Saturday, April 03, 2010

Beware a Comedy of Mirrors

Byline by M J Akbar: Beware a Comedy of Mirrors

A comedy of errors is a minor fracas. We have all been there. But beware the comedy of mirrors, when you don’t get what you see — or, worse, you don’t see what you get.

Sania Mirza and Shoaib Malik have known “true love”, or one of its many transitory manifestations, before, otherwise the first would not have got engaged and the second would not have got married earlier. There is another lady in Hyderabad, Ayesha, who is displaying a nikahnama as proof of an earlier Malik marriage. The Malik family is careful in its response, describing the document as invalid rather than a forgery. But they are safe, since there is no legal hitch to the Shoaib-Sania wedding: Muslim men can marry four times in Pakistan (or, indeed, in India). Sania recently celebrated her engagement to a childhood friend who turned out, on closer inspection, to be maritally challenged.

Shakespeare took care, when writing Romeo and Juliet, to make them about 15 years of age, in the middle of their teens. You have to be gloriously na├»ve to die for love. Adults live for love, and hope for sustainable compatibility in marriage. It is ironic that the term “Romeo” has acquired connotations of promiscuity when the actual chap was the very model of high romance and fidelity.

Shoaib is 30, and certainly not a Shakespearean Romeo, either in age or temperament. At 30 the original Romeo would have had a son looking around for his own Juliet. Sania has surely factored in the possibility that her soon-to-be-husband might have been a modern rather than an old-fashioned Romeo. But that is a meaningless quibble. She is perfectly aware of the implications of her decision, including the fact that she is marrying a Pakistani. She has every right to make a personal choice that transcends nationality, but she must indulge in the luxury of illusions.

There are other issues, etched in the sexual subconscious of the subcontinent, some of which can barely be mentioned in print but resonate through a mass psychology created by subsets of false arrogance. Signals will be read into television images once the drama is given its visuals.

Sania and Shoaib are stellar magnets for the media, and their marriage will be a public event with repercussions and interpretations beyond their mutual relationship. Pakistani tennis authorities have already made a claim on her; although we have not been told whether Pakistan’s morality monitors have endorsed the short skirts and T-shirts Sania wears on tennis courts. Her mother-in-law, apparently, has already said that such sartorial minimalism is not her preferred taste. India has no problems with skirts, but it might have one with such mothers-in-law.

Love is about wives and husbands; marriage is about mothers-in-law. Fed with the adrenalin of illusion, it is easy to rush in where angels dare to tread. In your happy delirium you do not notice that the honeymoon has been named after a moon, and a moon wanes after it waxes — and if you are not careful, disappears behind a cloud. Sania’s first serious lunar probe should be to find out whether she has become a wife or a trophy wife. This would apply on both the individual and collective level.

Shoaib Malik’s track record is not very encouraging, if his “alleged” first wife Ayesha is to be believed. It was a marriage, apparently, made in a telephone bhavan, since the nikah was solemnised over long-distance phone on 3 June 2002. Ayesha’s photographs in which she seemed slim, it seems, entranced Shoaib. According to Ayesha, she was dumped when he discovered that she was fat. Shoaib contests this. But it would be unusual for a conventional Indian woman to invent a high-profile accusation of such a sensitive nature. In any case, the relevant point for Sania is not the weight of an allegation that may or may not be true, but the weight of the reason. If Ayesha’s problem was the difference between pose and adipose, I hope, for her sake, that Sania is immune to rising fat levels in her body.

Equally, for her sake, I hope Sania has not become a trophy wife for her husband’s country.

Sania still believes that she can continue to be a citizen of India. This is correct in theory; the practice might be another story. India and Pakistan do not permit dual citizenship. Pakistan law demands that if a citizen’s spouse wants to live in the country, he or she must become a Pakistani citizen. A subcontinent mother-in-law might wonder why her son’s wife can only meet her with permission from the Government. And Sania would need a separate passport booklet only for Pak visas. For the couple, Dubai will be a residence, not a home. Sania and Shoaib are sports professionals. Their flutter with the limelight is lucrative, but brief. Their children will need a nationality, and, unless they shift to London or America, they will be Pakistani. Sania is welcome to whatever future she has fashioned for herself, but she should not fool herself into believing that she can marry a Pakistani and retain the rights and privileges of an Indian. On 11 April Sania Mirza will acquire the right to become a citizen of Pakistan, with its mother-in-law’s dress codes. She should grasp the opportunity. Why the reluctance?


R.Alamsha Karnan said...

Sania Mirza, Muslims and the failure of constitution:

"The security issue is understandable in indo-Pak context. Both the governments can sign a special bilateral agreement taking responsibilty of their citizens married and living in each other's land through their respective embassies".

The constitution of India guarantees fundamental right for every citizen to marry whomsoever they like and live peacefully in their home.

Sania Mirza's decision to marry Shoaib, a Pakistani ciitzen, has jeopardised her right to live peacefully in India because of the Indo-Pak hatred and enmity. The constitution does not prohibit marriages among Indian and Pakistani citizens.

Today Sania Mirza has unofficially lost her right to live in her country and may be forced to quit and settle in another country for good. Same thing happened with MF Hussein also. Despite bringing pride and respect for the nation in the world arena, GOI had failed to protect the rights of it's citizens. The reason is obvious. "Muslims".

No doubt, our constitution is one of the best but it NEVER works for a Muslim. It fails promptly every time when Muslims desperately expect it to work.

