There has been one more Shoe throwing incident and this time victim, the most famous of all recent such events. The monotonous regularity and pointlessness of such events is relieved only by the witty comments on Twitter. Most people now do not know or remember the first of such “Shoe Incidents”. It was not exactly a throw. No body can recollect correctly what happened. This the (much abused) Wikipedia version – the most comprehensive article available on the web. Nikita Khrushchev is supposed to have banged the desk with his shoes at the most august of all places – the UN General Assembly. The way I was told – (Illustrated Weekly, from my memory) puts it slightly different. As he banged the desk with his shoes, someone noticed he had shoes on both his legs. He had brought in an extra shoe just to shock and divert attention. May be true, may not be but sounds brilliant. On the other hand the current series of non events are disappointing to put it mildly. Soon News channels might have to say “The meeting failed to evoke much response – there was no shoe throwing.”
Shoe throwing in real life is aped on the Social Media especially Twitter by inane and mostly hurtful comments. Thiruvalluvar writing around 2000 years puts in succinctly – ‘Not knowing art of cheerful conversation, men estrange even friends by divisive discourse (Verse 187).’ Most comments have an impact which is quite the opposite of what is supposedly intended – antagonises the recipient of such messages. It would be educative for this tribe to know about the most effective barb of all time. It is generally thought that Yudhishthira was a weak man who wanted peace at any cost when he asked for just 5 villages. When Duryodhana says as much Vidura explains (From Kamala Subramaniam’s Mahabaratha):
“Yudhishthira is not a fool. He has asked you for these five villages in particular. He could have asked for just any five. Why should he have mentioned the names? I will tell you. He knows full well that you are not going to listen to anyone. He knows that he will have to fight for his kingdom and kill you all for the sake of that kingdom. This request of his for five villages is just a reminder to you and to the elders of this court, in particular, about the sufferings of the Pandavas. Even one of the names is sufficient.
Take Varanavata. It reminds everyone of the infamous plot at Varanavata when you and your uncle instigated Purochana to build the palace of lac. It was a dastardly plot to kill your cousins. Yudhishthira wants to remind you and us about it. Then comes the name Indraprastha. That is the next injustice done to them. You must remember that your father decided to give them half the Kuru land. This was after their wedding Draupadi. The half which was given to them was the barren land called Khandavaprastha. They got the help of Indra to make it fruitful. That is why Yudhishthira mentions Indraprastha as one of the village he wants. Then comes Jayanta. Surely, surely you could not have forgotten the hall you built after you came back from the Rajasuya. Jayanta is a suburb of Hastinapura and there was built the hall which was the excuse which brought the Pandavas to Hastinapura. Yudhishthira wants us to remember that the game of dice has not been forgotten by him. The fourth is Vrikaprastha. That was where Bheema was fed with poisoned food by you. That is the place adjoining the coppice, Pramanavata. That is where the Pandavas spent the first night of their twelve years’ exile. He has allowed you to choose the fifth village yourself. It makes up the rest of the injustices done to them by you.
Now you can see how angry and sarcastic Yudhishthira can be if he wants to? That is his way of saying: ‘After all this, you want us to be patient. My uncle says that I am bent on war. Which man will be patient after all these things have happened to him? It is possible to avert the war only if my kingdom is returned to me.’ That is the message of Yudhishthira to all of you.”
All Yudhishthira asked for was five villages. It ended in a war that encompassed all of Bharath Yudhishthira would have done well on twitter.