Sania Mirza cries over Pakistan taunt

Published July 26, 2014
Sania Mirza
Sania Mirza

NEW DELHI: Indian tennis star Sania Mirza broke down in tears on Friday after being described by a politician as “Pakistan’s daughter-in-law” and unfit to be an Indian representative.

Sania Mirza, 27, who is married to Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik, wiped away tears as she told India’s NDTV network she was tired of continually being forced to defend her “Indian-ness”.

“I am a very patriotic person. That is why I am so emotional right now,” she said in the interview aired on television.

“After winning medals for India after I got married, (I) don’t know why I have to keep justifying that I am Indian,” Mirza said.

In comments reported earlier this week by local media, K. Laxman, a regional legislator belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), questioned the credentials of Sania Mirza to be “brand ambassador” for India’s newest state, Telengana.

Laxman was quoted as saying her marriage to Shoaib Malik made her a “daughter-in-law” of Pakistan.

“Telangana is proud of Sania,” a spokesman for the state government said in appointing her brand ambassador for the region.

Telangana was carved this year out of the state of Andhra Pradesh, in southern India. Sania Mirza grew up in Hyderabad, in what is now Telangana.

“Fans across the country don’t think her Indianness has gotten mysteriously diluted,” because of her wedding to Malik, the Times of India said in an opinion-page piece.

Mirza, who has played for India at all major-level sporting events, has been defended by leaders across the political spectrum, including BJP members who said its party member’s comment did not reflect its official stance.

Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2014

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