“Umran Malik is our boy”, the streets of Jammu are reverberating with noisy acknowledgment of the city’s cricketer who has stunned everyone with his fastest bowling during the just-concluded IPL season, in which he represented Sunrisers Hyderabad. The jubilation of the Jammu people has doubled after the young cricketer was named in the Indian squad for the T-20 series in South Africa and the youngsters have started thronging his house, urging his parents to enable them to meet the cricketer. “ Hume Umran Bhai se milna hai,” ( we want to meet brother Umran”, and pat comes the reply, “ sure, sure.”
For Jammu, Umran Malik, represents star who has the potential to make name in the cricketing world as he has surprised all by speed, line and length of the ball These cricketing accomplishments have added to his prestige and popularity, but there is something more that Jammu is celebrating – the boy is from Jammu, a region that always perceived itself as a poor cousin to Kashmir valley because of the lack of the political leadership and normal submissive nature of the people here. Apart from that there always was a tendency to undermine the region and its achievers. There were two dominating factors for the same: “
Jammu’s own lax attitude in promoting its achievers or those seeking to score bigger goals in their careers. In the post-1947 era, when Jammu’s Dogra kings lost power and the region felt marginalized, things have been difficult for the region and its people. Secondly, there has always been superimposition of Kashmir on the region, even in Umran’s case many media houses have clubbed him as a boy from Kashmir. There are two definitions of Kashmir. For most of the world, Kashmir is the only place that defines Jammu and Kashmir, because of its well-established nomenclature all over the globe, and also within India Jammu is lesser known, so Kashmir dominates in all analysis, reports and perspectives. Kashmir also is a distinct region in north of the Pir-Panjal range of Himalayas.
Jammu is insistent that Umran is “ our boy”, who has bridged the gap between the communities and the sub-regions. In this place where the national influence of Hindutva supremacy is also emerging fast , Umran Malik has brought new hope among the youngsters and also bridged the narratives.
This message was reinforced when Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha visited Umran malik’s house in Jammu and while congratulating him for his accomplishments, he also promised him all the governmental help in training and even offered a government job as and when he wishes to join. It was perhaps for the first time that a head of the government ever visited any emerging star of Jammu.