President, Prime Minister, and Public Events

Yesterday (17-05-15) I was watching one of my favorite programs, ‘Appki Adalat’, on India TV. It has been hosted by Sri Rajat Sharma for the past 21 years. I have a lot of respect and appreciation for him. Even though he is a staunch supporter of the BJP, he tries his best to be objective and neutral when he ‘cross-examines’ opponents.

But when I watched the way both our President and Prime Minister, along with so many cabinet ministers and other political and public figures, including Film Stars, I was bit shocked the way both our President and PM wasted OUR precious time in staying back and watch the ‘thamasha’ done by the three famous ‘Khans’ of Boliwood actors.

I have nothing personal against those actors. I also understand that both our Prime Minister and President came to the program on the invitation of Rajat Sharma to felicitate and praise him for the successful completion of 21 years of the same program. Without any bias I really enjoyed the address given by both the PM and President.

Then followed the thamasha from the actors. Shahrukh Khan asked Rajat Sharma how many girlfriends he had before his marriage in his college days. Sharma responded by saying that Arun Jaitley was doing ‘moral policing’ at that time in college never allowed anyone one to have any girlfriends or fall in love.

It is the right of these actors to ask foolish questions and act this way on the stage, and Rajay Sharma has a right to host such an event. But why are the PM and President, along with so many cabinet ministers sitting and watching that thamasha by the actors?

Since it was very boring to me, I changed back to my regular program. But I am not sure whether both our PM and President stayed till the end of the program. Do they extend this same grace and courtesy for all successful, long-running programs like ‘Nee Ya Nana’ by Gopi Kumar of Vijay T.V.?

Although I am not an expert on the protocol of our PM and President, as a common citizen of this country, it really disturbs me to see that they could waste our precious time and money by participating in such a program. I am not saying that they don’t have the right to have their entertainment and personal time of rest and relaxation. But when they appear for any such public event, every wing of the government is involved in giving security and many other services.

I have no objection if they sit and watch that program as a private person back at their home, but when they participate in such programs on an official level, I can’t help but think of how much security must be arranged and how many roads were blocked for for public use, creating inconvenience for the tax paying public.

If they came and left after felicitating Rajat Sharma, we could justify their participation. But the way they stayed back till the end of the program is degrading to their position which they are occupying as our representative. This sets the wrong precedent for others to follow.

Indian democracy never functions without doing and receiving favors for and from famous media personalities. Particularly as electronic media attracts a larger audience, politicians cannot ignore them. But this kind of gesture by Prime Minister and President needs to be questioned by some us.


Dayanand Bharati, 18-05-15