Nightingale’s mere observation sets the cat among the pigeons : BIPIN SHARMA
After being bowled over by the splendor and majesty of the Taj Mahal, former US President Bill Clinton had remarked, “There are two kinds of people, one that have seen the Taj and love it, and the other who have not seen the Taj, and love it”. Taking a leaf out of Clinton’s immortal quote, one can modify the same for articulating it in the context of Indian politics, “There are two segments in the country today, one who are waiting with bated breath for Modi to become the PM, and the other that are dead against even his PM nomination. While his political opponents and staunch critics are entitled to hold their grudges against him for his nonchalant role in the 2002 riots, they should be graceful in their conduct when there is Modi endorsement from the other side of the ring. The recent instance being when the legendary melody queen Lata Mangeshkar in a public event merely expressed a desire to see Modi become the next PM of India like so many others. The Bharat Ratna awardee’s statement drew unprecedented reactions and ire from diverse quarters, and thus began the customary, never ending process of firing salvos and taking jibes at the one line endorsement by the Nightingale of India, Lata Mangeshkar. The public display of endorsement by the veteran singer sent political opponents of Modi into a tizzy so much so that some even went overboard to suggest that the singer should keep off from making such statements, in the process being oblivious that an iconic personality of her stature and age needs no sermons especially when it comes to expressing her perspective. Various motives began getting attributed to Lata’s ‘no holds barred’ speech with a politician even hinting that Modi and his coterie were instrumental in orchestrating the whole show.
The Right to Free Speech and Expression is everyone’s Fundamental Right, and there shouldn’t be duress of any sort to muzzle the voices. Why were insinuations not made to Bollywood actor Raza Murad by the same set of Modi opponents when he had fiercely lashed out at Modi in a public rally sometime ago.
Those smelling a rat must appreciate that when master blaster Sachin Tendulkar got nominated to the Upper House of the Parliament as a Congress MP, the entire political fraternity irrespective of their party affiliations was gracious in extending a warm salutation to the living cricketing legend of the country. The need of the hour is to keep emotions and temperature in check if national icons whom we have adored all throughout such as Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachchan and Lata Mangeshkar wish to take a stance, or evince a desire to express their opinion about “matters” they have strong opinion about.
The doyen of the Indian cinema Amitabh Bachchan who happens to be the official brand ambassador of Gujarat state, had to issue a public statement that he had only endorsed the state of Gujarat, and had never endorsed any brand of politics. While some like Lata Mangeshkar may have no inhibition in their expressions, Amitabh too on the other hand, is entitled to maintain a dignified, stoic silence over any political development happening in the country. Suggesting that he is doing so to avert courting any controversy, or to simply safeguard him from incurring the wrath of the power wielders of the country, is just preposterous. Extrapolation in such grave matters would only be detrimental for the democratic health of the nation.
If Bollywood, or for that matter someone from the sporting world, wishes to partake, or play a more meaningful role in the democratic process, they should do so, sans the fear of any income tax or service tax raids. Leaders and their supporters across the political spectrum need to be tolerant towards the viewpoints of others, and this holds true for one and all. To ensure the robustness of our incredible democratic set up, political stalwarts will have to preach a lesson to their party cadres to be more tolerant towards divergent views and opinions.
Albeit the reports of Sachin canvassing for the forthcoming state assembly elections in 2013 have all been rubbished, the NDA on their part, should gear up, and be mentally prepared to see the batting maestro in a more aggressive form in the Parliament once he finally hangs his boots after the 200th Test at Wankhade.
Rhetoric by cult figures like Lata Mangeshkar’s and Sachin Tendulkar’s should not set the cats among the pigeons as that will deter many more in the pipeline to be forthcoming in expressing their invaluable piece of mind.
By Bipin Sharma