GENERAL ELECTIONS 2014
Certainly not surprising folks!
I remember an answer by the film star Jeetendra that I had heard many years ago while watching random programmes on TV. I don’t exactly remember when but it should be in 90s.
It was about his decision to become an actor. Jeetendra said – after passing B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) in Third Division, I didn’t not have any other option but to join the film industry – where would else I could find a job?
So candid a confession! And it reflects the reality of the Indian film stars (the lead pairs on screen-but not limited to them). I don’t follow film and sports celebrities and content on them. Even then, I can write this much.
Conservatively and safely, it is a dicey area for most of them they don’t care about. And interestingly, the problem is not a problem at all when seen from the perspective of the larger film fraternity.
After all, Indian film industry produces crap in bunches and ‘intelligent, meaningful cinema’ is a feast that is served once in a while. Yes, there are academically strong and ‘intellectually sound’ film industry professionals, but they are in absolute minority.
Anyway, the context of this write-up here is not even about the standard of the academic background of the film stars and celebrities. It is about the basic ‘general knowledge’ that every responsible citizen of this country should be aware of.
And what if, some of these responsible citizens, who are also film and sports celebrities (yes, you can very well include the sports stars), aspire to take political plunge to run the affairs of the country, to coordinate the processes of looking after the lives of its people?
Obviously, it is expected from them (theoretically, in ideal situations), that their ‘general knowledge’ would be ‘mature’ enough to reflect on their ‘seriousness of intent’ to serve the public of the Republic of India.
But, then that would be ideal situation, in a country which has seen consistent run of illiterate, poorly literate and academically dumb politicians controlling the governance.
So, the film and sports celebrities taking a political plunge in the General Elections 2014 can very well defend their shallow level of ‘general knowledge’ and absence of an academic base.
Anyway, coming back to the newspaper article – the Delhi edition of the Hindustan Times carried an interesting piece recently. Five general questions (very easy) on India and electoral process were framed and answers were sought from some of the film and sports celebrities contesting the Lok Sabha polls this year. Thankfully, most of them answered. At least, they had the face to face the questions that sounded so tough for them.
The questions framed were – number of seats needed for majority in the Lok Sabha – India’s first President – seven sister states of North-East India – ‘Sare Jahan Se Achha’ was written by – and – the year ‘your’ party was formed.
The respondents were Rakhi Sawant (own party, newly formed), Moon Moon Sen (AITC), Paresh Rawal (BJP), Ravi Kishan (INC), Baichung Bhutia (AITC), Babul Supriyo (BJP), Biswajit Chatterjee (AITC), Bappi Lahiri (BJP) and Mahesh Manjrekar (MNS).
The respondents who declined or skirted to answer the questions were Kamaal R Khan (SP), Kirron Kher (BJP), Gul Panag (AAP), Mohammad Kaif (INC) and Nagma (AAP). Their reasons were, naturally, the silly ones, telling us they were trying to escape the grilling (for them) – (but a good time-pass even for a primary school student).
Surprising, only Ravi Kishan could answer all the questions correctly and even he was surprised at his feat.
From the lot who answered, two could answer just two questions. Two were not aware of who was the first President of India. ‘Seven sister states of the North-East India’ and ‘the writer of Sare Jahan Se Achha’ were really tough question for this lot (or most of the lot from such a cross-section of celebrities).
It is to be kept in mind while weighing the performance of these celebrities for their ‘general knowledge’ level on questions the answer of which they must know and the questions answers of which almost of the college going students know (obviously, except the question on party foundation year), that many of these celebrities maintain active social media profiles and every now and then they remind us of their social activism evangelism crying in hoarse voices through their Twitter handles and Facebook accounts.
And some of them are going to win this time, too (like always). And the lot of backbenchers in the Parliament will be waiting eagerly for this.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – http://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/