I had a painful realization that there are lots of morons among us after coming across Indian cricketer Abhinav Mukund's emotional post, recalling the racist hecklings he was subjected to on the social media due to his skin color.
Dear brother, the world has changed. If there are people who still mock a certain skin color, it just means they are ignorant. It is nothing but primitive mindset.
Abhinav, we all are dark. In fact, it is the source of our beauty and strength. Not only us, but most of the top-rated sportspersons are dark-skinned.
Let me tell you, your 81-run knock against Sri Lanka in the first Test is a fitting reply to those racists.
If they resort to those type of epithets to degrade you again, ask them whether they have heard of someone called Carl Lewis, or they have ever watched sprint king Usain Bolt.
Justin Gatlin, who beat Bolt in the 100 meters final at the IAAF World Championships in London, Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time, and legendary Brazilian footballer Pele.. All these sports stars are colored people.
The color of our skin is gifted by God. We can't choose our genetic makeup. The skin color doesn't make us better or lesser than anyone else. Performance, not one’s skin color, is what counts on the pitch.
I’m also a sportsman. I never felt I was at a disadvantage because of my dark skin. In fact, I’m extremely proud of my color.
I feel very happy when people fondly call me 'black pearl’. Brother, you too are a black pearl. You have my full support.
I even acted in films despite being dark-complexioned. I got that chance not because of my peculiar skin tone, but because of my achievements in football and popularity. Do we need more examples to drive home the message that what matters is our accomplishments as a player?
Who said black is an inferior color? Black is beautiful, as they say. People who hurled racist abuses at you may be fair, but they have a vicious and ugly mindset.
Dark or white skin, we all should be striving to be better human beings.
Such racists and bigots could be found across the globe. Do you remember the racist attack unleashed by a section of crowd on Italian footballer Mario Balotelli? As he tried to leave the pitch unable to bear the humiliation, it was the rival goalkeeper who tried to console him, requesting him to stay back. That is what sportsmanship is all about.
However, Balotelli did not complete that match. The image of him crying on the bench still pains me.
I don’t want our players to react in such a manner. Instead, we should try to emulate the example set by Brazilian Dani Alves when he was subjected to a racist taunt during a La Liga match. When a fan threw a banana at him in a nasty bid to liken him to monkey, he responded by calmly picking it up, peeling it and taking a bite before continuing to play with added vigor!
I think that is the perfect way of dealing with racism. You should score a century in your next match. I’m sure, seeing that, those who made fun of you will fall flat on their face!
(The writer is a former captain of the Indian football team)