india

Fist among equals

A new social media challenge awaits our esteemed politicians

I think we have got used to putting a negative spin on everything these days.

Two of our finest elected representatives exchange precise, well-considered words that one may not necessarily use in print, and come in valiant contact with each other with fist and footwear at an official meeting, and naysayers jump on it saying it is behaviour most unbecoming of their office!

I speak, of course, of MP Sharad Tripathi’s rendezvous with MLA Rakesh Baghel. (It may be redundant to add that they are both from the greatest party in all of the universe.)

What presstitutes are maliciously reporting as a rowdy brawl occurred after MP Sharad Tripathi politely inquired about his name not being included on the foundation stone of a newly inaugurated road. To which MLA Rakesh Singh Baghel responded, equally courteously, that he had decided not to include the name and appealed to Tripathi to direct all future questions at his shoe.

At this point, Tripathi misheard this as his colleague and party-mate Baghel wanting to listen to his shoe. (One can listen to shoes. That’s why they have tongues.) It was an honest mistake under the circumstances because of the din (not the achhe variety, the other kind) at the venue.

So, as any sanskari senior colleague in his place would do, Tripathi removed his shoe at lightning speed, and brought it as close to Baghel’s ears as possible. Twenty to 30 times in quick succession, just to be on the safe side.

I actually had to slow down the video to see how many times the shoe was brought in close proximity to Baghel’s pleasantly surprised cheek. Tripathiji was so fast, it was a blur. His hand-eye coordination was worthy of a top-class martial artist or commando who had been secretly training under Akshay Kumar.

To my mind, this is not just an example of a leader thinking on his feet – but going beyond that, and thinking with his footwear – to reinstate dharma to the proceedings. After all, in our scriptures, when dharma had to be restored at a crucial juncture, wasn’t a certain person’s footwear carried by another person on his head?

There was beauty, magnanimity and devotion in Baghel’s reaction. Putting aside his footwear, which was as efficient and as accessible as the MP’s, the MLA responded purely with his hands. That is the respect he showed his senior colleague. Yes, he may have taken a second or two. But he didn’t even need a shoe, mic or vase to show our ancient country that our legislators are as good as our parliamentarians when it comes to effective communication.

This speed, dexterity and willingness also proved to me beyond doubt that our leaders are combat-fit and battle-ready themselves. And can report to the front-lines any time you want them to.

You know, this should be a movement if you ask me.

Sharad Tripathi and Rakesh Baghel should start a social media challenge. They should invite other MP-MLA teams to employ their sacred footwear and divine fists in a similar manner, catching each other unawares at random malls, temples, and ribbon-cutting ceremonies across the country and pounding the sanskar into or out of each other, as the case demands.

It’ll be even better than the exercise challenge featuring our beloved leader.

Elections are around the corner. C’mon, mitron. We need something.

How long can we watch Nithyananda’s Avatar Clicks?

Krishna Shastri Devulapalli is a satirist. He has written four books and edited an anthology.

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