On Tuesday, the Sree Narayana Dharma Samithi hosted a function to honour Shashi Tharoor. It turned out a disaster in protocol and etiquette, to say the least.
First, the compere, prominent TV show host and quiz master G S Pradeep, gave exaggerated and unnecessarily long-winded introductions of guests as he invited them to speak.
Then, he made an uncalled for observation that Hamid Ansari, who presented the award to the union minister, was born on Fool’s Day, much to the Vice President’s embarrassment. And though he was born on April 1, Pradeep continued, Ansari was an intellectual. A few sentences later, he repeated the reference to the Vice President’s birthday.
And just when many thought Pradeep had caused enough embarrassment, a director of the Samithi got up to sing the national anthem. It was awful, for want of a milder word .
Vijaya Prasad’s rendition was out of tune, without clarity, full of mistakes in the lyrics, and he lost count of the repetitive “jaya he” towards the end.
Ansari clearly wasn’t amused; his office later enquired with Kerala chief protocol officer K B Santhosh Kumar about the messy conduct of the event.
Kumar said there was no protocol violation on the part of his government. “The programme was conducted by a private organisation. It had submitted the text to be presented by the compere. We had vetted it but the compere made unwarranted witty comments on the vice president with regard to his birthday, embarrassing everyone. The vetted text did not carry that comment,” he said. “We have sought an explanation from the organisation on why the compere made comments which were not submitted for our perusal.’’
Meanwhile, blamed for ruining the event, Pradeep came out with his defence on Thursday. “I am not used to the role of a compere. I seek apology if I went wrong in my address. Nobody told me that introducing the speakers should not take more than a minute,” he said.