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    Doubles trouble for Sania Mirza


    by Shariq on 13th March, 2006 at 4:54 pm    

    Sania MirzaIndian tennis player Sania Mirza sure lives an interesting life. After controversies over her clothes and remarks over the Khushboo scandal, another flare-up is brewing - this time over her choice of doubles partner.

    Ms Mirza is good friends with the Israeli player Shahar Peer and would like to resume their doubles partnership. Unfortunately the last time they played it upset the usual suspects and, with her profile continuing to rise, this will come up sooner or later. In fact they had intended to play together at a match in recently Bangalore before Mirza thought it would be best that they didn’t.

    This irritated some other people, but I actually think it’s the type of principled pragmatism which those who challenge the status quo sometimes need to undertake. Make a principled point by playing in tournaments in other parts of the world but don’t unnecessarily create a big fuss which is then exploited by conservative elements in your country when you are already a highly controversial figure.

    As for Muslims and Jews playing tennis together, there is a precedent. Pakistani Aisam-ul-Haq and Israeli Amir Hadad won the ATP’s Arthur Ashe Sportsmanship Award for playing (well) together at Wimbledon in 2002. (I don’t think they played again, but I think that was more to do with Aisam foolishly thinking he could make it as a singles player, but don’t get me started on that).



      |     |   Add to del.icio.us   |   Share on Facebook   |   Filed in: Moral police, Religion, Sports




    16 Comments below   |  

    1. Eric — on 13th March, 2006 at 5:40 pm  

      Yet another excuse to trot out that picture eh? ;-)

    2. Sunny — on 13th March, 2006 at 6:44 pm  

      I hope you’re not accusing us of gratuituous references to Sania Mirza just so we can put up a picture of her Eric!
      Any increases in our hit-rate is entirely coincidental I can assure you :)

    3. xyz — on 13th March, 2006 at 7:01 pm  

      How far should she take this “principled pragmatism” (and how come this concept doesn’t extend to india’s “pragmatic” foreign policy?)

      Should she then go further by wearing long pants or a burkha when playing tennis in India because the same conservative elements have also called her dress un-islamic? If an Indian player foolishly refused to play doubles with a Pakistani player because of possible ire from conservative elements and the possibility of unnecessarily creating a furore would that also be “principled pragmatism”?

    4. Anand — on 13th March, 2006 at 7:13 pm  

      How far should she take this “principled pragmatism” (and how come this concept doesn’t extend to india’s “pragmatic” foreign policy?)

      Ummmm…..because one is a young female tennis player trying to get a bunch of conservative old mullahs off her back and the other is….well, a nation’s foreign policy.

      Can you point us to how the two are connected in your example? Because otherwise it seems very fatuous and even strained to make the comparison!

    5. Anand — on 13th March, 2006 at 7:14 pm  

      Should she then go further by wearing long pants or a burkha when playing tennis in India because the same conservative elements have also called her dress un-islamic?

      That really is a fatuous comment.

    6. xyz — on 13th March, 2006 at 7:17 pm  

      [Can you point us to how the two are connected in your example? Because otherwise it seems very fatuous and even strained to make the comparison!]

      Sorry, just read who posted this item. I thought the post was by someone else.

    7. xyz — on 13th March, 2006 at 7:21 pm  

      No it is not. The same people who would be angered by her playing with an Israeli player are the same people who have lambasted her for her dress. If you’re going to give in to them on one issue, why not give into them on everything else? They would rather she not play tennis altogether.

      You often see Arab athletes who refuse to participate with Israeli athletes. However, their countries have very poor or no relations with Israel. India is a democratic, secular country with fairly good relations with Israel. Why then should Ms. Mirza be intimidated out of playing with her “good friend” on Indian soil when the majority of Indians would support her?

    8. xyz — on 13th March, 2006 at 7:27 pm  

      If India was to face Israel in a Federation Cup match on Indian soil, would Ms. Mirza pull out of the competition? And if another Indian player decided they didn’t want to play a Pakistani player in a Davis Cup tournament on Indian soil, or anywhere else for that matter, what do you think the reaction would be?

