Tennis icon Martina Navratilova got a taste of being on the wrong side of India's 'right' on Twitter yesterday. However, she responded with spunk and logic when BJP's fans tried to accuse her of being a meddlesome outsider.
Yesterday, Navratilova tweeted out a link to an New York Times op-ed on the JNU standoff. The op-ed has been written by Indian columnist Nilanjana S Roy.
What Passes for Sedition in India, -ultra nationalism easily turns into violence at worst, bullying at best. https://t.co/U5V6nvENFn— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) February 22, 2016
As expected, BJP followers and fans of the Narendra Modi government didn't take too kindly to a 'foreign' tennis star commenting on India's issues, that too in agreement with criticism against the present government.
So a slew of comments asking her to mind her business and focus on her own country followed.
@Martina you seem to be more worried about India than Indians themselves. Pls don't advice unsolicited.— Deepak (@dvji) February 22, 2016
@Martina trust me, you cannot care about India more that patriotic Indians. RW is not an Indian category-each Indian is both LW & RW.— Deepak (@dvji) February 23, 2016
Diyar @martina! Only Yummerikans have the right to be patriotic & nationalist? No wonder, America - land of the stoopid & the ignorant!— Marut (@Marut_) February 22, 2016
Some asked her to mind the businesses of countries other than hers, as long as it was not India she was talking about. (Or perhaps they didn't know which country she belongs to.)
@Martina You should preach this to Putin. From India with love— Tushar Shukla (@TusharS70034123) February 22, 2016
However, Navratilova engaged with most commenters on her timeline with patience, grace, wisdom and logic. She explained why slogan-chanting is not anti-national, admitted to the lapses in American's own political narrative and resolutely batted for free speech. Here are some of her responses.
@dvji and these days RW extremism seems on the rise. I could be wrong. And I love India btw- if I didn’t care I wouldn’t speak…— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) February 22, 2016
@Aravind8 once again- it is not anti indian to disagree with a particular party. You just proved the point of that article…— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) February 22, 2016
@pliersnwires I am not supporting violent anything - left or right wing. Hate communists, hate white supremacy jerks etc.— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) February 22, 2016
And when the tweets defied both reason and decency, the tennis legend had the perfect answer.
@meonsky123 not lecturing anyone- but you are just nasty- bye.— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) February 22, 2016
The last international tennis star, who had gotten a taste of India's Twitter nationalism a while back, was Maria Sharapova. Back then, her admission that she didn't know who Sachin Tendulkar is, earned her a lot of grief on social media. Navratilova here sums up what Sharapova must have felt about Indian Twitter trolls - 'nasty' it is.
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