“Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet” 


“Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet”


Many people will be familiar with this quote. But not to many would be aware that it is only the first line. And the first line of a reasonably long poem, ‘The Ballad of East and West’ by Rudyard Kipling and first published in 1889. It is a tale of two men and their similarities, not their differences. The full opening stanza goes thus:


“Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet

 Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;

 But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,

 When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!”


If Kipling were to go back today to the lands that were so influential in his writing he may very well have re-written that first line. ‘Oh, India is India and Pakistan is Pakistan…..’


We do not pretend to fully comprehend the complexities of the India – Pakistan relationship. But we do bemoan what that means to Hockey and what the game can do to stand above it.


Both nations are iconic in the Hockey world. Despite the large shared history of those nations pre-partition they became unique and distinctive juggernaughts of the game. But those unique and distinctive ways of doing things are now robbing Hockey of one of our greatest assets. It will need Hockey officials on both sides to stand above border, breed and birth and come face to face as nations to again become the ‘two strong men’ that Hockey needs them to be.


Of course in reality the last paragraph is all rather trite really. We would love to sit in a stadium in Karachi or Lahore and watch India play Pakistan surrounded by thousands of Hockey fans. That to us would be gold. However if we tried to go to Pakistan to attend such a sporting event our government would ‘suggest’ we don’t attend. Our partners would not ‘suggest’. Factors far beyond the game are at play and no one ever wins in such situations.


So what do we do as a game when confronted by such factors? Is there a role for the game to play? Probably nothing, and no. We cannot imagine a situation where someone who has decided upon a chosen course of action would be in anyway dissuaded by a facebook post from the FIH. We would like to think it would, but…..


All we can really do is keep playing. Especially if its India vs Pakistan in Karachi. The Reverse Stick will do all possible to be there.     

   Thursday July 6 2017

 Please abide by our terms for this comments thread available HERE