By Kate Taylor
March 4, 2019
In recent days, as India and Pakistan came almost to the brink of war, the members of the Boston Gymkhana Sports Club — a cricket club that, like many in the United States, has members from both countries — did not interrupt their usual social calendar.
Some members were on edge about the escalation between the two nuclear-armed nations, which began two weeks ago when a suicide bombing in the disputed region of Kashmir killed more than 40 Indian soldiers. And many had sharply different perspectives on the conflict.
Rajiv Shah, 46, who emigrated in 1999 from the Indian state of Gujarat, was approving when the Indian government conducted airstrikes in Pakistan, claiming to kill a large number of terrorists.
Others felt that India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, was exploiting the situation, intentionally ramping up tensions in hopes of solidifying his support in the coming elections.
At least a couple of members gave some credence to conspiracy theories that the Indian government itself might be behind the terrorist attack.
And yet, there was a birthday to celebrate: The club’s founder, Bikram Singh, was turning 53. The club members, accustomed to setting aside their differences and carrying on with their friendships at times of heightened hostility between the two countries, were planning a party.
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