The President is the constitutional head and has taken oath to protect the rights of every citizen. Thousands of Indo-Pak couples are going through unspeakable ordeals and nightmare at the hands of corrupt police and immigration system.

Let's face it. Majority Indian muslims have a relative in Pakistan. In fact, every Indian Muslim family must establish marriage relationship with Pakistan.

Why the PM/President are NOT stepping in and declaring that every citizen has the right to marry whomsoever they like and live peacefully in their home?.


Ask any Muslim "if Modi killls Muslims, will police and army save Muslims?". Not a single Muslim has confidence.

250 million Indian Muslims have lost faith in the constitution and Judiciary. This is the bitter Truth.

Modi will Kill Muslims. Appeal for Hijrath:

zunair said...

First of all i want to ask from u that r u a muslim.The words u have used for mother in laws in pakistan clearly dipicts ur shallowness towards islamic rules and muslim triditions.I m alyman nad dont have the intellectual touch inwritings as u have but I feel really pitty when muslims in india defends their indian counterpart's views and goes out of their limits just to prove their nationalism. Even after 50 yeras of independence muslims in india are still having no nationality.........

quixotic.knight said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
quixotic.knight said...

I read the previous comments and It's sad to see that people apparently fail to digest classy sense of humor.

I think it a very well written blog and the reference to Romeo and Juliet is hilarious.

I am currently reading "Blood Brothers" Sir, and I'm a fan.

It would be an honor if you could take out some time to read my blog.I'm a 25 year old professional who just started blogging :P

Gajendra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gajendra said...


Unknown said...

The citizens of Pakistan do not command much respect & trust in other countires.

Using religion as the prime tool (in ways against fellow human beings) to SOLVE their national issues, political issues, succession issues and above all personal rivalry between their fellow citizens has turned many pakistani citizens into a very violent people.
The state of their nation since 1947 is there for every one to see and judge.

Common Person

R.Alamsha Karnan said...

Paki Hindus must appeal for Hjrath to HIndustan:

Indian Hindus must marry Paki Hindus:

Hijrath: Quran says "If you can not practice Islam out of fear and threat, migrate to Darul-Islam, the land of Islam".

"250 million Indian Muslims must blame Brahmins+Modi+Jihad and appeal for Hijrath-migration to 55 OIC Islamic nations"

"4 million Hindus who are suffering at the hands of barabaric talibans and mullahs in Pakistan must appeal to Hindustan for Hijrath".

There are 4 million Hindus living in Pakistan. All Paki Hindus are children of Bharat Mata by default and they have the right to return/settle in their mother land.

There may be around half a million eligible bachelors for marriage among Paki Hindus. All Hindus are ONE big family and part of vasudhaiva kutumbakam.

Paki Hindus must appeal for Hjrath to Hindustan. It's an insult for great Hindu pride to live in barbaric Islamic Pakistan.

Every Indian Hindu family must try to establish marriage relationship with Paki Hindus.

Unknown said...

We were told that Sania was smitten by this Pakistani since last 5 years. Her parents were
against this relationship due to this cricketer's dubious character and political repercussions. She broke-out of her engagement with Shorab against the wishes of her

We were told that Sania is behind this Pakistani for achieving a grand strategic objective
of minting money at Dubai. She would make money just from tennis match appearances (forget
about making money by winning the match as She will be paid money just for tennis match
appearance by the Sheik's of Gulf). Supporting this long term objective, her would-be will
turn Dubai into a cricketing hub on the same lines as India IPL.

Sania Mirza - Do not sell this snake oil to other people from your community in India and
elsewhere. This will poison them. You seem to care a damn about the lives of people who have
died for the sake of their families up-bringing, by doing their livelihood job of battling
violence emanating from Pakistanis since 1947.

You are looking at your personal lust(love ?) & gains without bothering about your society’s feelings.

Common Person

sidmalani said...

Bravo Mr Akbar! Great writing. Keep writing Sir.


Unknown said...

We were told that Sania is behind this Pakistani for achieving a grand strategic objective
of minting money at Dubai. She would make money just from tennis match appearances

Anonymous said...

marrying a Pakistani cricketer can ruin Sania Mirza's public image.why Sania is taking such step is talk of the town.why she wants to play for India?is a big question.first she would have tried to find a Indian Dulha for herself

Unknown said...

RSS & others are only arguing against fickle minded people who are born and brought up in India Bharath (home) but deep in their hearts & minds loathe the local society people (own home members) for some or the other reason (like traditional practices, corruption, lack of development etc), support foreign countries on religious lines, give funds to foreign country causes without bothering about local people problems (their own home members) where they are born and brought up. What help(obligations) can be expected out of such people in the hour of need (home emergencies). It is like staying in a home and working towards cutting the pillars of this home.
They are telling the harsh reality without resorting to killings.

Taking birth in a country is like taking birth in a family which only God almighty decides. There will be problems till eternity. If there are problems in ones country (home), citizens have to work together and solve those problems instead of running away from problems.

The governance and impartial laws implemented by majority people (Hindus) of India and because to their forgiving nature, has given a home to people belonging to all other religions, in spite of the fact that some of it's citizens (Muslims) who stayed back amidst 1947 partition related killings with religious exploitative history against Hindus, were not the best and productive people. This humane gesture is so magnanimous which past, current and future generations cannot forget. Even death cannot separate (Muslims and other religion people) from this home as they will remain for ever some where in its far away deep sands. May God almighty bless and give strength to India’s Hindus for showing the way that people come first before religion and money. I am saying the ground reality fact.