Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gaffegate


Caught on camera, several enlightening utterances have defined the last few days. Yes, it’s the damn mike. With pesky reporters waiting to pounce on any verbal glitch ‘mike menace’ has become an embarrassment for those in positions of power. Sample some recent gems.
“If you work hard, you can steal a little.”
“There is a lot of noise. Adjourn the house for the day.”
“Inflation is good for the farmers.”
"Chup baithiye....badtameez kahin ke."

Outspoken remarks, honest admissions or careless whispers - measured in degrees of embarrassment, all the above are medal winning blunders. If the cameras had not captured these gems, they would have been denied to the civilization. And we would have been lulled into believing that the media had “misreported”. Again.

Since political air is full of utterances, gaffes come with the territory. No wonder, the television media milks them to their advantage and makes hay while the fumbler whines. Even Anna’s impromptu “Ek hi maara” was debated with gusto on prime time television.

What’s interesting is that while some verbal blunders are accidental - like the careless whispers caught on camera, others are self-inflicted. Sushma’s declaration of shaving her head and sleeping on the floor; Advani’s admiration for Jinnah or Khursheed’s comment on his leader crying over Batla pictures did not arise from any babbling delirium - they came from the heart. That said, some phrases, depending on the degree of viciousness present in the political air become immortalized. Remember the infamous ‘Maut ke saudagar’? I have a feeling that the recent ‘mota maal’ barb by Sushma Swaraj is going to hurt the Congress for a long time. Undoubtedly, barbs flying in all directions are patently leaving the media breathless. Phew!

Recently we witnessed ugly scenes when MLA Vijay Mishra's daughter was caught on camera distributing Rs 500 notes to policemen as 'bakshish' after he was released from Naini jail in Allahabad. Even more disturbing were the visuals of UP’s urban development minister, Azam Khan rebuking a public servant and calling him ‘badtameez kahin ke’. Hard to imagine the plight of the public servant being admonished by netaji on national television!

While videos are damning, pictures can be deceiving. This reminds me of a photo of Barack Obama apparently staring at a young woman's derriere during the G8 summit. The picture had inspired a new name for the presidential anthem - “Tail to the Chief”.

And who can forget Bush’s infamous Iraq-war bloopers? Even as American leaders have learned to laugh at their gaffes, the reaction (sabko andar karva doonga) of a UP leader after his alleged “steal a little” remark, smacked of intolerance.

Indeed, verbal gaffes provide delicious fodder for the television media. With handheld devices that can produce quality videos, we will never know when someone will say “Smile please, you are on camera!” Does this mean that the residents of Blunderland have to stew in their misery?
Of course not. They have devised ways to emerge unscathed, albeit with some minor bruises. First, of course is denial. If the television channels continue airing the footage repeatedly, those caught on camera can resort to the tried and tested juvenile escape – “So what if I said so, they said it too”. The television media seems to buy that argument.
Second is to hope that the moment one commits verbal gaucherie, a colleague utters something doubly outrageous. Only a fresh gaffe can take the spotlight away from the previous blunder. 


Finally, if the foot has landed deep inside the political pie-hole, the last resort is to go down fighting in the history of gaffe books. If America can celebrate their ‘top ten’ Bush'isms or Biden'isms, we can applaud our Beni’sms and Yadav’isms too. There is no dearth of talent. Right?


Image Courtesy: Google Images- Freefoto.com

35 comments:

  1. You got it right, there is NO dearth of talent amongst our leaders ..
    ek doondho hazaar milte hain
    door doondho nazdeek hi milte hain :)

    it would indeed be funny to see all of them numbered one to ten but then hushhhhhhhhhhhhhh there will be another politcial blunder or some hungama if numbered for they will surly want to FIGHT for that TOP position .. it does not matter to our leaders if its Gaffe's that are being shown .. they are interested in the NUMBER :)

    Bikram's

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    1. wowowow and i am first hereeeeeee .. you see even I am a bit interested in that NUMBER game :)

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    2. Bang on...we have immense talent for blunderbazzi.

