Many idioms have long traditions and interesting history in their origins. Take for example – ‘jump the gun.’ It means a person may have acted too hastily or made a snap decision based on inadequate or partial information. In the early days of track and field sports many running events required the use of a loud, unambiguous starting signal in order to guarantee an equal and fair start for all competitors.Officials originally used a real handgun to signal the start of a race, then later employed a modified “starter’s pistol” that used blank cartridges. Any runner who ran out before the shot was charged with a false start and faced disqualification.
Runners soon learned to wait for the sound of the starter’s pistol and not jump the gun.Hence, we can conclude, by assuming facts not in evidence, a person can often assume the best or worst case scenario in any situation.However,If you are a man of repute, heft and carry weight, each and every step of your expedition counts. The world takes notice when you ask for a glass of water during interview. It creates history. And the latest minor protocol gaffe about Shri Narendra Modi in Moscow would be relived and enjoyed by the comedians and audiences alike in times to come around the globe.
Our beloved Prime Minister works hard and travels a lot. I don’t want to protract this article about the jokes that are bombarded upon social media about his presence or absence from the country. But as he emerged from the airplane after a long flight on to the tarmac in Moscow, something unbecoming happened again. He kept walking when the Russian band began playing the Indian anthem. A protocol officer of the host country quickly pulled him back to his spot so that the tune could finish.
And this reminds me of my own article dated 21 Nov 2015. Just to repeat a part of that: “No trip of the Prime Minister is free of controversy of one kind or another and the latest to add his woes is the disrespect of TIRANGA, though unintentionally, in his presence.
On day one of the ASEAN summit, a goof-up by the organizers saw the Indian tri-colour being hoisted upside down. The flag, hoisted on a stand alongside that of Japan, was in the background of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japan President Shinzo Abe’s customary handshake at the Summit. It was an embarrassingly ridiculous and curious. This contretemp must not have happened had the Indian security staff that must have visited the site before the Indian PM arrives should have noticed it. It would be wrong to blame Prime Minister Modi for this happening as he is not supposed to check the minor details of podium but the oversight leaves a very bitter taste. It can’t be termed as innocent mistake of host country’s organizers. Few slips are too loaded with optics that it would take time to be forgotten.
The prime Minister is on a three-day visit to Malaysia where he will address two summit gatherings as well as a meeting with the Indian diaspora on Sunday. That was the anti-climax of otherwise an interesting tour. And that reminds me the excerpt “And now I’ve got to explain the smell that was in there before I went in there. Does that ever happen to you? It’s not your fault. You’ve held your breath, you just wanna get out, and now you open the door and you have to explain, ‘Oh! Listen, there’s an odor in there and I didn’t do it. It’s bad.”…End of the quote.
What happened in Russia is a fairly straightforward gaffe. Just after Modi Ji has stepped onto the tarmac, the Russian dignitary made a gesture to the band to begin playing the Indian National Anthem. There was an instant confusion. The gesture made by the protocol officer could easily be interpreted as a suggestion for Modi Ji to start walking. Obviously he walked. Another official then quickly caught up to the Indian prime minister and told him to return to the spot, while the anthem was playing.
Do you remember when Mark Zuckerberg who seemed to be blocking the view of the camera, suddenly got pulled by Modi towards the right. Modi then quickly indicated that he (Zuckerberg) was blocking the camera. The camera does not clearly show Zuckerberg’s reaction, but he was seen straightening up his jacket before continuing with the conversation with Modi.
It is quite matter how the RSS & Co would have interpreted if the same situation were created in presence of a Congressman. The readers would also recall how Social media went into a tizzy about “Why didn’t Hamid Ansari salute the national flag?” criticising the vice president by posting pictures on Twitter and Facebook showing that Ansari did not salute the national flag during the national anthem. “Jihadi sympathiser”, “anti-India”, “traitor”, were among the hate tweets that were hurled at the vice president of India. Some even demanded that Ansari be impeached, and the more outraged ones advised him to join the ISIS.
“As per the protocol, when the national anthem is played, the Principal Dignitary and persons in uniform take the salute. Those in civil dress stand in attention. “During the Republic Day Parade, the President of India, as Supreme Commander, takes the salute. As per protocol, the Vice President is required to stand in attention and that is exactly what the Vice President did.
How one could forget about Modi’s decision to gift a ‘Signed Indian Flag’ to US President US President Barack Obama. It was seen by many as an insult to the national flag.
The unfortunate incident on Moscow tarmac was another embarrassment for the Prime Minister who is facing a lot of flak back home for the washed winter session of Parliament. The gigantic defense of Arun Jaitley against the torrential onslaught of Kirti Azad, Shatrughan Sinha, Ram Jehtmalani and Arvind Kejriwal is another headache for him.
By Naim Naqvi
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