Lots of drama, little facts

Editorial April 08, 2010

All is well that ends well. Shoaib has divorced a wife he said was not his. The divorcee is happy that she has at last been divorced but the sheer appetite of the subcontinent’s residents – and its media – for sensationalism is reflected in the way the Shoaib Malik- Sania Mirza saga has been treated.

Many allegations have been thrown around, not only from both Shoaib and Ayesha (if that is indeed her name) but by family members as well. The crisis grew disproportionately, evolving from a personal matter to inter-family politics and now to a near cross-border ego issue with the foreign office and international cricketers involved. Yet the real fuel behind all this fire is the way both sides have been allowed to make public statements about each other. One side’s statements were stuffed with vitriol, enriched with Islamic hadith, traditional anecdotes, an assortment of diseases that will inflict the entire family due to Malik’s malevolence and now a miscarriage.

The others’ were full of denials, expressions of confusion and the constant assertion that they have been duped by dubious photos. The cases built by both sides had been done predominantly on screen and the only ‘facts’ that came forward were the all-encompassing allegations made by both sides – which are actually being treated as facts rather than just allegations – which for all we know can be completely false. As complicated as the cross-border lovers story has been made out to be, it could have been put to rest, as it happened finally,by taking a few steps, starting with getting the people who were noted as witnesses in the nikahnama to verify whether a proper legal marriage took place between Malik and Ayesha Siddiqui.

All other claims and histrionics were secondary. But not in the media, where they are primal, for all in all, this entire fiasco fits the definition of good television, almost like the soap opera industry, coming full circle with real stars, an actual marriage, involved relatives and of course, the Indian police with their jeeps and their inspectors. At the end of the day, it’s what we love to watch.


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