Ah, to enjoy the sheer pleasures of being sanctimonious. A day before smoking in public places becomes punishable by law, we have thrown our libertarian views out of the window and thoroughly endorse Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss’ crusade against smokers — especially women smokers who will have to puff on the streets or inside their homes like their male counterparts.
But hang on a bit. Did you, by any chance, see the half-page advertisement that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare came up with in newspapers yesterday? The point that some non-smoke-addled brains were trying to make is that not only does smoking kill you and others in the vicinity, but it also gobbles up a sizeable chunk of your limited revenues. To drive home the point visually, the ad shows a young man lighting up a rolled-up hundred rupee note. To our suddenly sensitised and sensitive minds, that’s insulting a national symbol: a currency note bearing the picture of the Mahatma, the Ashoka pillar and the signature of the RBI Governor.
By looking at the picture, we are, against our better judgement, being tempted to set currency notes on fire. Surely, Mr Ramadoss has heard of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971? Just when we were about to rally around him, he’s upset us most grievously.