Following his splendid inning against Rajasthan Royals, Mumbai Indians all-rounder Hardik Pandya took a knee in support of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. He is the first player in the ongoing season of Indian Premier League to make this gesture.
After reaching his half-century in the 19th over, he went down on a knee with his right arm raised to show solidarity with the movement against racism. West Indies all-rounder and Mumbai’s stand-in skipper Kieron Pollard responded by raising his right fist.
Social media instantly reacted. While Pandya was being lauded for showing support to the global anti-racist movement, he has been widely called out on social media for not taking a stand against the caste atrocities, discrimination against minorities and violence against women. Twitterati were quick to point out the duality of his solidarity act.
What about Dalit lives, many people asked on Twitter.
An upper-caste Indian cricketer took a knee in support of Black Lives Matter.Dear Hardik Pandya, have you said anything about how there are ZERO Dalits & Adivasi cricketers in India? Have you said anything about the caste atrocities committed against us? Change begins at home. pic.twitter.com/EKAcgHq1Tz
— Sankul // Dalit Lives Matter (@sankul333) October 25, 2020
Yes Hardik Pandya will support Black Lives matter but when comes to own country he will blame Ambedkar for reservations. These elites for a reason.— Homo Sapien (@manda_odu) October 25, 2020
What if whites say “Dalit lives matter" and never utter a word on “Black lives matter"?Hope you got the point.— ત્રાસી ગયો છું (@CMouthed) October 26, 2020
See why we ask celebrities to use their platforms? Hardik Pandya tweeted and now black lives matter is trending? But what about the country YOU and I live in? We had to BEG people to trend dalit lives matter? This is your land, please don’t be ignorant.— B (@ambedkar4life) October 26, 2020
not hardik pandya talking about black lives matter while conveniently not speaking up on the atrocities against dalits, muslims, and women in india…. lol— s (@cowsarebabie) October 26, 2020
to @hardikpandya7,you took a knee in support of #blacklivesmatter , a movement against structural oppression. but do you have the guts to recognise caste oppression in India? did you speak up about Hathras? will u stand up to your own teammates who display caste supremacy? pic.twitter.com/QCfa5GaTKK— Agatha Srishtie #DALITLIVESMATTER (@SrishtyRanjan) October 25, 2020
Indians like to be cool but they are conditioned to be smart.Cool by sporting a black band and supporting black lives matter
Smart by keeping their mouth shut on caste and bigotry
Smart enough to know when to be cool and when to mind ones own business.
— Atticus Balgit Finch (@malayaliatticus) October 26, 2020
After the match Pandya even tweeted a picture of himself with the caption “#BlackLivesMatter". Last week, West Indies Test skipper Jason Holder, who plays for the Sunrisers Hyderbad, had expressed his disappointment over none of the IPL teams taking a knee in solidarity with the movement, which, he felt, went unnoticed in the league.
“To be honest, I haven’t had one conversation up here around it (BLM). Sometimes it seems it has gone unnoticed, which is a sad thing. “I guess it’s for us to re-highlight the importance of it, for people to understand what is happening in the world," Holder had said.
The “taking a knee" gesture started in the West Indies’ Test series in England this summer in protest against racism after African-American George Floyd was killed by an on-duty white police officer in Minneapolis. But the gesture was later discontinued for the subsequent tours of Pakistan and Australia.