A Shoe Power

A new kind of fear has gripped the politicians. It began with the former President of the United States of America being subjected to a shoe-attack. An angry Iraqi hurled his shoe at the ex-President while he was addressing a press conference. Taking inspiration, someone hurled a chappal (obviously, this is India and shoes are costly) at an Indian minister, and then some days later at the leader of the opposition. At least in the Indian context there is no need to fear “a foreign hand” in these attacks. And as both the ruling party as well as the opposition has been subjected to the same treatment, even they cannot accuse each other of “disturbing internal peace.”

How infuriating to know that someone out there, hidden in the masses, is actually plotting to hurl his footwear at you! Even though politicians may claim popularity, as a profession, politics lies at the bottom of the table when honesty is considered. So should we leave the matter as it is and say that the politicians deserved it? Or, what else can the masses do when they see that the people whom they vote into power now in turn rob them?

When a Kazi (local magistrate) had stopped the congregational chanting of the holy names and broken a mrdanga (drum), Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu had rallied all the people of Navadvipa for a massive non-violent protest march. People were told to prepare torches and march to the residence of the Kazi while roaring the Hare Krishna maha-mantra at top volume. The sight was extraordinary to say the least. Thousands upon thousands assembled with flaming torches in their hands and when the whole crowd marched to the residence of the Kazi, he simply hid on the top floor. As slogans of “kill the Kazi” and “burn his house” filled the air, the Kazi feared for his life, but Lord Caitanya had made it very clear that He had no desire to resort to violence of any kind. At last the Kazi relented and had a lengthy philosophical discussion with Lord Caitanya. The matter ended amicably with the Kazi issuing a new proclamation that no one should hinder the congregational chanting of the holy names of the Lord in the future. Even his descendents remained faithful to his decree.

A Shoe Power

Could non-performance of duty be the root of all problems facing politics today? Could politicians be reminded of the fact that they are appointed to rule human society’s minuscule government as representatives of a higher cosmic government already put to work by the Supreme Lord Himself? Most politicians (if not all) will choose not to believe in a Supreme Lord, and even if they did, it may be only for some superficial reason.

 The Vedas assert that a king or a ruler be addressed as naradeva, a representative of God in human form. Kings like Yudhisthira, Parikshit, Sibi, Ambarisa and many, many others lived their lives exactly as the above description, and there were others like Vena who lost their lives because they dared to disobey. If politicians start to behave like Ravana and Kamsa, then even if they show glittering economic development and a fantastic array of weaponry, nothing will be able to protect them from the judgment of the Supreme Lord. Seems like the shoes and chappals are like early warnings!

– Syamananda Dasa