Friday, February 5, 2016

Public shaming for external appearance: Mr. Kejriwal and his sandals.

I read news about Mr. Kejriwal wearing sandals during India's republic day function with some dismay. Initially I ignored this news item thinking it was just an attempt to sensationalize a very trivial issue. I personally don't think even this event is worthy of any discussion but during following days I noticed more discussions about this incident that too with photos and now it seems one person sent him a check or demand draft to buy some decent shoes. It looks like there are some people who are deeply hurt by Mr. Kejriwal wearing sandals instead of shoes during this function. These so called hurt Indians are claiming that Mr. Kejriwal by doing this terrible act that too in front of French Prescient embarrassed entire India. I really wonder what is the logic behind this? This looks like ideal case of intellectual bankruptcy. But I am still trying to figure out why they think like this? Let me first say that I am personally not a big fan of any dress codes and myself faced this problem so many times in my life when people were not happy with what I wear on some occasions and I always wondered what was their problem as long as I was not coming naked and wear clean, non-stinky clothes of my choice? I know very well that any leader of Mr. Kejriwal or Mr. Modi's stature is capable enough to take care of any such attacks. They both have army of their devotees who are willing to fight for them and defend their each and every action. I am not writing this to defend any one of them but I personally went through these experiences myself, this is why I am taking an effort to discuss this issue on my blog.

I know that this type of public shaming of people for their external appearance is very real and in this age of internet it has become very regular incident. First of all, why do I or anyone else have to follow others as far as choice of dress is concerned? I am not forcing anyone to dress like me, so why people should have any problem with my dress? People definitely have freedom to express their opinions in whatever way they want, they are free to object, free to criticize but to ridicule anyone like this is not a criticism but a case of public shaming. To ridicule someone's choice of dress or food or profession is not something we should be doing as a society. There is no doubt that people like Mr. Kejriwal or Mr. Modi are public figures and their every action is open for public scrutiny but to comment about their or for that matter anyone's external appearance is something we should refrain from doing. It seems that few people want to force their choice on some individual who is choosing his own way to dress. It doesn't affect these powerful public personalities but such behaviour becomes real problems for common people who want to express themselves but then face such public wrath. One should take a note that these people are not objecting on Mr. Kejriwal not wearing a suit or a tie but they are very particular about he not wearing shoes. I also believe that they are OK with dhoti-kurta or any other Indian dress but not with sandals or chappals as may be according to them these things display cheapness or poverty and thus embarrass India. 

Why wearing sandals is so embarrassing to these people? Is it because it displays poverty or cheapness of that person or it reflects mindset of entire country? Is it because there is some official dress code for these government functions and he did serious mistake by violating that dress code? Or is it because it doesn't go very well with current fashion or doesn't suit the dress he was wearing (but how this can be matter of embarrassment for entire country)? I am sure all these people know that Mr. Kejriwal is not economically poor or deprived person by any standards. He and his family earn more than enough money to afford expensive shoes or phones or cars, and based on some photos shared by these groups it also seems that he owns some of this expensive stuff like iPhone. So they cannot call him cheap or stringy. Information about his salary and other wealth is available in public domain so one cannot also claim that he is trying to hide his wealth by living a simple life style. So it is very clear that he was wearing those sandals out of his own desire and choice, lack of money or display of fake modesty are not possible reasons behind it, and I wonder why these people have problem with that? I wonder, do these people also feel embarrassed to see Mahatma Gandhi's dress also? He went to England or to all official or non official functions without wearing any shoes or even simple pant and shirt, Gandhiji always traveled in his single piece dhoti, so was his dress choice in any way embarrassing for India as a country? Is it difficult for these people to understand that Mr. Kejriwal or Mr. Manohar Parrikar or for that matter any individual has complete freedom to choose what dress or footwear they want to wear. It is within everyone's personal rights to decide what they want to wear on any occasion. We don't elect CMs and PMs to display their fashion sense but we elect them to govern properly. What Mr. Modi or Kejriwal or anyone else wear during any function is their personal choice. Public shaming of anyone for their appearance is not good and I wonder how these people forgot about this simple etiquette which we all should follow. I also wish that instead of sending money to Mr. Kejriwal, which is a cheap publicity stunt and a total waste of that money as clearly he doesn't need it this person should have sent it to some struggling farmer or some under privileged person who are in real need of it. Public display of hunger and poverty, news of farmers committing suicide because of lack of money is more embarrassing for India than anything else. What anyone is wearing during any function is not even a topic worthy of any discussion in mainstream media for a country like India, it can be a time pass topic but definitely not something to report in national media. I hope we understand our priorities very well and act accordingly.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

1 comment:

  1. Its a useless thing and Indian media does not have anything else to chew about