Footwear fever

It has been raining shoes, especially in political and media circles. People of considerable fame tend to become even more (in) famous a single footwear is hurled at them, by way of insult. Though the said slipper or shoe is aimed at a personality in full public view, solely with the purpose of affronting him or her, the motive of the footwear thrower can range from one of sheer disgust, to being gutsy or simply throwing one as a part of his sundry duties to earn his bread and butter.

Perhaps, it was George Bush who set a precedent to the tribe of such heroes by being the first target of a lone footwear which was captured live and telecast worldwide. Hilary Clinton dodged one, much later which has been duly recorded for posterity.

It is not difficult for the thickest of minds to discern that it is one of the worst kind of insult which is underlined with disapproval and disgust towards the targeted person.
Indians have always taken to the trend of “footwear fever” like a duck takes to water.

MLAs, ministers, chief ministers and even an occasional prime minister have not been spared of the epidemic. Though shoe throwing is done specifically with the intention of insulting the person who is singled out as a target, it has become a matter of prestige to the leaders for they think that the purpose of being the cynosure has been fulfilled. 

So the grapevine is rampant with rumours about how such mishaps are sometimes arranged quite on the lines of wardrobe malfunctions in the world of fashion.

Once, Khushwant Singh mentioned in his column “Sweet and Sour” published in Deccan Herald, that he felt very slighted for having been overlooked by the public despite all his attempts to unnerve them. Though his statement is laced with humour and stinging sarcasm, it is indeed a matter that has to be considered seriously.

 We must remember that we are Indians and belong to a fine culture that dates back to thousands of years. Our ancient epic Ramayana speaks of how Bharatha refused to take over Ayodhya in the absence of Rama. Nevertheless he obliged to stay at Nandigram and rule the country for Rama. He placed the “padukas” (footwear) of Rama on the regal throne and carried out his administrative duties.

His noble gesture, fraternal love, sense of duty and truth above all should be the guiding force of Indians in this hour of cultural crisis. It is high time we exercise a sense of discretion and maintain public decency and decorum and find suitable and effective ways to express our displeasures in public!

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