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Monday, November 20, 2023

One day Ruler !! - Governance !!

If you are 50+ - you most likely would know ‘Watergate’ for sure - the Watergate Hotel is one of Washington’s plushest hotels but is known world over for wrong reasons   as a term synonymous with corruption and scandal.  On June 17, 1972 burglars broke into the Democratic Party’s National Committee offices and if  it had not been for the alert actions of Frank Wills, a security guard, the scandal may never have erupted.  


This picture may reminisce you about something else.  It is Frost interviewing Nixon.  Sir David Paradine Frost OBE   was a British television host, journalist, comedian and writer. He rose to prominence during the satire boom in the United Kingdom when he was chosen to host the satirical programme That Was the Week That Was in 1962.   He became known for his television interviews with senior political figures, among them, the interviews with US president Richard Nixon in 1977  were adapted into a stage play and film. Frost interviewed all eight British prime ministers serving from 1964 to 2016, from Alec Douglas-Home to David Cameron, and all eight American presidents in office from 1969 to 2008, from Lyndon B. Johnson to George W. Bush. 

Governance – an act by the Government - the system by which a state or community is controlled. This usage is analogous to what is called an "administration".   Government is the means by which state policy is enforced, as well as the mechanism for determining the policy of the state.  India is the largest democracy, a system of governance – where people govern themselves – through an elected group of our own representatives.  In someways, it is defined as Governance by the people, rule of the majority. 

The Shankar directed – Arjun starrer ‘Mudhalvan’ ~ theme of  ‘Oru naal Mudhalvan’ (Chief Minister for One day)….was a great hit and was indeed an enjoyable movie by most counts with inspirational dialogues of our beloved Sujatha.  Arjun played the leadrole of Pughazendi, an ambitious TV journalist with Vadivelu as the camera person – Raghuvaran as the CM.  In the pivotal portion was the interview of Pugazh with CM posing tough questions. Unable to take them, CM teases with a poser – stating that its toughness would be understood only by those who underwent the ordeal and asks whether he can take the seat and run the administration – even for a day ?


From the day, the State was renamed as Tamil Nadu on 14th Jan 1969 – the State has had Dravidian parties (DMK and ADMK) ruling.  The shortest period of rule was 24 days by Mrs. Janaki Ramachandran ……  Ruling is no thrill – providing governance, good governance at that is not entirely about processes – it is more of decisions and implementations – that too balancing the available resources and providing what is required by the people ….it is of taking correct decisions at right time !!..    

Miles away in Bihar,  there was this sensational hero – Dashrath Manjhi in the hills of Bihar – the man who broke the hill with iron will of a mountain, making his native village accessible. A straight lift from popular movie – Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar asked this septuagenarian from Gaya to occupy his chair for a little over five minutes. Nitish said that was one way of acknowledging the greatness of the great deed. Manjhi died in chill penury is another sad story….  

Actors hog limelight – in  1962, invited by the then-US President, John F. Kennedy, Sivaji Ganesan visited US.  During his visit there, he was honoured by being made the honorary mayor of Niagara Falls, New York for one day and was presented the key to the city. The only other Indian who has had this honour before Ganesan was Jawaharlal Nehru. 

The Nixon interviews were a series of conversations between former American president Richard Nixon and British journalist David Frost, produced by John Birt. They were recorded and broadcast on television and radio in four programs in 1977. 

Richard Nixon spent more than two years away from public life after resigning from office due to the Watergate scandal. However, Nixon granted David Frost an exclusive series of interviews in 1977. He was publishing his memoirs at the time, but his publicist Irving Paul Lazar believed that he could reach a mass audience by using television.  In part 3, Frost asked Nixon whether the president could do something illegal in certain situations such as against antiwar groups and others if he decides "it's in the best interests of the nation or something". Nixon replied: "Well, when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal", by definition. Part 5 opened with Frost's blunt question, "Why didn't you burn the tapes?"


Before concluding, there was this tragic incident of one day Mayor – Gisela Raquel Mota Ocampo, 33,   mayor of the Mexican city of Temixco was killed in a terror attack a day after she took charge and thus was Mayor for a day only.

With regards – S Sampathkumar

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