Disrespect: But to Whom?

sania.jpgWhen the media goes into an overdrive, reporting on cases filed against Sachin Tendulkar for cutting an India-shaped cake or Sania Mirza for disrespecting the tricolour, it is merely creating news where there is none. I look upon such episodes as futile exercises in attention-seeking. Even the accusations are made on such flimsy grounds. It is just a way for a person to get into the limelight. With the aim of securing good TRPs through airing of scandals and controversies surrounding the rich and the famous, the electronic media provides such pranksters with a great deal of exposure. Mirza had become the target of some perverse people in the past, as well. Last month, the police registered a case of trespassing against her for filming an ad in the premises of a mosque in her hometown, Hyderabad. The 21-year-old has also faced an edict in the past from a Muslim group after her tennis attire was termed ‘un-Islamic’.

I am extremely disappointed by the recent controversy surrounding Mirza, where she is alleged to have shown disrespect to the tricolour. The Indian ace from Hyderabad is aiming for a top-ten place in the singles and the doubles this year. She has a very important year ahead of her. Most importantly, in the Olympics, she will be playing in the women’s singles and she has a great chance of winning a medal in the women’s doubles. Not too long ago, Time magazine named Mirza among a group of people, who would create and change history. Rumour has it that the tennis star had dishonoured the Indiaan flag by placing her feet right in front of it, while watching a match at the Hopman Cup in Perth. A lawyer in Madhya Pradesh has filed a case against her. If found guilty, she could be sentenced to up to three years of imprisonment and a fine.

I really don’t know what to say, but I am out and out against such allegations that are baseless. Mirza is a great nationalist and she has the highest regard for the national flag. It is not long ago that she had lodged a protest when, in the course of a match abroad, the Indian flag was not properly hoisted, and she had resumed play only after the mistake was corrected. The legitimacy of the photograph is also questionable. The angle of the shot distorts the proximity of Mirza’s feet to the flag. Moreover, it is possible that the flag was placed in a row in front of the one where she was sitting. Whatever be the case, one should refrain from dragging someone, who is doing so much for the country, unnecessarily into inane controversies. Unfortunately, this seems to have become a trend in India. A time may come when people who wish to do some good for the country would be deterred by controversies. Controversies that prevent them from concentrating on their performance that should matter the most!

Mirza is considering her future in tennis after the latest controversy. Everything is adding up and she is starting to wonder whether it is all worth it! However, people close to her are advising her to hold on and continue in the world of tennis. We can only hope tha she pays heed to the advice.

Rishabh Srivastava