To understand the level of ignorance Virat Kohli showed when he told an Indian fan to “leave India,” apparently for liking Australian and English players more, you have to listen to the request of India’s football team captain Sunil Chethri. The popularity of football is nowhere close to cricket in India, so one could put Chethri’s down to a case of pragmatism over emotions. However, in being pragmatic, he chose a different path to what Kohli, a national team captain and a beacon of Indian sports at the international level, chose.
Scroll to those portions where Sunil talks about European football. He agrees that Indian football is not at the same level as European football. However, he is also brave in asking fans to come over to the stadium and watch India play football albeit to abuse. That is in stark contrast to Kohli’s chest-thumping patriotism, this whole idea that to be Indian, one should love all Indian things. If not, going by Kohli’s version, then dispel the notion that you are even an Indian. You are as good to this country as the British were all those years ago. At the surface of it, Kohli’s plea echoes the Quit India movement, which involved full withdrawal from foreign products to use only Indian. It also rhymed with one of his wife’s films – Sui Dhaaga: Made in India. However, there was and should not be nothing about it that inspires even 1 percent Indian in any of us to take up the sport.
If you are to buy this theory of his, then I must not be typing this in a Motorola (once American) phone to post it on Twitter (an American social networking platform) or even rather be working for a local company for producing content for mostly US clients.
But that is at the surface of it. To understand why Kohli said what he said, one would have to rewind the clock to last year February, to when he said he cannot be friends with Australians anymore. In the comment that irked him, the fan mentions he prefers English and Australians to Kohli’s overrated “these Indians”. It then irked him to the point that he must retort to the comment, a decision I am sure he would not look back at with regret. It would have been fine if he replied in anger, but to reply like he did was to be negligent towards being an Indian sports ambassador at the international level. More than shaming us, he ignored that the world would be watching us. And, to tell the world we are X times better than all of you is to give in to Trump’s governance: fasicst self–gratification.
P. S. “Athidi Devo Bhava” is India’s tourism slogan of sort. Going by Kohli’s version, it hardly translates to “Be my guest”.