‘Hero Worship’ is a universal phenomenon, no doubt. However, many times it is absolutely amusing to me. This sort of ‘worship’ is not just confined to celluloid world alone; it extends to almost all areas and fields irrespective of the educated circle or otherwise. For example, the chief guest invited for a particular function or seminar or gathering would be someone who may be luminary in a completely different field and just not that; he/ she may not have even an iota of knowledge about the subject of the meet at all. First, we can take the examples of ministers being invited to address the gathering on any and every celebration or meet. In such cases, someone from the minister’s office normally gets the gist of the objective and purpose of the celebration and makes a speech and passes on to the minister. They also come and read it without any impact or emotion except they need to smile, release a souvenir if any and to click a few snaps with the organizers for the benefit of the organizers and the publicity of the minister.
However, I have come across some hilarious as well as irritating instances of such events. Once in a special All India Seminar on a particular field of Science and Technology, the chairman and managing director of a popular industry had been invited as the chief guest. I was not very sure whether he had done his homework properly or not; he addressed the gathering with supreme confidence dropping the names of some of the popular personalities in that particular field. Unfortunately, the name of one pioneer in that field carried an ambiguous name but, he was quite a popular personality. But, this chief guest assuming him to be a woman and thundered that he is appreciative of ‘her vision’ long before to make a mark of ‘her presence’ in that specific area of science and technology. He kept referring ‘she’ and ‘her’ in several places of his speech. No doubt the other august guests occupying the stage were squirming in embarrassment and a stifled laughter was passing through the audience.
In a kindergarten school function the chief guest, a director of an institute was speaking at length completely oblivious of the young kids in their make up for the following cultural programs were sweating and restless. He was waxing eloquent on his achievements much to the chagrin of the parents who were cursing him under their breath. Nevertheless, he concluded his oratory to the LKG-UKG kids after nearly 30-40 minutes harangue.
There was a recent literary meet organized to release and honor the yesteryear author of the book. A few speakers have been invited to speak about him and his work. One of them started with a long preamble narrating an episode about his college days and about his mentor just to refer that one of the personalities invited there was his mentor’s brother. Another person moved tangentially to a different subject and belted out very loud and emotional outburst which totally had no relevance to the function’s objective.
Very few are really interested or have knowledge about the event they are attending. It is not a crime; one cannot be well-versed in all the areas like our film heroes. They are fictional characters to whom the writer can attribute numerous talents. In real life, it is impossible and a rarity. The personalities are invited because of their power, position and name. A scientist cannot be a chief guest for a bharatnatyam program or classical music festival unless he has interest and at least some knowledge about the art. A film star, however popular, cannot preside over a science seminar. A littérateur might be a wrong choice for a completely scientific or technical meet. Even within these areas, a highly qualified technical person may not fit into a business oriented seminar or a subject in which he had no acquaintance.
But, we, in India are fond of our culture or honoring popular personalities by their positions and not for their interest or knowledge in that particular subject or field.
Well, as Indians, we love fairy tales; a super human who knows everything and who can execute anything impossible. Understandably, we expect our popular personalities to be like our mythological or celluloid heroes who could do anything under the sun. Is it not ludicrous?