“She…can talk brilliantly upon any subject provided she knows nothing about it.”
― Oscar Wilde
Usually, in past, whenever I thought of Smiriti Irani, the image of an Ideal Bahurani or the above quote would conjure up in my mind. However, I respect her as a woman who had struggled hard and risen from the ranks. Few luminaries are there who have reached to the stellar position like her’s in Indian politics on her own. She had no Godfather and she got her entry into higher echelons of power without offending others or rubbing the wrong side of the opposition party leaders. She is sharp and smart and she had always maintained a certain decorum and dignity that is fast disappearing in Indian political culture these days. Her journey from the Small Screen to HRD fortress was not an easy one. Whether she is fit or qualified for her job or not is a question to be put before those who had elevated her to the present status distinguishing her among most of her colleagues. She is facing the constant barrage of ridicule also without losing her composure.
And politically, we are diametrically opposite. I disagree with many of her policies and decisions or orientations. But she is a woman deserving respect as my sister irrespective of her present or past status. She was the one who was bold, brave and had accepted the challenge to fight the election against the formidable resourceful opponent Rahul Gandhi.
I’m shocked to know that the Congress leader Gurudas Kamat while speaking in Rajasthan on Thursday, referred to Irani as a “poncha lagane waali (cleaning woman).” He was questioning the minister’s credentials to hold the charge of the education portfolio. It would serve no purpose if we do a similar job of calling in question the past records of other women or for that matter even the men who were holding the prestigious positions.
Mr. Gurudas Kamat has a long track record of decent politics and it makes me sad that frustration of loss of power would make a senior Congressman talk like a street vandal. Gurudas Kamat is the member of Parliament elected from Mumbai North East constituency in 2009. He is an advocate by profession. He had been representing the coveted Mumbai North East constituency in the Lok Sabha five times (1984, 1991, 1998, 2004, and 2009). He has an MBA degree and is a commerce graduate. He is married also and has a son. In 1976, he was awarded the Principal Wellingkar Trophy for the outstanding Student Award at the R.A. Podar College. He had served as the Minister of State for Home affairs with additional charge of Information Technology and Communications Ministry, Government of India during 2009 to 2011. In July 2011 he resigned as minister.
It is shameful that with such an extraordinary first class background, he was tempted to make a third degree comment. I’m afraid if his outburst against the HRD minister qualifies him as a patient who might be suffering from the psychic disorder known as ED (Emotional Dysregulation). It is a term used to refer to an emotional response that is poorly modulated, and does not fall within the conventionally accepted range of emotive response. ED is also referred as labile mood (marked fluctuation of mood) or mood swings.
There is dignity of labor. A Ponche Wali is as honorable a woman as any CEO or higher that works in top position. Her work can’t be demeaned. Gurdas Kamat expended the term ponche wali to insult Smirti which is unacceptable. The least Mr Kamat could do is to apologize to HRD minister and show that he still respects woman. Mistakes are made and expression of regrets helps to redress and control the damage.
By Naim Naqvi
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