Nothing could be more yawn-inducing than the routine shoe-throwing at someone as a mark of protest. The latest to get footwear flung at him is Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi who carried on with his speech after egging the hurler to carry on. The defenders of the faith had offered up to Rs 1 lakh to anyone who would throw a shoe at Salman Rushdie were he to set foot on Indian shores. But he remained with his feet firmly planted on home turf. At the Jaipur literary festival pint-sized actor Rahul Bose expressed his protest by reading out the preamble to the Constitution.
Can we not think of more interesting ways of protesting? Now we are not suggesting that you rip off your clothes and turn up at various venues. But surely we can do better than run around wearing caps with the legend 'I am Anna'. Long ago and far away, we had such heart-warming slogans like 'gali, gali mein shor hai, xxxx chor hai.' Of course, even this falls short when we consider Mahalia Jackson's raspy voice belting out 'We shall overcome,' during the civil rights movement. Or Marvin Gaye singing 'What's going on?' in the backdrop of the Vietnam war. Later, the anthem for universal brotherhood became John Lennon's Imagine and for the vulnerable, Gloria Gaynor's soul-stirring 'I will survive.'
So, we need to get our act together. Kiran Bedi waving the tricolour around and mumbling some incomprehensible song on the lokpal is hardly likely to set the Yamuna on fire. We could, of course, devise a novel form of protest in the form of turning up at venues clad in garments made of our editorials. But then again, we see a limited appeal for this, even more than when our writings come out in print. Now with Valentine's Day round the corner, our cultural custodians will register their protest by beating up courting couples. And we really must protest that we were working yesterday while all of you were on holiday so that you can read your favourite newspaper today morning.