Public figures too need private lives
Whether it’s the French president Francois Hollande or our own union minister Shashi Tharoor, personal lives are weighing heavily against public figures for all the wrong reasons. The Indian media’s obsession over the Tharoor-Pushkar saga, from their tumultuous rise to national spotlight with the infamous and stillborn Kochi franchise scandal to the ultimate death of Sunanda Pushkar under suspicious circumstances, is a testimony of how we make a fodder of people’s private lives to sell more copies of our pitiable newspapers. Even France, which for the longest time paid no need to the sex lives of its premiers that was accepted in its obvious liberal attitude towards bedroom moralities, or the lack thereof, has been merciless with its constant dissections of President Hollande’s dalliances with an actress, which led to his eventual split from his partner Valerie Trierweiler. The French press, which was relatively kinder to his former president Nicholas Sarkozy and his peccadilloes with Carla Bruni (whom he later married) has splashed the Hollande affair on its front pages, much to the consternation of the premier, who had run into diplomatic choppy waters over protocols in other countries.
In fact, right to privacy has been reduced to a quaint old-fashioned demand, which is systematically negated by not just prying paparazzi but also the snooping state. In the US-style all-pervasive surveillance is any indication, not a single moment do we have in our sanctum sanctorum, since our boudoir behaviour is other people’s morality play. It is extremely deplorable that the mass media as well as the relatively new phenomenon social media, extract such a heavy price from public personalities in exchange for global spotlight, draining the vestiges of happiness from their lives spent under constant scrutiny. Moreover, our hypocrisies get duly exposed when we take a dig at politicians or celebrities for their ostensible transgressions when our own houses are made of glass.