‘Honourable’ is the word that precedes any mention of members of Parliament in India. And what is the point being honourable when you don’t make others around feel it? Ravindra Gaikwad was doing exactly that when he wielded his sandal on an elderly Air India staffer at Delhi Airport on Thursday. Of course, other parliamentarians resort to subtle ways, but then what would the great democracy be without variety?
The parliamentarian from Maharashtra sees no reason to apologise for his conduct. He has also pooh-poohed his blacklisting by the Federation of Indian Airlines besides writing to the Speaker about the unfair treatment he was subjected to. After all these, he can well ask the country to apologise to him. Because few treated him honourably after the episode and all expressed shock at his action instead of being appreciative.
The country indeed owes him an apology. Here’s why.
One, how can you make him travel economy class? It is also called cattle class because ordinary stinking Indians fly in this non-exclusive category. And Ravindra Gaikwad is no ordinary individual. Besides being a parliamentarian he is also the member of the Shiv Sena. The airlines should have been reverential and removed seats around him to make him feel special. Obviously, no such effort was made.
Two, in his letter to the Speaker of Lok Sabha Sumitra Mahajan, Gaikwad is believed to have complained about service in the flight not meeting international standards. Towels, tissues papers and television were not provided to passengers, he has written. Now, how unfair is this? Ordinary fliers can make do without all this, even without a properly functioning air-conditioner, but how can an ‘honourable’ MP be made to suffer?
Three, asked why he thrashed the airline staffer, Gaikwad told the media that he was not a BJP MP. He was a Shiv Sena MP. He would not tolerate any insult. The airline staffers should have known that. The Shiv Sena has a special way of dealing with people they are not comfortable with. It is violent almost as a rule. Gaikwad claimed to have struck the 60-year-old staffer several times with his sandal. He was just showing the world why being a member of the party is so special.
Four, when the MP was asked to de-board which he refused. The flight was already delayed by 40 minutes and it was then the deputy manager was sent to pacify him. Gaikwad besides assaulting him physically threatened to throw him off the flight. When the stewardess told him that it would be a murder case, he proudly claimed let there be. There were many cases against him. Now, how dare the airline staff ask him alight? They should have been more respectful given his past record. Henceforth all MPs should carry mention of criminal cases against them as a badge of honour and flaunt these on their chests.
Five, the honourable member of Parliament appeared to have lost it when told that he was an elected representative and he should behave according to his status. Surely, the airline staffer had no business reminding him what he was, particularly when he is a member of the Shiv Sena. Didn’t he sound entirely dignified when he corrected a reporter asking him whether he had hit the staffer with shoes. He replied it was not shoes but sandals. And he gave a count for the number of strikes: 25. His status demands that he receive an apology from the staffer.
And for no reason the country went berserk, accusing him of all things – arrogance, goondaism, uncouthness and what not. The country needs to apologise to the great soul. His honour has to be restored.
Updated Date: Mar 24, 2017 14:35 PM