>Just when we were coming to accept one kind of PDA – Public Display of Affection – another kind of PDA has been generating heated debates across the world – it’s called Public Display of Anger. It’s the kind of PDA that gets witnessed when an Iraqi journalist hurls both his shoes at the American President in the middle of a press conference.
These are not editorial columns being written by blamed-for-being-biased journalists against errant leaders. These are also not vociferous celebrities on news channels sensationalising issues and attempting to increase channels’ TRPs. And these are not just discussions being carried out by people comfortably ensconced in their drawing room sofas. This is the common man standing up to express an emotion that’s now bordering on the trite – ‘Enough is enough’. What is not trite though is how he is choosing to express it.
In the post-26/11 India, political leaders have been at the receiving end of the public’s ire. When the Kerala CM was snubbed by Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s grieving father in Bangalore, it made headlines. When Narendra Modi stood before the Taj Hotel, Mumbai, and decided to politicise the issue of the terror attacks, it was the public display of anger that stopped other power-wielding politicians from doing the same. And there are no prizes for guessing why Raj Thakeray is conspicuous by his absence in this post-26/11 India! Such PDA against our leaders has been unprecedented.
So have we become more expressive as a race or just impatient with our leaders?
When Bush got the boot, quite literally, the journalist whose boot it was became a demi-hero. Let’s admit it: we loved it and laughed at it! Having given our tacit support to one such action, have we not paved the way for more people to come out in the open with their anger? And considering that one of the most powerful men in the world – the American President, no less – had to dexterously dodge the shoes of a scribe, it should come as no surprise if someone decides to pelt our leaders with an ugly puree of eggs, tomatoes and what have you at public rallies.
To be honest, just the idea seems exhilarating, doesn’t it? But there are few people who enjoy such unequivocal public sentiment as does Bush. And if public opinion is divided regarding a neta or a world leader, would PDA against him still be justified? The reactions then would not be half as funny as the Iraqi journalist’s shoe-in-the-air act evinced. Would a divisive world be able to handle this PDA just as well as it has learned to handle the other one?