know your neighbour

When a Minister comes

Posted by chimeki on September 9, 2013

Shashi, the minister, arrives

Shashi, the minister, arrives

An Indian minister, regardless of his portfolio, is a sum of many yesteryear’s princes. Often the total is equal to a maharajah. I saw this formulation in an exhibition organized by the National Literacy Mission Authority at Delhi Haat in INA. There the Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor was accorded a welcome any former maharajah would envy. As he entered the Haat Lawn, neatly and colorfully dressed girls started to dance around him. They sang some Rajasthani folk song and a man with a wooden horse wrapped around his waist, started to swing his animal up and down. They reminded me of IPL team Sahara’s desi cheerleaders.

Shashi, with a half snobbish half arrogant smile, walked between two human lines. People showered flowers’ petals on him. To inaugurate the exhibition he cut a ribbon and lit a lamp. Then he went to the main hall. There too he cut a ribbon and lit a lamp. All the while he was preceded by folk cheerleaders.

Inside the hall there were people of different shades and hues. A lady, who was compering the programme was requesting people to pay obeisance to the minster by giving him a standing ovation. The crowed stood up immediately.

A man was screaming, apologizing and smiling in a manner similar to a father of an Indian daughter during her marriage. He was asking people to vacate the seats for the minister’s entourage and was apologizing to people, who he guessed were sahibs and deserved seats, by bending his back in right angle. I guess he, somehow, had an illusion that Shashi, watching the successful event, would promote him.

Is he tweeting?

Is he tweeting?

A French couple asked if I knew what was happening. I told them that an oriental maharaja had come. They got exited. One of them even took out his camera and wondered if he could take some snaps. I nodded in yes. The lady asked me about the state of the maharajah. I rightly said, Republic of India.

Shashi, In fact, was looking like a maharajah. Confident, smiling and very funny in his ‘centrally’ parted mushroom cut hair style. He kept on running his fingers through them.

To mark or taunt his arrival a man sang a famous Hindi song, ek din bik jayega maati ke mol jug me reh jayenge pyare tere bol. Indifferent to the song, Shashi kept on playing with his mobile. I checked my twitter account to see if he was twitting anything about the cattle class among whom his job had forced him today. He was not. After inspecting stalls and tasting delicacies as much as his stomach could accommodate, he sat on a big sofa which could have easily accommodate at least three people to lessen the burden on the daughter’s father.


When he was done with playing with mobile, Shashi was asked to speak. He spoke in Hindi and laughed at himself or Hindi I could not figure out. But laugh he did. After a few words on empowerment and women, empowering women through literacy, transforming society etc., he hopped down from the dais and left. Before the compere could thank him and ask the crowd to stay put the whole hall started chasing Shashi. All wanted a snap or two with the maharajah. The horse rider too tried to make his way in but his horse didn’t allow. When he tried to force in his horse was kicked and out.

Without wasting a minute, the cheerleaders started revolving and rotating around Shashi. He moved like the Sun without taking any cognisance of the effort. I didn’t follow him to the end to tell how he entered, sat and leaned back in his car and what he messaged to his friends about the event but the satisfaction on the face of the daughter’s father was enough to suggest it all went well.



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