Sania Mirza supports Population Foundation Of India (PFI) initiative
Sania Mirza with here Imran Mirza
Mumbai - Indian tennis ace and father Imran Mirza join a campaign to end violence against women
Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza has backed an initiative by the Population Foundation Of India (PFI) to end violence against women and girls titled - 'Bas Ab Bahut Ho Gaya (Enough is Enough)'.
The bond shared by a father and daughter is depicted beautifully in a video released on Wednesday by the PFI. This video features tennis champion Sania Mirza and her father Imran Mirza as part of a campaign which aims Joining hands with PFI is Farhan Akhtar and his initiative MARD (Men Against Rape and Discrimination) and well-known director Feroz Abbas Khan.
The video portrays the essence of the relationship that Sania shares with her father, Imran Mirza. "My wife and I have never felt the pressure or need to have a son in the 30 years of our marriage. The thought that our daughters were anything less or we should have had a son instead never crossed our minds", says proud father Imran Mirza.
In the video, Sania mentions how her father has always believed in her irrespective of the fact that everyone including her own extended family thought otherwise.
Speaking about her father, Sania says,"I was never told by my parents that I might not be able to do something because I'm a girl and that I won't be able to follow my dreams. Gender violence doesn't lie in extremities. Rather it happens everywhere in the world. At the World Tennis Association (WTA), we have to fight for equal prize money even today. When I won Wimbledon in 2015 and came back to India, I was asked when was I planning to have kids and settle down since I had been married for 5 years. I wasn't considered settled or complete in my life after being a World Champion. That was the most extreme form of discrimination for me."
Poonam Muttreja, Executive Director, Population Foundation Of India says, "Encouraging and empowering daughters is an integral part of male responsibility towards curbing gender violence. It is extremely hapless that even today a supportive father becomes an exception. We need to bring such examples to the forefront so that we can involve maximum people in our fight against gender-based violence and give our daughters a future where everyone is treated equally."
Farhan Akhtar adds, "Gender-based violence is an evil rooted at a much deeper level in our psyche then we think. It is beyond us being men and women. Our inability to understand the concept of equality irrespective of one's gender leads to such kind of discriminations. It's high time that we take up the responsibility to bring about a change so that our daughters get to live in a better society tomorrow."
Feroz Abbas Khan says, "The moment we mention the word 'gender' while assigning them roles, we bring in discrimination. We fail to realise that we are suppressing a significant half of our society while doing this. Even today women are fighting for nothing else but their right to equality which is their fundamental right. We need to change the present scenario to an extent where we won't be surprised to see supportive fathers or successful daughters."
This video is part of a series of films to be released digitally to generate debate and promote positive change in cultural and social norms around the value of women in India. National celebrities have joined this campaign to relay messages that motivate young girls to stand up against violence, and show boys that masculinity is not connected with violence. Apart from the films there will be several activities including panel discussions, a film-making contest, and a series of films about violence against women. The campaign will culminate in a concert in Mumbai.
In May Farhan Akhtar launched a college film making competition where students are expected to submit entries on issues pertaining to gender based violence.
To support the cause, Sania's video was released on various social media platforms of MARD as well as Population Foundation Of India.