Listen to your ‘shoe’! -- Kul Bushan I’m mightier than a pen! Gone are the days, when I would silently lie beneath your feet. I speak now. Haven’t you heard me through cartoons, newspapers, TV discussions, debates, etc., these days? For years, you have walked, jumped, or ran on me. You have put me through indignities by walking over stones, mud and muck (tobacco stains are the ones I abhor). But now I have found my voice. Do not take me for granted, I am a deadly weapon now. Whenever the deaf needs to be woken up from stupor, use me. You may criticize me and my ways, but you can’t deny that I am highly effective. The moment I strike, my voice becomes national headlines. My voice can disrupt public meetings, conferences, press meetings and shake the hell out of laid-back people. Credit goes to Iraqi journalist Muntazer al-Zaidi for giving me my newfound status. I was lying low, but he suddenly lifted me from oblivion into the spotlight, as he hurled me towards none other than the former President Bush – the most powerful man on earth. Well, I admit I was nervous, shaken and thinking of the consequences as I went flying towards him. The then US President dodged me, but Zaidi became an instant hero to many throughout the world, thousands of whom raised me in demonstration of support. The incident became a rage, and I, a superstar (look out for the countless blogs, cartoons, and articles on me). Gosh, it felt nice to have made such a grand entry. Well, there was no looking back after that journey from Zaidi’s smelly feet to Bush’s head! And now in India, I have become a ‘missile of discontent’ to say the least. My stint with stardom in India began when I was hurled towards the Home Minister P Chidambaram. Jarnail Singh, the angry journalist in a fit of rage, hurled me towards unsuspecting Chidambaram during a press conference at the Congress headquarters. Jarnail Singh was fuming over the issue of Jagdish Tytler being given a clean chit in the 1984 Sikh riots case by the CBI. As the temperature soared during the conference, Jarnail Singh, in true ‘Singh is Kinng’ fashion, took me off from his size 9 feet and before I knew, I was inches away from the target, who was smiling blankly. I was more than happy over my success, when Congress asked Tytler not to contest elections. The public blurted, ‘it took a shoe-throwing incident to put forth a point’ and I smiled at myself. Another claim to my stardom was through a 64-year-old retired school principal, who used me as symbol of attack on India’s political system. Rajbal Singh Saharan’s son had lost his job and there was the Congress party lawmaker Naveen Jindal delivering a happy speech during a rally. How could he tolerate it? The old man tried to shout but his voice remained subdued, so he thought of speaking through me. I laughed as I tried to focus on Naveen Jindal, while merrily being thrown at him. This was followed by my sister’s (the slipper) attack at the veteran politician and prime ministerial candidate, Lal Krishna Advani. He is a man of great stature, but my sister dislikes his ‘communal’ undertones. So, she readily became Pawas Aggarwal’s tool of attack, when he aimed her at Advani during a public meeting. Poor Pawas Agarwal was retorting for being “removed from his post due to groupism within BJP” and he surely made an impact. I rolled with laughter, when the usually outspoken Advani, who had challenged the PM for a verbal duel, took to silence and refused to comment on the embarrassing occurrence. It is being said that the media is making much of shoe-throwing incidents and giving it undue coverage that’s why such acts are becoming a regular. Whatever, they say, one can’t deny the enormity of my effect. After blog-wars there will be shoe-wars. "Flying footwear are now the weapons of mass distraction," said a headline in a newspaper. I have become the highest form of protest in the country. Strict measures are being taken to stop ‘shoe-hurling’ incidents. I am on cloud nine! So, I warn you, do not consider me an ineffective little accessory fit only for your feet. My power is growing by the day. They say, I am being misused, I say I love to be used in any way. I do not care about moral or immoral stance; I am just enjoying being the ‘shoe’ – a powerful symbol of protest, just as much of comfort. A media consultant to a UN Agency, Kul Bhushan previously worked abroad as a newspaper editor and has travelled to over 50 countries. He lives in New Delhi Copyright © 2005 Mauritius Times.