Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sania Mirza and the Telangana Brand Ambassador Controversy

I had my own thoughts about this issue but preferred to keep them to myself until I saw one crazy post in fb which enumerated the many reasons why Sania is not a great patriot - disrespecting the flag, not holding a flag, not available for games, asking for land to build a tennis academy, playing with an Israeli and the biggest crime of all, marrying a Pakistani. I was bowled over by the number of likes and shares the post was getting. Where does all this hatred hide in this rational and patriotic Indian?

Sania Mirza has always lived by her terms. She has questioned and stuck to her ground on issues that would have shaken many of lesser mettle - be it her choice of clothes, partners, husband. Not one to blindly bow down to the rules laid down by those who are on unsure grounds themselves, she has carved a bigger niche for herself, for women as a whole, than most of these chaps can. Sania represents a rare spirit in women, one that cannot be cowed down.

To say she has done India proud would be an understatement. She has in more ways than one. There is no whimpering, soft, I-am-apologetic because I am Indian attitude in her. She trods those international surfaces with the greats as an equal. Apart from being one of India's best known face on the circuit, she represents a rare breed of Muslims who bring their own modern outlook to the game and society. She is one of the best things to have happened to Indian tennis, women on the whole and the Muslim stereotype people are fed upon. She is intelligent, smart and successful. She lives on her own terms.

All this is typically not digestible to the many. To be beautiful and unapologetic as a woman in India is a crime. To be successful more so. And to challenge the ultimate frontier and prefer marrying a Pakistani even more so. So a normal statement made by a politician about Sania's ineligibility to be brand ambassador for Telangana catches fire when he cannot resist turning in the knife - she is Pakistan's daughter-in-law. So? Is it a crime?

We have seen M.F. Hussain hounded out of the country by those who will never be able to create an inch of the artist's work even if they take all their lives. We have similar people now commenting on an icon who has won the kind of recognition and laurels that these people can never. Why are we bent on pulling down our icons? Our role models? Why cannot we see merit where there is? Why cannot we see mischief for what it is? Let a person who has half of Sania's merit or achievement comment on her and we will take them seriously. Why do we as a nation take a bunch of non-performing, rabble-rousing, non-achievers seriously when all they do is pull down icons and achievers and make them feel unwanted.

It boils down to this. Let those who can match half her achievements speak. The rest can go home and read about what she has done for the country. You can also wonder about what you have done for the country apart from pulling down the achievers. 

1 comment:

Madhav said...

Sania is awesome and a great INDIAN. Those who disagree can go.... well you know what they can do.