Do doctors, bureaucrats and artists have anything in common? I am told, besides their profession they value their ego the most. What is wrong? Perhaps every successful Indian can be labeled as egocentric (another expression for rudeness!). A politician friend, who is also an artist himself, has something interesting to share. He says, it is ok since they also know how to melt their ego like a sugar cube before the powers that be (read politicians).
On their relationship with netas, he says: Doctors put the politicians to use almost with immediate effect while the bureaucrats are cautious and would like to reap the benefit on a long term basis. The artists, being a group of very independent and creative people, are supposed to be rolling stones. Nevertheless, some of them try to use the politicians both for immediate as well as long-term gains. Unfortunately, most of them cannot keep pace.
However, an artist?particularly a performing artist?is happy to have his/her show inaugurated by a minister or, at least, by an honourable Member of Parliament. Next in preference is a bureaucrat or a PSU boss. Very rarely we find a senior performer or guru to have this honour. The members of the august audience, barring the freshers, are too familiar with the time schedule of such programmes where the honourable people'srepresentatives are invited to perform this mundane job. With due apology, I must explain, it is not always the fault of the chief guest or the guest of honour. A large number of artists and orgaisers of a show put the names of ministers and other VIPs in the invitation card without even getting a formal consent of the person concerned. The good thing is, netas do not mind such indiscretion and the artists achieve their purpose.
Sometime ago I went to a dance programme, which was to be ?blessed? by the Union Home Minister as the chief guest. In keeping with the ?tradition?, the minister did not come on time. I got upset, particularly because it was the Home Minister of India. I came out of the auditorium and contacted the minister'soffice to find out if he had left for the programme. The minister'ssecretary made a quick check and clarified that the minister had no programme to attend that afternoon in Delhi since he was not even in town.
Well-known Congress leader the late HKL Bhagat once gave an interesting explanation for coming almost 90 minutes late to inaugurate a cultural programme. He was candid to admit that politicians and ministers have no control over their time (barring of course when summoned by the Prime Minister or the party high command.). ?It is all dictated by Janata?we have to squeeze five meetings in the time of two.? The leaders, he said, have such poor reputation for punctuality that once he reached a programme venue on time only to find that the organizers were yet to come. On another occasion when he reached home around 9.30 pm, his wife came enquiring if everything was fine with him!
We also sometimes come across good souls who surprise you with their knowledge and punctuality. A cabinet minister, whom I knew to be a thoroughbred politician, would ensure to reach the programme he was invited to always 5-10 minutes earlier. One day, I was stunned when he started talking about his great love for tabla and telling that he could actually play the pair. Another well-known politician, a friend for over three decades now, is a genius in instrumental music. He never received any training. You give him any musical instrument and he would show his magic in five minutes. Unfortunately, being an artist he could not handle politics while keeping music as an occasional companion.
A renowned south Indian dancer, settled in Delhi for years, once invited a well-known north Indian politician to inaugurate his dance festival. The chief guest (CG) in spotless white pyjama and dazzling maroon silk kurta with shining shoes, was led to the stage by the organising-Guru for lighting the ceremonial lamp. The chief guest forgot to remove his shoes before climbing on the stage, which is almost a tradition. The culture-sensitive audience was ill at ease to see the neta lighting the sacred lamp with his shoes on.
The Guruji, in an effort to please the netaji, started: ?My Hindi is poor, and the hon?ble CG may excuse me for the same?..and our CGji is a great man and a great lover of dance and music..?and he has great love for artists?.please excuse me for my bad Hindi?.? The CG, a master orator, assured the Guruji, ?Your Hindi is absolutely fine and nothing to worry. As a performer, your job is to perform, not to speak. It is our prerogative to speak.? And to the delight of the audience the show began without further speech-making.
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