Sania Mirza - Brand Ambassador of Telangana

Sania Mirza needs no introduction. She is India’s highest ranked woman tennis player in both singles and doubles. She has won a number of grand titles in Tennis and is the youth icon of India. However, Sania Mirza has been in news very recently with another designation being added to her portfolio. On 22nd July 2014, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao announced Saniya Mirza as the brand ambassador of Telangana, the newly formed state of India.

Why Sania? What will be her role as a brand ambassador?
Handing over a grant of Rs. 1 crore and the appointment letter as a brand ambassador in an official function held with industrialists in Hyderabad, the CM declared that Sania Mirza is definitely cut out to be the brand ambassador, she being the daughter of Hyderabad and a reputed celebrity and sportstar representing India. She has made her country proud with her Hyderabadi roots. Her role as an ambassador will be to promote Telangana’s interests in India and all across the globe.

Strongly Condemned by a Senior BJP leader
Musheerabad K Laxman, the BJP leader in the Telangana assembly, has strongly condemned her designation as a brand ambassador. According to him, how can a non-Telanganite be considered suitable for such a prestigious job. Laxman stated that Sania was born in Mumbai and then got shifted to Hyderabad after her father’s transfer of job. So, she cannot be considered as the true daughter of Hyderabad, or for that matter, Telangana. According to him, she is presently the wife of Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Mallik, which makes her more suitable to be the daughter-in-law of Pakistan. Moreover, she was also not involved in the agitation for a separate state of Telangana.

Another major reason for such an outburst is due to the announcement of fee reimbursement by Telangana CM to only few selected students taking up professional education in colleges and not all the native students. The BJP leader questioned the CM’s selection criteria on the nativity of Hyderabadis or Telanganites. According to the CM, the local students of Telangana are those whose parents or grandparents have been living in the state before November 1st, 1956 and it is these students who are eligible to get scholarship or fee reimbursement. He stated that when the students of Seemandhra, in Andhra Pradesh are considered as outsiders and not the locals of Telangana, then why a person with Mumbai origin and living in Pakistan be considered as a state representative?

Laxman was also not in favour of the grant of Rs.1 crore to Sania Mirza, when other Telangana players are ignored. Malavath Poorna, the 13-year-old Telangana girl, was given only Rs. 25 lakh and she has the achievement of scaling Mount Everest this year.

Mixed Reactions Among Other Political Leaders
Her appointment as a brand ambassador has mixed reactions among various political leaders. While many BJP leaders are supporting Laxman on his stand against Sania Mirza as a brand ambassador, other opposition leaders like as Hanumantha Rao, Telangana Congress Leader, Naresh Agarwal, Samajwadi Party Leader, Rashid Alvi, Congress Leader, Mayawati, BSP chief etc. have highly condemned the BJP leader for his statement on Sania Mirza. Kiran Bedi, former Top Cop, also supported Sania Mirza as she is a daughter of India, who brought fame to the country in sports.

Sania Mirza’s Own Reaction for this Prestigious Profile and Controversial Statement
“I am an Indian and will always remain an Indian” – This was the statement issued by the tennis superstar when her nativity was questioned. She strongly criticised Laxman’s statement of being termed as an outsider. According to her, much time has been wasted on a very small issue. She said that her ancestors had contributed to Hyderabad. Her great grandfather Mohd. Ahmed Mirza, was born and brought up in Hyderabad, who later contributed to the construction of the famous Gandipet dam, he being an engineer by profession. She stated that her great, great grandfather, Mr. Aziz Mirza was the Home Secretary in Hyderabad and played a major role to provide flood relief during the historic Musi River floods of 1908. She also stated that her being married to a Pakistani cannot take away her Indian roots and she will remain an Indian all throughout her life.

General Opinion
We have our own prime minister, Narendra Modi, appointing Amitabh Bachchan, who is not a Gujarati, as a Brand Ambassador of Gujarat. But we never questioned him. We also have other instances of how Chandrababu Naidu, during his tenure as a CM in united Andhra Pradesh, appointed other states’ players to represent Andhra Pradesh. Nobody questioned him also. The general view among the public is that the BJP by supporting the minority group wants to win the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation election, which is going to be held by year end, and hence the rise of all these controversies and these will continue. Now the question is whether Sania as a brand ambassador plays her role well or not, after all a lot of money is at her stake. We will wait and watch…