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FEBRUARY 1, 1999 VOL. 153 NO. 4

Security was stepped up at all the venues. Bikas Das--AP

Test of Endurance
A hotly contested cricket series between India and Pakistan takes the subcontinent to the brink

Are sports a sublimated form of war? On the subcontinent, it's easy to make the case when arch rivals India and Pakistan take to the pitch for a game of cricket, the only sport in South Asia that truly matters. Business in both countries grinds to a halt. Dinner parties decant into hushed television rooms, as if tanks were rumbling across borders. In sports stadiums, Pakistani cricket commentator Omar Kureishi says, a kind of rapt, glassy-eyed ardor possesses the crowd. "These are not people going to a cricket match," Kureishi describes. "These were people going into battle."

For a moment last week it looked as if the mother of all cricket battles was brewing in India. Pakistani cricketers flew in for a pair of five-day Test matches, the first since 1990, and all hell was breaking loose. Outraged Indian protesters, whipped up by a radical Hindu political party, had already torn up a cricket pitch in New Delhi and trashed the Bombay headquarters of India's Board of Control for Cricket, the national governing authority. Then, in the far-off southern city of Madras, a public transport driver unsuccessfully tried to immolate himself, and three would-be spoilers were arrested in the possession of five severed pigs' heads, which they intended to dump at the local sports stadium to taunt Muslims, both locals and those visiting from Pakistan. (Islam deems the animals unclean, and severed pigs' heads are a time-tested way of sparking religious riots.) If that wasn't enough, a suicide squad of 51 men reportedly stood ready to stop the games by taking their own lives.

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This edition's table of contents | TIME Asia home



U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

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