This Article is From Aug 27, 2014

She's Hamari Sania. Deal With it

(Mohd Asim is a News Editor at NDTV 24X7) 

"I am an Indian who will remain an Indian until the end of my life," Sania Mirza, who otherwise needs no introduction, had to clarify.

As her country, it's a sad day for us. Sania has delivered top honours for Indian tennis, taken it to never-attained-before heights. Yet today she had to 'clarify' that she is, and will remain, an Indian. Why? Just because a couple of jerks thought her unfit to be brand ambassador of the newly-formed state of Telangana.

"She is the daughter-in-law of Pakistan, so she cannot be the brand ambassador of an Indian state," asked BJP's K Laxman, adding that because Sania had not participated in a pro-telangana movement, she is not deserving of state honours. "What has she done for Telangana?" was a somewhat 'milder' objection from Congress' Hanumantha Rao.

Mr Laxman's diatribe - and it does amount to hate comments -  betrays his parochial, patriarchal, perverted mindset. It's the mindset that believes "beti to paraya dhan hoti hai." So a girl is nothing but a future daughter-in-law. No matter how much success she achieves in any other career. Ultimately she gets married and becomes someone's daughter-in-law. And in Sania's case it's a double whammy. She has married a Pakistani. So, in the eyes of myopic Mr Laxman's, she has lost her claim on the country and city she belongs to.

By the same twisted logic, should all of Sania's medals, rewards and accolades be now given to Pakistan in dowry? And what do we about her Arjuna Award and Padam Shri?

Did Mr Laxman apply the same logic to Sonia Gandhi? Why does she remain an outsider for his party even after being India's daughter-in-law? Selective Sanskriti, if I may say?


But, unfortunately, this is not the first time that Sania has had to deal with such unnecessary and unkind distractions in her career. Earlier, there were some mullahs who objected to the hemlines of her tennis dress. For them she was not the tennis ace but a Muslim girl who should dress 'properly'. Then there was another moral brigade that twisted her remarks on safe sex at a conference and cried that Sania supported pre-marital sex. And least said the better about all the hooplah surrounding her marriage to Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik. The entire 'nationalist' brigade saw it as a personal insult. 'Why couldn't she marry an Indian?" was, and still is, the common grouse. Well, it's just that she fell in love with a guy, who happened to be Pakistani. She married the person, not the country.

Sania, like a true sporstperson, has been humble, gracious and intelligent enough to not get bogged down by such controversies. She has faced it all and moved on. Sania is bigger than any controversy or any finger pointed at her.

This too shall pass. But the question remains: Should it come to this pass?

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