    9. Sunny — on 13th March, 2006 at 7:29 pm  

      If you’re going to give in to them on one issue, why not give into them on everything else?

      I don’t think she is giving in, and I doubt she will. She hasn’t donned the burkha and neither is she planning to. She’s just not confrontational - which is her prerogative.

      It’s like saying why did Khushboo apologise or try to clarify her comments about women not necessarily being virgins instead of telling those Tamil parties to go stuff themselves?

      Sometimes its best to just whether the storm, say nothing much, and do what you want anyway. I believe Sania is showing some maturity.

    10. xyz — on 13th March, 2006 at 7:47 pm  

      I feel sorry for her and Khushboo that they have to go to these lenghths. Especially Sania, because she’s so young and these things interfere with her talent. But they also have to be consistent in their “maturity.” If Sania is going to keep a low profile about the issue of playing with an Israeli, she needs to be consistent and keep a low profile over all issues.

      I blame the media mostly, but then people like Sania and Khushboo have a responsibility to not pander to the media’s repetitive questions about their religion/views on sex once the dust has settled for awhile. They’ve made those views clear and should just say I won’t be answering any more of those types of questions. However, they continue to fan the issue by making statements that just invite more attention and ire. I know celebrities love to use the media when it suits them and slam it when it doesn’t suit them, so they can’t complain.

      And I just know that if this had been an Indian player who refused to play with a Pakistani player for whatever reason, the reaction wouldn’t have been so quiet. I’m looking forward to a Wimbledon and U.S. Open free of any comment about religion from either the media or Sania.

    11. Gaurav — on 14th March, 2006 at 3:50 am  

      Sunny,

      I find it disconcerting that a Indian muslims is being dragged into a Israel-Palestine issue.
      While any Indian is free to support Palestine, this notion of solidarity solely on basis of religion is little upsetting.

      Regards

    12. Vikrant — on 14th March, 2006 at 7:11 am  

      @xyz #10: Ditto.

    13. Vikrant — on 14th March, 2006 at 7:12 am  

      And Sunny, i see no mentions of Varanasi.. hmm… interesting.

    14. DAtley — on 15th March, 2006 at 8:38 pm  

      Well she is a citizen of india a country with officail diplomatic ties with israel and growing business ties with israel as well.
      Big deal !

    15. VIc Nan — on 16th March, 2006 at 8:23 pm  

      I really don’t care who she partners with, but I’d like to see her win something, anything. The public adores her, millions of endorsement rupees pour in and the hype is palpable. But Sania still has a long way to go before she can become a recognized force in world tennis. Don’t spoil her with undeserved adulation, flattery, fame and money.

      ———————-
      To: minister.yas@nic.in
      Date: Aug 27 2005 - 8:54pm
      Subject: Indian Awards

      Khel Ratna for a silver medalist? An Arjuna award for (a) a WTA top 50 player whose only noteworthy accomplishment so far is to win a second-tier WTA tournament at home, (b) a golfer who cannot even
      consistently make the cut at top tier golf tournaments, much less majors, and (c) others who would hardly be recognized outside India even by sportsmen/women in their own fields?

      It seems to me that we have stooped to a new low in (further) devaluing Indian awards. I do not intend to trash the feats of these men and women, but it is way too premature to give these awards to Rathore, Mirza and Randhawa. They themselves would acknowledge that they have more to accomplish in their chosen fields and I do hope they go on to achieve greater feats. Not long ago, many cricketers were showered with awards, many of them undeservingly.

      All these two awards highlight is the need of a self-obsessed nation to be recognized by the world at large for its accomplishments, disregarding the fact that these are relatively miniscule feats in the world of tennis and shooting. It is noteworthy that only a few weeks back the Magsaysay was awarded to an Indian doctor for a lifetime of service and research and dedication. It is clear that Indian awards are not made of the same substance.

    16. prince — on 3rd April, 2006 at 10:53 am  

      no commnte

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