It’s just Three months since Zaidi, and we see another shoe hurled at a High Profile politician except the difference in the place and the issue. Yesterday I was watching the umpteen times repeated telecast of the day’s Breaking News. Jarnail Singh turned out the otherwise dull, official Afternoon press meet to a burning sensation. He hurled the shoe muttering “In Protest” towards the dais of the Minister. Note. It could have been very easy for him to hurl it at the face of Chidambaram if he had intended to. But the Forty year old Jarnail Singh, who has been a respected journalist for the past 15 years, probably decided to understate. So he was merely throwing it towards the dais but clearly away from the Minister. He was protesting the home Minister’s justification of the CBI giving clean chit to Jagdish Tytler, so as to enable Tytler to get a party ticket in the forthcoming elections .
But you should have watched the excitement of Barkha Dutt even after Jarnail Singh expressing his regret on air and the ‘gentle soul’ who faced the shoe decided to forgive him. Who did the ‘crime?’ Which one is the Crime, Action or Reaction? Who can forgive whom and for what? Nobody questions But Just preach that one should not go beyond the limits and certainly not a Journalist. Even Chidambaram says Jarnail did it in a fit of emotion. Every one question the Sardar’s Anger. May be he cannot get as angry as Congressmen.
Some riots took place in the country following the murder of Indiraji. We know the people were very angry and for a few days it seemed that India had been shaken. But, when a mighty tree falls, it is only natural that the earth around it does shake a little.
The quizzical thing was, even Balbir Punj of BJP was part of the discussion giving lectures on how Journalists should behave. Ashwini Kumar of Congress was maintaining ‘restraint’ like his minister, as we all know the time is such. It’s better to control the damage than to make it worse by saying something, that too, at this crucial election hour. Every one was engaged in a hollow discussion on the role of Journalist in Democracy, How-a- Journalist-should-not-become- an-activist and how crossing the limits of the roles is dangerous etc., etc.,
When the patience of the prolonged wait breaks you cannot expect or contain the reaction within the set and safe limits. The only true voice was of Harinder Baweja, Tehelka’s Editor, who put it succinctly.
Jarnail Singh certainly didn’t act like a Journalist but he did what every sikh wants to do except that others don’t have access to high profile leaders. He is a symbol of the anguish and pain suffered by the sikh society which is waiting for justice for the past 25 years. I may not wonder if some day someone else hurls a shoe at Narendra Modi.
“Please take him away, gently, gently, gently, doesn’t matter, please settle down, please settle down,” were the words of Chidambaram following the commotion at the press conference. Sounds metaphoric, right? Exactly like the strategy of Congress on the 1984 genocide… taking away the memory of the genocide gently,gently,gently and settling down the dust, step by step for the past 25 years.
I whole-heartedly support what Jarnail did, but not the half-heartedness with which he did and regretted of what he did in the aftermath, while maintaining the issue remains. The Shoe should have hit the face which could have conveyed better what he wanted to say as a whole.
P.S: Reuters says, Throwing a shoe at someone is considered an insult in India. I remember reading the same thing when happened in Iraq too. Want to know in which part of the world throwing a shoe at someone is not an insult?