-Rajesh Tyagi; 10 April 2009
On April 7, a journalist of daily Hindi Newspaper ‘Dainik Jagran’ threw a shoe on P.Chidambaram, the Union Home Minister of India, who refused to answer the question of journalist, regarding fielding of Jagdish Tytler by the Congress (I) party in parliamentary elections. Jagdish Tytler, a Congress leader, is one of the prime accused in 1984 anti-sikh pogroms, organised by the Congress leaders, in revenge to the killing of Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, at the hands of two of her own body guards, who acted in revenge of military operation inside Golden Temple at Amritsar, carried out under her orders. Indira Gandhi had first pampered Bhindaranwala and his terrorist campaign to demolish the influence of Akalis, and then sent army to Golden Temple to flush out Bhindranwala and his supporters. For full story, read: http://new-wave-nw.blogspot.com/2009/04/india-victims-rise-in-revolt-against.html. This is the most recent event where an unarmed civilian arming itself with a ‘shoe’ has given vent to his feelings for the elite rulers.
After an Iraqi Journalist, Muntadar-Al-Zaidi, on December 14, 2008, hurled a shoe on George Bush, the then President of the mightiest empire of the world and thus mightiest person on the earth, to protest against the Iraqi occupation by the United States and the crimes committed by its armed forces in Iraq, people have found an effective weapon in the shoe. Zaidi, who had become hero of the entire Arab people since then, for teaching a lesson to George Bush, was later sentenced for three years in Jail, without any sanction in the law. This apparently unlawful sentence, created further uproar among the people and further degradation of rulers. The shoe of Zaidi was auctioned for ten million dollars and the shoe company got a big business. For full story, see: http://new-wave-nw.blogspot.com/search/label/Shoe%20greetings%20to%20Empire.
On February 3, 2009, a young student protester had thrown shoe at Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, protesting against the occupation of Tibet by China, when he was giving speech at Cambridge University in Britain. When the guards were taking the student out of the hall, he shouted that the dictator has no moral authority to give the lecture, and called for a protest. Several students responded to his call and shouted slogans against the Chinese Premier. Thus was given a dramatic farewell to Wen Jiabao, at the end of his five nation tour of Europe.
On February 4, 2009, When Israeily Ambassador to Sweden, Benny Dagan, was speaking at a seminar at University of Stockholm, One of the students arose from her seat and threw her shoe upon the Ambassador, to protest the Israeily invasion on Palestine. Many other students arose in her support, shouting slogans against Israel, while two of them threw the books in their hands at the Ambassador. Organisers found it very hard to control the situation.
On March 7, 2009, the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was targeted with shoe, during his visit to North Western City of Urumiye. As his convoy drove through the central square in the city, a poor old man wanted to hand over a letter President. While guards pushed the old man aside, the drivers drove with arrogance and the President simply, overlooked. People became angry on this, and somebody from among the crowd hurled a shoe on the president. The presidential guards tried to locate the person, but could not. As they looked for the shoe thrower in the mob, someone threw his hat towards the President. People shouted slogans against the President.
It seems as if people of Iraq are the pioneer, and inventor of the weapon of shoe, however, the fact remains that people in India had already been using this weapon against their elite rulers, for more than a decade, before the incident of Iraq. Nandlal Balwani, an Advocate by profession in Bombay Bar, hurled the shoe at the Judges of Supreme Court of India, at New Delhi, on February 26, 1999, after a three judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dr. A.S. Anand refused to hear his plea. He was convicted by the same bench, then and there. The Advocate, also shouted slogans against the Court for conducting itself in arbitrary way.
On 30 March 1999, Alin Uday Halbe, a young muslim woman in black burqa, custody of whose 13 year old child was given to her husband, hurled shoe at the Division Bench, comprising of Justices A.V. Sawant and P.D. Upasani, at Bombay High Court. She shouted slogans that all judges were corrupt, and hurled abuses upon the Court. She was bailed out, but insisted that the same bench must hear her contempt case.
On March 20, 2009, five female teachers of Boss School, who appeared before Supreme Court of India, hurled a shoe at the Division Bench comprising of Justices Arijit Pasayat and Ashok Kumar Ganguly. One of the women in her seventies, hurled shoe at the Bench, while four others shouted slogans against the Judges. Arijit Pasayat, J wanted to award punishment then and there, but A.K.Ganguly was in favour of giving opportunity of hearing before that. The matter was later heard by a three judge Bench, which awarded them three months punishment.
On April 10, 2009, an old man, a retired Principal of a School in Kurukshetra, Haryana, Rajmal Singh Saharan, hurled a shoe at the local Member of Parliament and a multimillionaire himself, Naveen Jindal, in a public rally, which he was addressing. He was arrested on the spot and sent to jail. After, getting bail with three days in jail, he told the press that he could not bear the false promises, the Millionaire Congress candidate was making in his speech to befool the people, for giving employment to the youth. Needless to say that the situation of unemployment is worsening more and more, day after day. The economic crisis of world capitalism as a whole, is making the situation even worse, with destroying the existing avenues of employment, instead of creating the new.
Newspapers of April 13, 2009, reported the panic created by this new found weapon, gripping the minds of elite leaders, as the activists of BJP who had gathered at Coimbatore Airport to recieve L.K.Advani, the top leader of Bhartiya Janta Party, were not permitted to enter the corirdor alongwith shoes. The activists were forced to leave the shoes and chappals in the car parking area and welcome the BJP leader barefooted, apprehending a 'shoe welcome' of the elite leader at the hands of its own activists.
However, despite all precautions which could have been taken, on 16 April, 2009, this top leader of Bhartiya Janata Party, Lal Krishna Advani, became the target of a 'Kharaun', an indigenous footwear, thrown by an activist/local leader of his own party, Pawas Aggarwal, while he was addressing a public rally, in Katni, Madhya Pradesh, the state ruled by his party, Bhartiya Janata Party.
Marx has once said that, “the weapon of criticism cannot substitute the criticism through weapons. Material power can be confronted only through material means. But the ‘ideas’ themselves turn into material means, once they attract the masses at large”. It seems that shoe has become such weapon and its hurling upon the elite rulers, such an ‘idea’ in the minds of people.