June 11, 2006AsidePublic Policy

Sunday Levity: Statutory Warnings

How the Indian government protects its citizens

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

Dragged into a cushy multiplex in one of Bangalore’s swanky new malls didn’t fully erase the grave misgivings which precede the watching of a Hindi film, even one starring Aamir Khan.

Even before the customary Smoking is harmful’ and In case of fire use the EXIT stills, the powers that be in India decided to screen a short infomercial, the theme of which was Terrorism is a dead-end career option’. The shalwar-clad terrorist runs out of bullets, is abandoned by his handler and dreams a prodigal son’s dream before being cleanly finished off by the Army sniper. Nice message. It would seem though, that terrorism, like smoking, drugs, AIDS and — if India’s health minister Dr Anbumani Ramadoss has his way — even soft drinks, can be countered by consumer education. The next step may be to decree that all firearms come with a statutory warning, like cigarettes, stating in a print of a certain minimum size, that terrorists will meet a terrible fate.

As for Dr Ramadoss, he recently excoriated film stars and cricketing icons for endorsing soft-drinks, which as everyone knows, are a grave threat to public health in India. The Health Minister must be applauded for this move — for he knows that while soft-drinks themselves may be relatively harmless, the average urban Indian inhales dangerously high levels of poisonous chemicals on his way to the soft drink store. Fewer trips to buy soft drinks also mean fewer traffic accidents. The next step will be to prevent film stars and cricketing icons from endorsing motorcycles, engine lubricants and ultimately, all automobiles. For, as everyone knows, automobiles cause traffic accidents that claim lives.

Film stars and cricketing icons need not worry about lost endorsement revenue — the Government of India can employ them to make more infomercials.

As for those grave misgivings, they were erased even before the movie began — thanks to Yella OK, Cold Drink Yaake?. (But Dr Ramadoss will not be impressed at all)

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