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Shake it, Mr MLA

India has been straitjacketed in its prudish notion of how a politician should behave. And for that, the finger-wagging media are largely to blame.

india Updated: Feb 22, 2010 23:16 IST

For a change, it’s not the self-righteous politician playing party-pooper. This time, it’s the media that’s been caught playing the disapproving-cum-cantankerous grandma who wants everybody, especially our political leaders, to behave as if they lived inside Parliament, or, as in the case of Shyam Bahadur Singh, inside the Bihar assembly, 24 hours a day. Mr Singh, a member of the Patna legislative assembly from the Janata Dal (United), had organised a fun’n’frolic dance programme in Patna for the entertainment of people from his constituency of Ziradei in Siwan district on Sunday. While the media, fed on rallies and programmes more in tune with the ‘hoity-toity’ babalog notion of what appeals to the masses (read: snore-inducing programmes involving speeches, patriotic songs and panel discussions), expected a certain ‘decorum’ from Mr Singh, the JD(U) MLA thankfully had other plans.

A few girls were trotted out to dance in the gathering, the crowd enjoying every bit of it, and Mr Singh, full of joie de vivre that most other politicians try to cultivate and fail to have, started dancing with the girls in the crowd. A section of the media, who would have preferred a classical dance recital, immediately accused Mr Singh of making “indecent moves”. We saw the visuals of Mr Singh in full flow, and it’s pretty evident that he was matching the girls ‘step by step, move by move’. Most important, he was having fun -- something that our marmish media does not tolerate in our political class.

India has been straitjacketed in its prudish notion of how a politician should behave. And for that, the finger-wagging media are largely to blame. Why can’t a minister break into dance? Why can’t an MLA be seen at a bar nursing his drink? Why does our political class have to be squeakily fun-less? If there’s any lesson that Mr Singh can teach the media in their nunnery, it is this: chill. No law was broken, no one was upset. So what is it that makes people think that politicians can’t shake a leg or any other body part when the lights go down?