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  2. Alka,

    There has to be some humour in life, isn't it? You forgot Diggism.

    Take care

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    1. Diggi, will take an entire post..or maybe a book.
      Thanks for spending time.

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  3. LOL:P Why not, we too have our fair share of funny creatures:P Good one, Alka:)

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  4. Sometimes funny is not so funny when the joke is on the janta at large. How can WE live down a comment of 'steal a little' and 'battameez kahin ke' addressed to a civil servant? While joking about the 'tailing eyes' of Obama is not hard, laughing at our Diggis and others is. Ouch!

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    1. There are so many.....I remember Mukhtar Abbas Naqvis comment on tainted Kushwaha, " Ganga mein naha kar sab pavitra ho jate hai.' Diggi of course takes the cake and the icing and the cherry on top.

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  5. Ouch indeed. We have our bloopers and they do it unabashedly.

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  6. Hilarous. And certainly, there is no dearth of talent!

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  7. Our politicians make such fool of themselves and they have zero sense of humor. Digvijay Singh is completely crazy!

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    1. He is beyond the realm of debate or discussions.

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  8. The latest addition to the examples you mentioned above is Narendra Modi who, in some interview, related malnutrition in Gujarat to the beauty-consciousness of the middle class females. The news channels have been going crazy to cash in on the statement.

    Though there are so many people around us who utter absolutely ridiculous statements in everyday life. But when a leader stops thinking before opening his or her mouth, it creates an uproar. Because they are not the common man. They are the leaders. And a leader is expected to be sensible in his words if not his thoughts. Or is it just for the sake of some quick publicity ?

    But if such statements come from the heart, that is when it becomes a big cause of worry. But yes, our beloved Mr. PM is one who wouldn't provide us with an opportunity to enjoy his 'ManMohan'isms'. :-)

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    1. I guess, Modi was misquoted, since it was not on camera...He knows what he says.
      Sadly...there will be no MMS'isms.True.

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  10. You nailed it on its head, our leaders are a talented lot with many tricks up their sleeves.

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  11. it has become such a norm, that now politicians, esp seasoned ones like advani, sushma swaraj etc, regard it as something that will happen now and then, inadvertently maybe, and this is nothing to skip a heartbeat over, when there are so many causes to skip a meal over.
    that's all part of a day's work for them :D all because we people seem to have a condoning attitude towards them, and a bad memory.
    nice post.

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    1. Thanks Mohit....the tu tu mein mein on television has become ugly....

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  12. Hope god gives sanity to these leaders and this never ending circus with too many jokers ends soon! I know this is hoping for too much!!

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    1. The circus is fine, as long as some work is done...Alas!

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  13. Your blog has become even more precious because it will be my source for political gossip.

    The post, sparkling as usual with your wit.

    Mr Mishra's daughter had claimed, that she was simply repaying her Dad's debts. She deserves a Booker for fiction.

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    1. I cant believe you had the time to read this post just when you landed in Australia....Thanks.

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  14. haha how about PC comment after the coalgate scam. 'None of the coal was mined so where is the crime' teehee, kudos to him, that he dared to say that after all the congress fiascos! Very very brave our leaders are indeed! Very witty Post Alka!

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    1. They outdo each other all the time.....We need a book on the gaffes.

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  15. Oh yes, hum kisi se kum nahi, Alka! But of course, our people are leaders in bashing each other up in Parliament and the Legislative assemblies. No competition there, I think!

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    1. They are setting examples which are difficult to emulate.....hurling comments was acceptable, but hurling abuses and mikes? ...Sad!

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  16. You are absolutely right about the top ten gaffes! You should compile a list!

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  17. Oh Alka, finally I was able to finish reading this post without a single interruption. Had been interrupted atleast 7 times in the past 7 days...:) I wanted to write something similar on the A.P politicians too...hubby watches the news everyday and it's nothing but repeat...repeat n repeat...one leader accuses the other in the A.M news and the other replies in the P.M news....hope they grow up....

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  18. Hilarious... what entertainment our leaders provide and just yesterday Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said that women lose their charm after a few years of marriage!! :|

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