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Of Sania Mirza And Telangana: What Does A Pakistan Daughter-In-Law Mean Anyway?

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By Rahul Maganti:

An absolutely unwanted controversy about Sania Mirza spiralled off this week when a legislator of the BJP, K Lakshman, ridiculed the decision of the Telangana Government to appoint Sania Mirza as the brand ambassador of the newly formed Telangana state. He hasn’t stopped at criticizing the decision. Furthermore, he stooped to personal attacks, calling her a ‘Pakistan daughter-in-law’.

Sania Mirza

I closely tried to understand the meaning of this phrase- ‘Pakistan daughter-in-law’ and could derive two meanings: one from the word ‘Pakistan’ and the other from the word ‘daughter-in-law’. Pakistan is synonymous with Muslims for a majority of our saffron party leaders. And here, it is used in the context that since Sania Mirza is a Muslim, and that she married another Pakistani Muslim, she lost her Indian-ness. This means that we just elected someone who perceives people on the basis of their religion, country, race, creed and caste. Could there be anything sadder than this? Why are Indian Muslims always asked to prove their Indian-ness? The deplorable condition in our country now is that minorities need a certificate of the Hindutva conglomeration to prove their Indian-ness and their patriotism. India’s sons and daughters have to assert their Indian-ness based on how they pray or who they marry. Well done, India, well done!

The word ‘daughter-in-law’ used to describe her is asserting the domination of a male in the institution of marriage. Isn’t she a ‘daughter’ before she is somebody’s ‘daughter-in-law’? Did anyone ever tell Shoiab Malik that he is a ‘son-in-law’ of India? He will be referred to as Shoiab Malik but not as Sania Mirza’s husband. The problem here is with the male chauvinistic society which upholds patriarchal values. When we try to define a woman not with her own identity, but with that of her husband’s, brother’s or someone else’s, we disregard her. We implicitly refer to her as someone’s wife or sister, but not as a woman. We forget that before she is anything else, she is a woman. By issuing the statement, the legislator clearly indicated a sense of male entitlement over a female. He might not have thought about the implications that his statement would generate, but being insensitive and using religion and gender to make partisan statements about a sportsperson who has represented India at various international levels and still continues to do so, is utterly disappointing.

Sania Mirza belongs to two of the most disadvantaged communities, both in terms of gender and religion. Being born as a Muslim woman is the only thing she has done wrong. She would have been saved of this ordeal if she was born a Hindu male. If she was also a Brahmin, she would have earned praises from the saffron leaders and would have been made the ‘brand ambassador’ for India, or at least Indian tennis.

The hullabaloo surrounding Sania Mirza’s appointment reveals a deeply disturbing facet of current political scenario in our country. A Muslim with considerable economic and social capital in India is a part of a miniscule minority, and the painful vulnerability that even this section is subjected to, makes one shudder. It makes us think about the strengthened oppressions that the majority of Muslims who are denied a voice in the country’s political and social discourse, are experiencing and enduring every single day now; aided by the apathy and silence of this nation. With this very idea, this attack should not be looked at with complacence on Sania Mirza, a tennis player, but as an attack on Sania Mirza, an Indian Muslim female. How many such incidents are happening across the country? How many of them are being reported by the media? How many people are crying secretly behind their veil unlike Sania who had an opportunity to defend herself on a national television?

You must be to comment.
  1. Mehul

    The problems is not with muslim or daughter in law.. The kind of stmts u have made in article would have been acceptable if she had married some Muslim in India.

    Marrying ppl from country who is constantly looking out for chance to disrupt piece in our country can not prove her India-ness, she also did not carry Indian flag in common wealth march!

    And If you love Pakistan actions on border .. God bless u

    1. Rajat

      Truth has been told!!

  2. vijay anand

    Before she is a “daughter-in-law” of Pakistan,she is an Indian (and daughter of India) and she doesn’t need to prove this…because she is still playing tennis game on behalf of india…and first of all she is a female and we should not disrespect her for her identity…

  3. Naina

    It is not a question of belonging to a particular community. Your article is itself a bit communal if I may express my views. However, whatever has happened is sad. She deserves better. We certainly donot believe in discrimination, specially when it comes to someone who has played a key role in taking Indian tennis ahead. But I suggest when you are on a national medium, you could be a bit more sensible rather than being rhetorical.

    1. Manas

      Dear author,
      let me remind you, dont blame any politicians rather ask sania why did she refused to carry national flag in 2012 summer olympics. No one questioned her indianness, but she hershelf has to be blamed for the fault, and why are you writing communcal writing that the indian muslims are the victims of being asked indian. Its your writing that says like this and you are also fooling other to follow the same. By the way she is also a pakistani now as she has already married to. Dont put such article like this.

