This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Bala Sai Kiran. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Meet Maria Sharapova, The One Who Didn’t Know Sachin Tendulkar. Also, She Plays Tennis

More from Bala Sai Kiran

By Bala Sai:

One day she admitted that she didn’t know who Sachin Tendulkar was. In less than 24 hours, every Indian with internet access knew who she was. Meet Maria Sharapova, the one who didn’t know Sachin Tendulkar. Also, she plays tennis.


In the span of just one press conference, she managed to invite the wrath of an entire nation. The internet was rife with colorful memes and tweets that mocked her, condemned her, threatened her, and insulted her. People were suddenly furious with her because she was dumb, racist, arrogant, disrespectful, and ignorant. People had issues with her wearing short skirts, stretching her muscles on the tennis net and even with her being a woman. She lost many fans, with some even going to the lengths of forsaking all of tennis. Thankfully, there were no suicides reported.

Theoretically, one could sympathize with her for her ignorance – After all, the poor lady was born in Russia and lives in America, two countries where cricket is more a scary, jumpy insect than an actual sport. But forget theory, you are dealing with India here!

I believe it is time Ms.Sharapova knew about our nation and how things work here. India is a mammoth country of 1.2 billion people (3 times as much as both Russia and the USA put together), and we have 26 Olympic medals in all of eternity, and we keep forgetting that. Our national game is hockey (last I checked), and most Indians can’t name one hockey player. Throw at us the world’s top-20 popular sports persons and watch us bravely scratch our heads and shrug. A 20-year old Bangladeshi cricketer is likely to be more popular here than the likes of a Martina Navratilova or a Pete Sampras; because in India, cricket is much more than just a sport.

One could sadly recollect that cricket once used to be a gentleman’s game before it came to India and festered into a religion. Cricket is an Indian’s claim to global recognition. It is a symbol, a shield, a matter of pride. But unfortunately, that isn’t where it stops. The Indian holds cricket too close to his chest; it is the only thing he’s got. An insult to the sport is bound to be taken personally. He finds it difficult to comprehend that it isn’t such a huge deal in most parts of the world. Inevitably, when an international sportsperson as popular as Ms. Sharapova doesn’t recognize the very God of cricket, not only has she blasphemed, she has insulted our entire country.

It doesn’t help that she is a woman either. Indians have the glorious distinction of whipping up a nation-wide controversy solely based on Sania Mirza’s short skirts. Ms.Sharapova’s innocuous comment is an excuse enough to unleash torrents of ‘Indian culture’ on her, throwing curses and abuses aimed at her womanhood, sagely advising her on how to be a ‘decent woman’ and teaching her to ‘respect’ her own game.

Browsing through the tennis star’s plagued Facebook wall is a definitely entertaining and potentially scary prospect. One of her recent photographs became a battlefield for warring Indians and Pakistanis (who have risen in support of Ms. Sharapova as means of enraging the Indians), as they exchange expletives and insults, displaying to the world the sub-continent in all its glory. Even innocent by-standers who dare question the attackers are insulted and driven away from the scene. For those who require excuses to escape the traps of rationality, there are also conspiracy theories alleging that Ms.Sharapova knew Tendulkar and was lying merely to insult him.

Though it is a surety that Maria Sharapova has been reminded sufficiently of the existence of a little man named Sachin, a sport named cricket and eventually a strange exotic country named India, our valiant cricket crazy internet population has exhibited to the world at large, just how childish and insecure we can be, when faced with even a minor bruise to our egos.

Now that Wimbledon is over, Ms. Sharapova might want to pay a visit to our country and learn about our ‘culture’, lest she should endanger her life in some future press conference. If she does choose to travel here, she might be warned by her country’s authorities of the dangers of being a woman in India, which just stops short of being a punishable offence. She might be told to refrain from wearing short clothes, using the street at nights, being seen in a pub or holding hands in public- all of which are seen as legitimate grounds for rape. She will most certainly be warned not to dare attempt crossing an Indian road without prior training or carry any sort of valuables with her anywhere. Maybe a few days in India will teach her some respect. She might at one point wonder why Indians would fume over some foreigner’s inconsequential statement when their country is reeking with so many problems that need attention, but hey, this is India. This is how we roll.

You must be to comment.
  1. The angry blonde

    This is just sad. People doesn’t have least decency. Shallow mentality and bigotry of our people will never change. :'(

  2. Eshita

    A well written thought………!!!

  3. Marvin

    Wow, that’s India and its so dumb. 12 billion people 3x bigger than US and Russia combine. And 3x dumber than anyone in the world. People of the world. This is INDIA.

    1. anish

      total world population is below 8billon, u knw? so I guess indian dumbness =3x(anyone in the world – you).
      i’m kidding, if u r gonna get furious 😀

    2. anonymous

      12 billion? wat a fool! it’s 1.2 bn.. moron

  4. Parul

    The most sad part is that we cant give any support to our own sport heros (not talking about cricket) and are adamant of giving a foreigner a lesson.. do these chaps know who Rajkumar Tiwari is?? a gold medalist struggling to get funds so as to represent our country in figure skating..!! None is god…proper facilities (if provided) and practice make a champion. The country where rape cases are at an alarming can u expect them to respect a foreign woman?? Abusing her on her facebook/twitter page, these ppl are bringing shame to the nation..very sad 🙁

  5. Parth Garg

    Great Article… But, Hokey as our national game???

    It was never our national game.. We never had a national game..

  6. Anubhav Shankar

    Articulate and to the point. Our insecurity is always looking for validation from well known personalities in order to make our achievements worthwhile , but, criticism not tot be tolerated at any level.

  7. Eshita

    Its so sad to see people scribbling nonsense after nonsense and blow up such a petty conversation of Maria Sharapova not knowing who Sachin Tendulkar is…..!! And what’s more sad is that we Indians are the ones contributing to such things, who are every now and then boasting about its rich culture and tradition…and giving respect being one of them….!!

  8. Gaurav

    I love both Tendulkar and Sharapova 😀

  9. neha

    Sharapova not knowing the legend was not an issue, ‘coz every being on the earth is not compulsorily meant to have known him, as “Throw at us the world’s top-20 popular sports persons and watch us bravely scratch our heads and shrug ” but definitely an attempt to insult was more than a crime, hurting sentiments of a large population.
    But then it is hard to believe a sportsperson(a tennis star) not knowing the other sportsperson(the legend in sports), the one who lies high above in the list of forbes than the former one.

  10. Pallavi

    We indians have to make a fool of ourselves at every opportunity we get. May lord, give them brains instead of egos when he makes the next batch of self-righteous Indians. Abusing sharapova on social sites wont help since she dont even care ;p Sincere request to the fools out there..stop coz ur embarrassing other fellow indians !!!

  11. praveen

    Hi bala,nice article but small correction. Hockey is not our national game.In fact there is no such thing called a national game.please check it and let me know if l am wrong.Anyways,article is good.

  12. Anirudh

    Nice humor… Great writing style!

  13. ashokseshadri

    The subject u choose is inconsequential. But i liked ur naration. Way to go.

  14. Suraj

    Hockey is our national game. The reason it’s not visible like cricket is that it does not get media coverage(at all!), the facilities, the funding and the support that it requires.
    A simple test – How many of you knew Milkha Singh before you saw the movie? Hardly anyone did. And yet today everyone suddenly seems to know his biography…

  15. Prashanth Balasubramanian

    Gr8 article bala ……… continue ur good work ………

  16. Apurva

    Totally agree

More from Bala Sai Kiran

Similar Posts

By Vineet Ranga

By Ronak Aazad

By Priyanka Mishra

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below