to line up.

The stadium can accommodate 25,000 spectators, but its capacity has been reduced to 17,400, thanks to Covid security protocols.

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