  4. An Indian

    Kalpna Chawla ne American citizenship li,American citizen se shadi ki or aakhri saans tk America ko apni sewaen din,tb kyun aap us pr fakhr kr kr k phule sama rahe thy.usko to daughter in law of America nahi.Bharat ki beti or virangna jese shabd bole ja rahe thy to phir Sania se ye sotela bartav kyun,jb ki wo to aaj bhi apne mulk bharat k liye hi khekti h.usney to apni sevices kisi or mulk ko nahi bechin.maaf kijiyega yahi dohra or sotela bartav logon ko baddil kr deta h. Jese Mohammad Ali cley ne aise hi soletele bartav ki wajha se apne medals nadi me phenk diye thy.

  5. Dr Vipul Rathod

    Politician should stop criticising such sensitive issues for their political sake.Rather focussing on other burning issues ,which actually needs attention like money in foreign country,corruption,rape…..,people criticise this lady ,who ,put India’s name on tennis world.Few people,for their own benefit ,hurt the community as whole.This community had given India ,young talents in every field.I am against this but for those people to know ,who counts people on basis of religion.Wake up youth… water the budding talent on humanatarism religion……WAKE UP!!!!!!!

  6. ANUVA

    Well you should also take into account the other side of the story.She refused to carry Indian flag in 2012 Olympics when all the others were carrying it with pride and I have even shared it and my ‘MUSLIM’ has even liked the post.So that means it’s not actually a ‘MUSLIM’ we are questioning-it’s a person who refuses to take pride in carrying the Indian flag after becoming a ‘PAKISTANI DAUGHTER-IN-LAW’.
    Whoever replies,please don’t write anything which you are unable to put in decent language.

  7. Prashant

    Does YKA provide a scholarship for writing such communal articles ? Does YKA belives in creating Middle-East kind of tensed situations where Muslims start thinking that they are a subject of subjugation and conspiracies.

    Sania Mirza issue has nothing to do with these 3 things –

    i) Muslim Discrimination
    ii) Female subjugation,
    iii) Brahmin domination.

    Yet writer has dragged all these into it. I really wonder how such fanciful ideas are generated, just curious to know the golden goose machine in this management of KYA which weekly delivers such brilliants eggs of distorted perception of reality.

    i) Sania didn’t became a Muslim in last few years. She was a Muslim since birth, and a darling of the whole country, including BJPians and entire right wing brigade untill recently.
    Moreover, The whole country worships the Muslim ‘Khan’ trinity of bollywood, the Muslim Muslim Rehman, the Muslim writer Javed Akhtar , and so on. Still writer writes in his bubbling enthusiasm – ” A Muslim with considerable economic and social capital in India is a part of a miniscule minority, and the painful vulnerability that even this section is subjected to, makes one shudder. “
    Get a non-distorted vision.
    People of our country don’t have problem with every Muslim. Even BJP doesn’t have. Remember it was BJP who gave the country a Muslim President.

    ii) Similarly, she didn’t became a woman any recent. She was one since birth and all while she remained cynosure of the people.
    It’s not a woman alone who is subjected to criticism for marrying in Pakistan. Few years ago, even the Army Chief or RAW chief’s credentials for the post were questioned as their marital partners were alleged to be from Pakistan. so such things can happen with anyone whether a male or female.

    iii) Writer racks up the ‘Brahmin domination’ here. I really don’t understand what Sania Mirza issue has got to do with Brahmin or any other caste. It seems if nothing works, at last, divide the Hindu society along caste lines as there are many buyers for that.
    DO you mean in India only Brahmin are allowed to be top ambassadors, politicians, bureaucrats, models ?
    Come on, the whole BJP today is sitting under a non Brahmin politician.
    The writer happily missed the most essential and relevant points raised by BJP. Was this miss deliberate and intentional ?
    Her critics say – Sania Didnt refused to hold the Indian Tri color flag in an International Event – the London Olypmpic 2012..
    She showed disrespect to national flag by putting her feet on face of tricolor on her table. etc
    She married a national of an enemy state.
    No one is against her Indian ness. No one is questioning her citizen ship. The question is isnt there some more suitable than Sania ? And if Sania is so emotional about her desire to be ambassador, why charging a whooping 1Crore rupee from a new born state treasure.
    There are many popular Telangites like ‘Mithali Raj’ – captain of Indian Cricket team or Mohtesham Ali Khan – World famous Indian body builder.

    Saddly you missed what was relevant and started racking what was completely irrelevant and communal in character.

    Dear, Why are you so casteist in your analysis ?
    Why are you so communal ?

    Do you want the country to back and start rioting on religious and caste lines ?

    P.S. I am not a supporter or critic of Sania Mirza as state ambassador. To me such concept of state ambassadorship is a complete waste of tax payers money on useless promotions. If some celebrity wants to be a state ambassador , he/she should do it out of philanthropy.

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