Published: 07th May 2018
Politicians should either learn to bite one's tongue or learn to face the media scrutiny
The recently elected Tripura CM, Biplab Deb has been making headlines for the stupidity he has been uttering. He is one in a dime a dizen to do so. But, if we ask what for? nobody has an answer
It is the loose ends with which men hang themselves
— Zelda Fitzgerald
Boomerang, for the uninitiated, is a flat, curved, usually wooden, missile configured so that when hurled, it returns to the thrower. This Australia-based contraption also refers to a situation that backfires and has an effect that is opposite to the one intended. Our politicians, especially those in power, jump at opportunities provided by TV reporters who thrust out their microphones angling for sound-bytes. The disease is so acute that Prime Minister Modi had to exclusively address his party bigwigs on the subject. But first, what he did and said.
According to a New Delhi-originated media report dated April 22, 2018, Modi once again cautioned the BJP motormouths to keep quiet and not get carried away while making statements. He said that it should be left to the party spokesperson to comment on issues. He was addressing BJP MPs and MLAs across India via video conferencing through the ‘Narendra Modi App’.
“Sometimes our workers blame the media. But have we ever thought that we provide ‘masala’ to media through our own mistakes? Whatever be the issue, we start speaking, as soon as we spot a camera,” Modi told his partymen. “Media is doing their job and we have to do ours,” he said. “They’ll (media) obviously use parts of your sentences as per their convenience. It isn’t media which is at fault. We’ll have to control ourselves. Only those who have been given the responsibility must make statements,” he added. Last year, the Prime Minister had lectured his partymen on how and when to keep quiet.
Apparently, Modi’s edicts have no impact on his acolytes. The latest verbal diarrhoea comes from Manipur’s new Chief Minister ignoring Modi’s dictat and admonition on the subject. Once again, the facts.
A report from Agartala dated April 27 said that after his ‘internet in the Mahabharata era’ remark, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb claimed that international beauty pageants were a farce and questioned the rationale behind crowning Diana Hayden ‘Miss World’ 21 years ago. The BJP leader, however, was all praise for Aishwarya Rai, who won the Miss World crown in 1994, saying she ‘represents Indian women’ in the true sense.
“Indian women did not use cosmetics in the old times. Indians did not use shampoo, they washed their hair with methi water and bathed with mud. These beauty pageant organisers are international marketing mafia, who spotted a huge market in the country. Today, there is a beauty parlour in every corner of the country,” he said.
Deb’s comments came days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi cautioned the BJP leaders to steer clear of controversies and not offer ‘masala’ to the media by making irresponsible statements. The Tripura Chief Minister also claimed that the international beauty contests were a farce as the results were all predetermined. “Whoever contested the international beauty pageants won. For five consecutive years, we won the Miss World/Miss Universe awards. Diana Hayden won it too. Do you think she should have won the title?” Deb said. There is more in the same vain; but the point is made.
A day after Tripura Chief Minister questioned the ‘beauty’ of Diana Hayden, the former Miss World slammed the thought that ‘light skin is better’, and said she is proud of her exotic brown skin colour. She and others supporting her gave it back to him so hard that he had to apologise for his loose comments.
(John B Monterio is a lecturer who drifted into writing and Journalism. He has authored three books and is the founder of the Bondel Laughter Club in Mangalore)