Andrew Buncombe: Paxman – time to throw the shoe

Related Topics

I wasn't at the press conference last week when an Indian journalist took off his shoe and threw it at home minister P Chidambaram in disgust over the politician's apparent refusal to properly answer his question. But I was watching it live on television. To his credit, Mr Chidambaram leaned gracefully out of the way of the projectile and urged the security personnel to go gentle on Sikh reporter Jarnail Singh as they led him away.

Ever since an Iraqi journalist hurled both his shoes at George Bush during his last visit to Baghdad, the throwing of footwear has become the de rigueur form of protest. Chinese premier Wen Jiabao also had a shoe thrown at him by a disgruntled student. But I think there was a difference in Mr Singh's actions. He had been pressing the politician about a clean chit given to two ministers accused of inciting mobs in the 1984 riots that left many Sikhs dead and for which noone has ever been held responsible. Mr Chidambaram's party, Congress, had even been planning to field the men in an upcoming election. Watching live, one sensed Mr Singh getting increasingly frustrated as the minister parried his question and then dodged a follow-up. His spontaneous decision to slip off his sweaty Reebok and gently toss it towards the minister appeared more an act of despair than seething anger. Later, I bumped into an Indian television reporter who told me most journalists were ashamed at their colleague's actions. I'm not so sure. While hurling a shoe isn't the height of professionalism, I wonder if there's a half-way point journalists might adopt when a politician refuses to come clean. Perhaps it would be enough simply to take off one's shoe and hold it high in the air. I'm sure they'd quickly get the message.

Keeping your clothes on

A thousands times we've driven past the Jain statue, a thousand times we said we must take a look. The statue of the Indian sage Vardhamana, carved from a single piece of stone, gazes impassively over the scrub of south Delhi. It also seems to attract a lot of gurus, naked but for a fan of peacock feathers used to brush away ants from their path lest they crush them. The gurus were a friendly bunch and keen to invite me to another temple south of the city to learn more about Jainism. I could, they insisted, keep my clothes on.

Indian meals on wheels

"You haven't eaten Biryani? You have to eat Biryani," declares the taxi-driver as I rush for a plane from Hyderabad back to Delhi. I have five minutes to check-in. The driver knows a place near the airport. Just five minutes, he says. It actually takes 10 but the food is fabulous and I still catch my flight.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Mosul falls: Talk of Iraq retaking the town, held by IS since June, is unconvincing  

Isis on the run? The US portrayal is very far from the truth

Patrick Cockburn
If Miliband is PM, it is expected that Cameron will stand down as party leader quickly  

General Election 2015: With more options to form a government, Miliband should win this campaign

Jane Merrick
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk