Politicians should be celebrated

Politicians should be celebrated

Why do people get upset when a politician visits their city and makes them late for some meetings? This thought kept troubling me a few weeks ago, when the Hon’ble Prime Minister took time out from his very busy schedule of inaugurating projects across the country to inaugurate a few projects in Bombay. Lots of people were stuck in traffic for some time, apparently, and public transport was affected for a few hours, prompting them to complain that this has never happened before. I must admit that his attitude disappointed me.

Yes, we have never in our history stopped services for a visiting PM, but does that mean we should never? If we stick to tradition and never change, how will all our cities turn into smart cities in the next 400 years? It is our mindset, stuck in the past, that prevents us from entering the future and I, for one, strongly oppose it. Those complaints bothered me too because they reminded me how selfish so many of our countrymen can be. A few hundred of them may have arrived home late from work. Some of them may have missed a few appointments, or been late to the hospital, but when one takes into account the bigger picture, aren’t these minor inconveniences? We have a politician from Delhi coming here, and this should be an occasion for joy, not rancor.

I pity our politicians because they are not respected as much as they should be. Yes, his supporters plaster our streets with photographs wishing him a happy birthday every other fortnight, but that is a paltry gesture of respect. I believe that only by locking down the city whenever someone from Delhi visits us can we truly appreciate their presence and acknowledge the sacrifices they make by representing us in Parliament.

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It is not easy to spend a few hours of your day listening to other politicians, thumping their palms on desks and issuing statements to the press. This may not sound like a full-time job to most of us, but we fail to remember that most politicians are barely literate and can’t do much. It is discriminatory for us literate people to expect something constructive from someone with a dubious degree in the whole of political science. It is not easy to give up home-cooked meals for the canteen rent every week, even when these meals are heavily subsidised. It is not easy to go through the day doing nothing while it appears that one is doing something really important. This can take a significant toll on a person, which is why I always get angry when someone disrespects our politicians. It is no coincidence that almost no one in Parliament looks healthy or attractive in front of the camera. If you were to do what they do all the time, you’d look cheesy and tired too.

We need to remind ourselves that the Prime Minister could have been anywhere that day, perhaps addressing an election rally in some small town, but instead chose to be in Bombay. He has blessed us with his presence and deserves our gratitude. Even naysayers about the big cut-outs and banners featuring his face in every nook and corner were upset, but I was happy because we just didn’t see enough of his face. I couldn’t remember what it looked like until I saw the banners waving on the Western Express Highway. There was also a large cut-out outside a place of worship, indicating that politicians are often more deserving of respect than our gods and goddesses.

I propose a state holiday the next time someone stops by Delhi to inaugurate a new bridge or something. Offices and schools should be closed, and we should all be encouraged to get our kids off the streets and wave when our politicians arrive. Hospitals should postpone surgeries so doctors and nurses can appreciate them. After all, given the distraction of patients on life support, they are almost never allowed to participate in public life.

Instead of focusing on problems, we should count our blessings. After all, would we be the most amazing country in the world today if it were not for our politicians? I do not think so. So I hope that the Maharashtra government will make more efforts in future to honor the leaders of Delhi. Maybe even rename our city after one of them?

When he’s not boasting about all things Mumbai, Lindsay Pereira can be almost coquettish. He tweeted @lindsaypereira
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The views expressed in this column are those of the individual and do not represent the views of the paper.



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