Friday, April 10, 2009

Capital Manners – Shoe Throwing Gets an OK

The Delhi walla's pretension in writing makes me want to lodge a bullet in his balls - Blogger Nimpipi, the woodchuck chucks
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Shoe Throwing in Delhi

Delhi becoming less courteous.

[Text and picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

No longer can Delhi's cobblers ply their trade with a clean conscience. With Lajpat Nagar-based journalist Jarnail Singh doing an al-Zaidi on India's home minister during a press conference in the city on April 7th, 2009, not just the soul of Mr Singh's profession but the way we Delhiwallas protest has acquired a new sole.

Quite a few Delhiites I talked to have raised sole-stirring questions. "Why throw a joota?" asks Mr Sumantha Roy, a 26-year-old IT professional in Noida. "In these times of pink slips, throwing pink panties would have been a bigger and classier insult."

In the recent past, Delhiites haven't thrown just shoes, but also saliva on public figures they don't like. On November 6th, 2008, all hell broke loose in Delhi University when a young man spat on the face of Professor SAR Geelani, a lecturer at Zakir Hussain College. Mr Geelani was attending a seminar while the spitter was part of the troupe led by Delhi University Student Union (DUSU) president Nupur Sharma, who was protesting against Mr Geelani's presence. (Mr Geelani was an accused in the terrorist attack on Parliament, since acquitted.)

On February 13th, 2009, when author Arundhati Roy visited the Delhi University campus, she was greeted with a slipper thrown by student group Youth Unity for Vibrant Action (YUVA). The slipper was auctioned for Rs 101, 000 at Jantar Mantar five days later.

What is this city coming to?

CR Park-based author Samit Basu sees no problem with this jootebaaji. "I'm okay with any sort of protest as long as it's short of actual violence," he says. "Besides, shoe-throwing makes for good television."

But shoe-throwing doesn't merely mean being discourteous. You might not get the shoe back. Model Manasvi Mamgai, who has around 60 pair in her Saket apartment, would never part with her footwear even if she faced the most hateful public person on earth. "It's not about disrespect," she says. "It's just that I like my shoes."

This materialistic stand is shared by Amar Colony resident Sonam Tsomo, who lords over at least 50 pairs of sandals. "I'll never throw shoes at anyone... I love my shoes," says Ms Tsomo. "I'd rather hurl stones, though I don't have very good aim."

"These new forms of protests are an expression of anger without language," says Mr Dipankar Gupta, sociology professor in Jawaharlal Nehru University. "These are acts of frustration and many people feel resentment due to various reasons."

Even if we put aside the morality of shoe–throwing, can tossing accessories at public figures change the world into a planet of your dreams?

"Throwing a shoe is much more effective than lighting candles at India Gate, couriering tons of pink chaddis, or sloganeering at the Boat Club," says Ms Anuja Chauhan, author of The Zoya Factor. "But I wish people would practise first, so that the shoe actually makes contact with its target."

Not when the target is Arundhati Roy, for sure.


theSane1 said...

whats the point of this article ?

Rima Kaur said...

if someone threw a shoe at me, i would throw it back. i have a good aim too.

Syed said...

throwing shoe or spitting on anyone is a big insult to that person. its a offence and the person who did this should be punish. there is no other way.
But as a thinking man in a democratic country i have the right to think that whether it was right or wrong on basis of the person who is attacked.
Prof. Gilani - court has found him innocent so who are we to spit on him. i dont think he was so powerful or had political influence with which he could have manipulate evidences or legal process.
Arundhati roy - i dont know why she was targeted but she is a creative person and a social activist so she dont deserve such an insult.
P. Chidambaram - he was not the actual target but his party and other party members. this case is more complex. person who did this declared that what he did was wrong and PC forgave him. PC seems very honest an knowledgeable person. He do'nt deserve a shoe.
G. Bush - a shoe on him is a small deal against all the blood of inoccent men, women and children of Iraq and Afghanistan, he murdered.

mystic darvesh said...

Whats the Point?
Hahahaha.........I can't stop laughing hahahahaha..............

Go grab ur show and throw it on Mayank and we will know your point mate

malayalee monk said...

a very shallow article. does the pictures no justice.

Mainak said...

I guess the shoes are meant to miss the target. The thrower only throws it for a cause. And in missing the target, one can equate it to a non-violent form of protest.

Anonymous said...

shoe throwing - it is wrong on many accounts

1) it says about the class (or lack of it) of show thrower

2) it is a cheap copy of cheap act by an Iraqi journo looking for cheap publicity - his act would had been courageous if he had done so to Saddam Hussein


Milan Kuchhal said...

From centuries people show their anger for their rulers in these (throwing articles) way only.....
when they make themselves eligible for it, public give them.....

Milan Kuchhal

Indian Tom said...

Shoe's becoming mightier than pen