Omar Abdullah might be a bit biased here. What probably is more important though is what the Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers added: “Glad [that] dance now [is an] acceptable [form of] protest.”
Sushma Swaraj’s dance becoming worthy of news and online banter betrays how middle-class mores dictate Indian mainstream sensibilities.
Gandhiji, having lived in South Africa for years, in fact, might not have found it disrespectful at all. Why cross continents when we ourselves have a rich tradition of revelling in music and dance as part of rituals, including funerals.
Dance and music have been an intrinsic part of protest in the long years of the battle against apartheid in South Africa. South Africa, indeed, the whole of the African continent has given us such brilliant protest music.
In India too protest has a history filled with music, dance and theatre too. The most famous being the Indian Peoples Theatre Association (IPTA). There are groups like the Jana Natya Manch which keep the fire burning even in this age of standardisation. It is time mainstream culture acknowledges and indulges in a bit of “fun” too.
Let us emulate the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha — only about her dancing protest, let me quickly add.