Union health minister Anbumani Ramadoss's relentless attempts to correct the ills of Indian society continue. Yesterday, the man who wants a "Statutory Warning" on the screen each time Rajnikanth takes a puff, pushed the envelope of public health further.
"I am appealling to Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag and Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai and other film and sports stars to desist from endorsing soft drinks and fast foods," Dr Ramadoss said. "These are doing much harm to society. If these stars want to do some good for the society, they must shun these ads."
Obesity, diabetes, and other diseases are on the rise in the country because of the consumption of such products. "Even children under 12 years of age are suffering from cardiac ailments due to junk food," Dr Ramadoss said.
Questions: Is Dr Ramadoss just being a control freak, or is he right in counselling our superstars? Do our superstars "who have short careers" have the conscience to listen to such advice? Are they really bothered about public health? Should they be? Will the diseases come down simply because stars do not endorse the products? Or, in a free market, is anybody free to do anything he pleases?