Witness to a sweating bandhgala ceremony

At 38°C, the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan, pretty and pretty imposing as it may be, isn’t the best place to spend a Sunday evening. The practice of a new government of India being sworn in usually takes place inside the presidential barracks for the simple reason of comfort. But with too many people invited – and RSVPs can be dodgy on such occasions – the option of an indoor ceremony may not have sufficed. Thus, despite the standing fans and scattering water droplets, Sunday’s ministerial oath-taking ceremony looked sweatier than an oily oil painting. Adding to the heat were many of the poor dearies wearing ‘official’ gear. Bandhgalas in June can be stifling beyond the neck.

Making ministers sweat may show the nation that GoI means business. But a sweating cabinet with the bhavan’s 12 Tuscan pillars looking on doth not a classical picture make. Usually used for ceremonial receptions of visiting heads of state and government, and for the ‘change of guard’ ceremony, those occasions usually take minutes, not over 2 hours. It’s the kind of Sunday programming that’s best watched from one’s bhavan – if one is inclined towards entertainment of this variety – not seated under a Delhi sweltering evening sky with the surroundings still giving off the day’s 40°C-plus temperature. And as an aside: why do we have such a hungama ceremony again?


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