The Shoania Phenomenon: Why is There So Much Fuss Over the Shoaib and Sania?

Posted on April 30, 2010
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Media Matters, People, Society, Sports
Total Views: 85944

Adil Najam

The question mark in the headline is a real question mark. I am not suggesting that there should have been no fuss about Pakistani cricket star Shoaib Malik marrying India tennis star Sania Mirza. I am wondering why there has been as much fuss as there has.

I ask this because I really would like to know why you think it has been so.

Over the last many many days we have received over twenty different emails asking us to do a post about the so-called Shoania” phenomenon. To be fair, it has been amusing to see the hysteria grow; and even more amusing to see it being fueled by a flabbergasted media that seemed even more out-of-control than the hysteria itself.

We did not do a post till now because we really did not know what we would say beyond echoing the hysteria or simply wishing the young couple well in their betrothal. Although we do wish the couple well and our fondest prayers go with them and their future, we are not particularly keen in doing the first (even though we may well be doing it now!)

We write now because it seems that things have finally begun to settle down. The “dancing on the streets” have ended. The hysteria is subsiding. And our dear friends in the media have somewhat come to their senses and realized that the world remains as complex a place as ever and Pakistan is no less messed up today than it was when this bout of Shoania first broke.

Maybe now is the time to ask the more interesting question: Why was there so much fuss made about Shoania?

I can understand the celebrity and glitterati have rhythms of their own which us mere mortals cannot understand. But I cannot remember any celebrity wedding in Pakistan that has ever generated the type of hype that Shoania did. The closest we have come before this is the wedding of Imran Khan to Jemima. And even that was not in the same league as this.

The question is, why?

Was it because these are two great sporting stars? (Except that, at least in Pakistan, few knew or cared much about Sania or about tennis before this, and other cricketers as popular as Shoaib never received such a reaction). Was it because it was a Pakistani citizen marrying an Indian citizen? (Even though that happens quite routinely). Was it because the glitter of celebrity was mixed with the spice of scandal even as the news broke? Was it because our public is so fed up with “serious” stuff that such a distraction was not just good entertainment but highly welcomed? Was it the extremist politicians across the border who actually made this news? Was it the media that created a big story because they more than anyone else benefit from a big story? Was it all of the above? A combination of the above? Or none of the above?

One last thought before I ask you to respond. Maybe, it does not matter at all that this fuss was made. But the fact is that the fuss was made. And made at proportions never seen before. I suspect that in figuring out why we will not find anything new or even interesting about either Shoaib Malik or about Sania Mirza, but we may find some interesting clues about ourselves as a society. Ultimately, that is what I am looking for here.

33 responses to “The Shoania Phenomenon: Why is There So Much Fuss Over the Shoaib and Sania?”

  1. oops says:

    Kyunke 18th Ammendment passed. Big Achievement of PPP. So to distract people. Shaadi. Aur baad baad mein Akram Sheikh/Supremecourt .. Haq Haq HAQ!

  2. readinglord says:

    Shoaib Sania Marriage – why such a wild and bizarre show?

    I wonder at the bizarre show of euphoria on the marriage of Shoaib with Sania. Both the Government and the citizens of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan seem to have gone berserk on the event forgetting all moral degradation shown by this ‘kanjar -show’ (show by professional entertainers); the Government, by giving VIP treatment to the couple; Shoaib, by lying about his first marriage and Sonia, while being a ‘gher-mehram’, in supporting him in that lie, and thus all disgracing the very institution of marriage and making it just a ‘kanjar show’.

    It recalls to me the famous couplet from Sahir Ludhianwi’s poem ‘Taaj Mahal’:

    “Ik shaahenshah ne doulat ka sahaara lekar
    Ham gharibon ki mohabat ka urhaaya he mizaaq”

    It may be slightly modified to describe the Shoaib-Sania show with apology to Sahir:

    “Ik ‘kanjar’ (professional entertainer) ne doulat ka sahaara le kar
    Ham gharibon ki shaadi ka urhaaya he mizaaq”

    (A professional entertainer making a show of his wealth has made fun of the marriages of the poor)

    All kudos to Indian Muslims who took notice of the disgraceful behaviour of Shoaib and Sonia in making a mockery of the sacred institution of marriage and humiliating the first wife of Shoaib, Aishah, and her family.



    very nice im happy this option. very nice…..

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