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Somewhere in its lost property pits the government of india might still be resting a bulky file on pan masala. When ashok kumar and shammi kapoor joined hands to promote its sale. Nirman bhawan-the HQ of the ministery of health and family welfare-went on fire.
SHAMMY KAPOOR comes to the house of ashok kumar along with wife.Asok kumar’s daughter to be married to shammy kapoor’s son. The kumars think that the kapoors had come with a fresh demand for dowry.Hamein kuch nahi chahiye ,shammy asures ashok kumar , ‘’ All that we want is that you should greet the barat with paan masala.’’
Life returns to ashok kumar , as well as to his wife. Asok kumar takes a tin of paan masala from his pocket,laughs heartly,and tells shammy, ‘’I never knew that , like me, you, too,are terribly sold on paan masala.’’
That little ad. On TV caused a big jump in the sale of pan masala. And this was causing concern all round. For it was known that chewing pan masala was as injurious to health as was cigarette-smoking. Numerous public spirited organizations had come out with studies making that point. And there was a widepapread demand that paan masala should be banned.
What should be banned? What should be promoted? And what should not be? In the GOI , ther are numerous committees that take care of all such matters. Some are statutory, some non statutory: some high power, some with no power: some standing: some sitting: pleeping. In the health ministry, they have a technical committee with the director general health services as chairman and all the luminaries under him as well as in the ICMR as distinguish members.
That committee , met a number of times and took the view that not withstanding opposition from the pan masala fraternity, the darned thing should be banned forthwith.
But, then, as good old shakespear says in Halmet. ‘’ there are more things in heavens and on earth , oh hortio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’’ The committee failed to take cognizance of two formidable factors. One , a bloke callledmarketing executive who had come from the marketing field and was responsible for marketing health , whatever that means. And two, a gentleman called Mantriji , who was on the west of terms with the ME. Both of them were known to be great believers in marketing hay while the sun shines.
So paan masala was never banned. Its sale continues to go up. What happened to the file on it? That is more than I can tell. All that I can say is that those were the days when , as now, india was having too much of democracy and many people in a number of ministries did not know who their latest minister was.



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