Virat Kohli is a Sikh by birth, but it’s not clear if he still practices the religion. He was born into and raised by a Sikh family before becoming one of India’s greatest cricketers of all time. His family are also ardent Sikh followers to this day. Virat is one of Team India’s leading cricketers, so it’s only natural for fans to seek information about many aspects of his life.
His aggression to batting styles and daring, dominant gameplay makes him one of cricket’s top players in history.
What are Virat Kohli’s Comments on Religion?
Virat Kohli has made some controversial comments about religion in the past. One of the most surprising comments came when he said:
“I believe in God, but you will not see me in any temple. I believe in enlightenment; peace of mind means a lot to me”
In a huge about-face, Kohli also said:
“I don’t believe in God. I believe in hard work and that’s what I have always done”.
His comments sparked controversy from fans with some claiming he disrespects the beliefs of other regions. However, Kohli has come out to clarify his comments in recent times, sharing that he respects all religions. He has also said he isn’t against any god and believes everyone is free to practice their faith.
Religion is a highly-sensitive topic in India, so it’s only common for fans to express their anger against such comments from a respectable figure.
How Does Virat Kohli React to Religious Intolerance?
Religious attacks do not sit well with Virat Kohli and he has been vocal about freedom of religion in words and action for years. He once defended a Muslim teammate, Mohammad Shami, when he was at the receiving end of religious attacks.
A growing tide of religious hatred against people practicing minority faiths crept into cricket. A range of vicious attacks on social media targeted at Shami started after India lost to Pakistan at a recent World Cup. Some sets of Indian fans claimed Shami underperformed so that the majority Muslim Pakistan will gain victory over the Men in Blues.
Kohli’s vigorous defence of Shami brought criticism from some fans, but Virat stood his ground nonetheless. Virat also spends time with Muslims and people from other faiths, learning how these religions impact lives.
Kohli’s stance on religion always causes backlash from ardent religious people. However, his stance against religious bigotry has been a pointer towards possible religious tolerance and freedom to practice any faith without fear.
How Did Religious Tolerance in Indian Cricket Fare Before Kohli’s Defense?
The earliest time of Indian cricket saw teams arranged according to their religious affiliation. There were different sets of teams for Hindus, Muslims, and Parsees in the early days. At the other end, European cricket teams also had teams made up of entirely white players in the earliest tournaments that shaped this sport.
Cricket competitions with such patterns continued for years before outcry from popular figures halted such teams. Figures like Gandhi claimed racial and religious prejudice was at the foundation of such team arrangements.
Religious intolerance in cricket has significantly decreased since that time; however, it hasn’t stopped by any stretch. India has had several prominent cricketers across faiths since the dark days of religious intolerance in the sport. Some of the country’s most popular cricketers like Nawab Pataudi, who went on to marry a Hindu, were practicing Muslims.
Many commentators hope that religious tolerance will improve in cricket as the years go by. Kohli’s actions and comments against religious bigotry and intolerance will help lead the way.
Who are Virat Kohli’s Parents?
Virat Kohli was born to Prem and Saroj Kohli. He is the last child of his parents and junior to Vikas (brother) and Bhawna (sister). His father was a criminal lawyer for several years while his mother is a homemaker.
Where Did Kohli Spend His Early Years?
Virat spent his formative time in Uttam Nagar and went on to enroll at Bharti Public School. Family sources claim Kohli exhibited a love for cricket from an early age, some say as early as three years old. His family members said Virat always wanted his father to bowl while he held a cricket bat for many years while growing up.
Kohli would go on to meet Rajkumar Sharma, one of India’s leading cricket figures in the 80s and 90s. He moved on after training in popular academies to feature in India’s under-15 Delhi team. Kohli progressed to other reputable academies before his ascension to the pinnacle of Indian cricket.