Darren Sammy opened pandora’s box last week; he took to social media to allege racial abuse and discrimination in the IPL. Sammy claimed that he had been called ‘kalu’—which is the Hindi word for black—by his Sunrisers Hyderabad team mates.
Ishant Sharma Called Sammy Kalu
An Instagram post from Ishant Sharma further proves this; Sharma uses the term ‘kaluu’ to refer to Darren Sammy (also in the picture). Sammy also has a post where he addresses himself Kaluu; he was led to believe that it implied strong stallion.
IPL, Sunrisers Hyderabad or Ishant Sharma are yet to comment. Sammy has urged the ICC to take action against racial abuse; but as of now the ICC is also silent.
South Indian Players Face Discrimination
Most of the Indian cricketers and foreign cricketers who play in the IPL have kept silent on the issue. The only people who came to Sammy’s defence were his West Indian team mates Andre Russell and Chris Gayle. Both confirmed that there was racism in cricket and black cricketers constantly suffered racism.
The only Indian cricketer who has addressed the issue of racism in Indian cricket is former all-rounder Irfan Pathan. However, he did not address Sammy’s claims. This, despite being part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2013 and 2014. Pathan said from personal experience he knows that there is racism in cricket; not just based on a person’s skin color but also their religion.
Pathan claimed that he has personally witnessed discrimination at the domestic level. When South Indian players travel to the north to play, they are often subjected to racist chants. Pathan says that a lot of people in the north-east are also racially abused; and in this case, its because their facial features are similar to the Chinese.
South Indian cricketers are more dark skinned when compared to North Indian cricketers and are often referred to as kaalu. Pathan believes the only way to stamp out racism is through education and by setting examples.
Religion-based Discrimination A Reality
Pathan pointed out that racism is not just restricted to a person’s skin color; it often included religion. India is currently a hot pot of religious tension as the violence between Hindus and other minorities—especially Muslims—has escalated.
The former all-rounder mentioned how sometimes a person was not permitted to buy a house in a certain area because he did not belong to a certain religion. Given the fact that Hindus make up more than 80 percent of the Indian population it is easy to guess which religion he is referring to.
BCCI Must Take Racism Seriously
Indian fans have also been responsible for racist incidents. Instances date back to chants of ‘monkey’ when Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds toured India. In the last few years, there have been no visible incidents; it is clear that there is a lot of work for the BCCI to do.
The BCCI currently has its hands full with the rescheduling of the IPL. However, they cannot ignore issue of racism any longer!