New Delhi: Islamist India-baiter Zaid Hamid has found himself trending in both Pakistan and India after he mistook Neeraj Chopra for Ashish Nehra in a tweet. Former Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag also waded into the fray, fuelling a barrage of memes.
Eager to praise Pakistani Javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem, who took home a gold in the 2022 Commonwealth Games and beat Chopra’s record in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, Hamid said that the javelin throw was made “even sweeter” by the fact that it involved the destruction of an “Indian Javelin throw hero.” He probably didn’t expect to see his tweet backfire on both sides of the border.
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‘Javelin’ champ Ashish Nehra
In the process of expressing his glee at this “sweet revenge,” the far-right commentator and conspiracy theorist confused India’s javelin hero Neeraj Chopra with former Indian cricketer Ashish Nehra.
Zaid, whose Twitter account is ‘withheld’ in India, was met with a barrage of hilarious responses after Nehra’s friend Virender Sehwag responded to a screenshot of his tweet,
saying, “Chicha, Ashish Nehra is right now preparing for UK Prime Minister Elections. So
Chicha, Ashish Nehra is right now preparing for UK Prime Minister Elections. So Chill 🤣 pic.twitter.com/yaiUKxlB1Z
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) August 11, 2022
Sehwag’s tweet quickly went viral, gaining over 41,000 likes and 800 comments within six
hours, and #AshishNehra is now trending on Twitter.
Gujarat Titans, the Indian Premier League (IPL) team that Nehra coaches, also joined the
bandwagon with the following meme on their Twitter page captioned, “Kuch toh gadbad hai. (Something is fishy),” a popular line from the Indian detective show CID. Nehra had led the team to victory in May 2022, but his name resurfaced suddenly on Twitter after Zaid’s tweet.
Kuch toh gadbad hai! #AshishNehra ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/12dM0NQdSV
— Gujarat Titans (@gujarat_titans) August 11, 2022
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Drawing on the similarity between Nehra and UK Prime Ministerial candidate Rishi Sunak,
Indian fashion photographer and Bollywood film producer Atul Kasbekar shared a hilarious
meme while cheering Nehra on in his journey towards “rul(ing) Britain.” Other users also
expressed their belief that Nehra was “a perfect presidential candidate!”
One user had a satirical take on the matter, revving up Zaid’s mistake to the extreme in their tweet:
@BCCI what a disgrace. You are so poor that you couldn’t even afford a decent #javelin for our striker of @Gujrat_titans_ #ashishnehra who was trained by @Pvsindhu1 & @isro to ensure he can swim beyond Moon & bring shame to @imVkohli @hardikpandya7 @vishy64theking @Neeraj_chopra1
— nasha mukt (@bhikharisale) August 10, 2022
Some users drew on Nehra’s possible incredulity in the matter with memes like this,
especially because Nehra is not even on any social media platform:
Ashish nehra be like – pic.twitter.com/t0IvD1XkhN
— Lagbhag Raaz 😷 (@i_Raaaz) August 10, 2022
On the other hand, some netizens were not amused by Sehwag’s tweet, believing that it was an unnecessary attempt to ignite hate between the two countries. Given that Chopra and Nadeem remain good friends and Chopra even commented on Nadeem’s Instagram post congratulating him on his win, these users felt that the tweet was in bad taste. Chopra had skipped the CWG in Birmingham this year due to injury.
Leave it to Sehwag share something to ignite hate between India and Pak. 1) No one in Pakistan takes Zaid Hamid seriously and 2) It was petty on his part. But You chose to share this instead of the screen grab of congratulations that Neeraj gave to Arshad or of their friendship. pic.twitter.com/DmpXpTcD0Y
— Muzz (@MuzzImran) August 11, 2022
In his trademark red cap or ‘lal topi’ and army fatigues, Zaid Hamid is Pakistan’s foremost
conspiracy theorist who has made a career taking potshots at India—and everyone else.
The poster-boy for stylised sofa-warming-jihad once said that Prophet Muhammad
had declared ‘ghazva’ (war) on ‘Hind’ (India).
Armed with an assault rifle, he exhorts Pakistanis to stand with their military forces in an all- out war against India. In another video, he claimed that Bill Gates would control the world’s population through vaccines. For the most part—going by the comments on his YouTube channel—viewers don’t take him seriously.
(Edited by Zoya Bhatti)