Politicians can try to model the desired behavior to build trust and credibility. If a politician seeks to encourage people to drink out of a polluted river, he better take the first sip to clear any doubts of double standards. An Indian politician drank a glass of water from a polluted holy river to convince locals that it was safe to drink. His plans backfired when he was airlifted to a hospital a few days later.
Bhagwant Mann, Chief Minister of Punjab, had to visit the emergency. His action had an unintended response and it was not a convincing plea as people understandably did not want to keep him company at the hospital.
Initially, people did praise his willingness to take a sip from the Kali Bein rivulet as it would rest people’s apprehensions regarding water safety. Mann had reporters, local officials and Sikh men support him for leading by example. They were confident in the holy water remaining blissfully unaware of the negative consequence.
Mann’s political party tweeted: “Bhagwant Mann also drank water from the Bein and said that he was blessed to have got this opportunity.”
Ashok Kaura, Deputy Commissioner, stated that the sewage water from nearby towns and villages flows directly into the river of Kali Bein.
The sewage water would explain the severe stomach pain that Mann experienced after drinking the water. His political party denied the link between the water and hospitalization, stating that it was just a regular doctor’s visit. However, hospital sources confirmed that he had been treated for a stomach infection.
Kali Bein is a holy river recognized by the Sikh culture as their founder bathed in it on his road to enlightenment. However, residents should be careful in following a similar path as the search for enlightenment could leave them in pain at the hospital.
Come on spiritual and political leaders, there is nothing divine about nausea and diarrhea.