What’s with the sudden increase in the incidents of shoes being thrown at politicians all around the world? Recently India has witnessed a rapid rise in such incidents, most of the targets being politicians. The latest incident is that of a school teacher throwing his shoe at Congress MP Naveen Jindal. Has it now become the choice of protest for us? Has burning effigies gone out of fashion? Why the hell am I posing so many questions?
What started out as a moment of boldness by Muntadhar al-Zaidi, the journalist who threw his size 10 shoes at George dubya Bush as a farewell gift is all set to metamorphosis into a national phenomenon. And luckily the targets have been well-chosen. Politicians. Now that is a group disliked and hated by members of all communities. And with the general elections coming up, the emotions of the public are likely to be on the edge. And that is why I fear we could have a tipping point very soon. Iraq is already training the next generation of shoe throwers who can aim better and harder. If the politicians don’t get their act right, the day is not far when the audience will let out a shower of dirty muddy shoes on the local neta when he comes out the next time promising bijli, sadak, and pani or asking for votes.
And as usual the MBA part of my mind strategises how I can make money out of it. I’m wondering whether it would be a good idea to buy shares in footwear companies. If the demand for such shoe hurling increases, then companies will have to ramp up production and I will make some serious capital gains. Or should I start a shoe polishing shack near the venues of election rallies. I can encourage people to shine their shoes before they let their anger out on the netas. For 5 Rs more, you can get a premium shine with extra polish to get some extra shine (on the neta‘s face).
However you can count on the cunning politician to convert even this ridicule into a thing of pride. They’re most likely to say, “People have thrown shoes at me and at my opponents too. I respect them for that. But what I am here to proclaim is that I have been hit by your shoes for the most number of times. That shoes shows how much you love me. If you elect me, I promise to open new shoe shops in your town. We can have annual shoe flinging competitions where the best thrower will get a chance to campaign for me in the next election. So I ask you to please vote for me.” Remember to press the right button. Our election symbol is shoe polish. You provide the shoe, we provide the polish.”
To paraphrase the whole trend, I will borrow a dialogue from Frank Miller’s 300
Common Man – A thousand billion citizens of the Indian Republic descend upon you. Our shoes will blot out the sun
Politician – Then we will fight with your soles (souls?)