During a random tea break at work I got talking to the catering staff who I have built up a good friendships with. Most of the workers come from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal and it clarifies the viewpoint that one needs to know Urdu or Hindi to survive in Qatar.
Many of the workers I have made friendship are convinced I am Indian born and bred, only to be shocked to realise that I am British as can be. The fact I converse with them in Hindi and Urdu, they automatically assume I am from India. When asked why I can speak these languages, I respond by saying its all down to Amitabh Bachchan and Dilip Kumar.
However, today my Englishness was put to the test. As England are playing India in the
first test match at Lord’s, the Tebbit test was extended incDoha.
I was asked by a group of them which country did I support, the country of my heritage or the country I call home?
Now this pertinent question could be pretty easy to answer, but for me this was the most difficult answer ever presented to me, not because of divided loyalties or the fact that I feel my attachment to Sachin Tendulkar outweighs Graeme Swann. The question was
difficult because it was asked by someone who wasn’t white, middle-class and Tory with a right-wing agenda.
The concept of the “Tebbit test” for people who reside in those parts of the world can be diluted as they may find it difficult to understand why a third generation British Muslim/Indian/Pakistani can easily grasp by pinning their loyalties over their land over the motherland. In the UK we often are under pressure to choose one over the other based on loyalty.
Why I found it difficult to state I support England over India purely on sporting terms is because it could have been perceived as disloyalty in a completely different context based on disassociating one’s heritage and failing to appreciate, love or even show any attachment to the land of my forefathers. The overall assumptions created were that the concept of ‘loyalty’ and supporting whatever country has more than just political boundaries of integration and ethnicity. When in England the ‘Tebbit test’ was conducted it was to show an attachment to the country one was leaving in, but to be asked by people from India the concept was completely different, mainly based on heritage rather than loyalty.
This incident was an experience to understand that wherever you maybe the “Tebbit test” is one test which can be interpreted in anyway.