PALLEKELE: That racism is a centuries’ old social evil that exists even in the Indian society and in the sporting world is a well-known fact. On Wednesday night, opener Abhinav Mukund, currently touring with the Indian team in Sri Lanka, became the latest sportsperson to speak out on the issue when he posted an emotional tweet about fair not being the ‘only lovely or handsome’. The batsman reacted after being abused on social media for his skin colour, reported Times of India.
Recalling his past, Mukund, who scored 81 in the second innings in the first Test against Sri Lanka at Galle before being dropped in favour of the fit-again KL Rahul, wrote, “I have been playing cricket since the age of 10 and I have gradually climbed up the ladder to where I am right now. It is an honour to get the chance to represent the country at the highest level. I am writing today not to garner sympathy or attention but … with the hope to change the mindset of people on an issue I feel strongly about.”
— Abhinav mukund (@mukundabhinav) August 9, 2017
Speaking about how people were obsessed about his skin from a young age, the 27-year-old said: “I have been travelling a lot within and outside our country since I was 15. Ever since I was young, people’s obsession with my skin colour has always been a mystery to me. Anyone who follows cricket would understand the obvious. I have played and trained day in and day out in the sun and not once have I regretted the fact that I have tanned or lost a couple of shades. It is simply because I love what I do and I have been able to achieve certain things only because I have spent hours outdoor. I come from Chennai, probably one of the hottest places in our country and I have gladly spent most of my adult life in the cricket ground.”
Revealing that he had been subject to a lot of name calling, Mukund revealed: “I have laughed and shrugged it off because I had bigger goals! Affected young, I toughened up because this was never something that would pull me down. There were many times when I chose not to dignify these insults with responses.”
The left-hander from Tamil Nadu asserted that he chose to spoke up on the issue not just for himself but for many others who were subjected to racism, while pointing out that the advent of social media has seen an increase in racism. “With the rise of social media, it has gone to a magnitude that I see people hurling abuses left, right and centre at something I have absolutely no control over. Fair isn’t the only lovely or handsome guys.”
“Stay true, stay focused, be comfortable in your own skin”, he concluded.
In a series of tweets later, Mukund clarified that his tweet was in reaction to abuses directed at him on social media. “Guys please don’t turn this into something else, it has absolutely no connection to anyone in the team. It is mainly targeted at people who have been posting abuses about colour and saying absolutely derogatory things about the tone of my skin. That’s all!” he said tweeted, before clarifying further: “Please don’t turn this into something political, I just wanted to make a positive statement hoping to make a change. That’s all.”