I would love share my blog called “Open Letter to Smriti Irani” for publication. The text of the blog is below:
Dear Smriti Irani,
I may disagree, disprove, vehemently and ruthlessly condemn you for your policies, yes, I did question the government’s decision to give you the position of a HRD Minister, I wondered shouldn’t it be reserved for more erudite, somebody with more degrees definitely!
And today you have put many educated women with a string of degrees to shame! What a retort not only to that Minister in Bihar but also from Priyanka Chaturvedi to Barkha Dutt of NDTV. It was the first time I heard the usually confident Ms. Dutt fumble and it did bring a broad grin to my face.
Without getting into the right or wrong of what you said, the fact that you said was enough for me.
How many women today dare to speak their minds? Rather I should re-phrase it to how many people? How many of us just sit back, watch quietly, enjoy and entertain ourselves when others get humiliated, are called names for what they stand for, bullied cruelly for their gender or points of view, on social media or otherwise. We refuse to shed our niceties and courtesies, let go of our comfort zones, lest we sound offensive and controversial often forgetting that tomorrow they could be on the other side, the butt of insults and jokes and then they would be left alone to face the music.
You are punished time and again for not having a degree or not having enough of them. Yet you continued to ignore and focus on what you were hired to do, which is your day to day work as a HRD Minister, and the results are evident as you pointed out in your face book post today! People who admonish you should remember that one of finest economists in India unfortunately failed to deliver as a leader and Prime Minister what you and Modi have done sans decorative qualifications and that fine English “accent”.
Today after many years, wearing my badges and diplomas in a faraway Seattle, doing a decent job in one of the top companies in the world, I feel gratified when the Prime Minister of my nation gets multiple standing ovations and when a prominent woman minister shows the grit to counter the pseudo seculars and intellectuals on mainstream television with sheer wit and facts.
I am an outspoken girl, I know how it feels when they tell you it’s “unwomanly” to answer back, to argue, to have strong opinions, when they accuse of stirring the hornet’s nest, creating controversies when all you are doing is just defending yourself from provocative attacks on your points of view and ideologies which you hold close, or many a times just speaking up for the right. I hear you Ms. Irani, when they say that the “epitome of womanhood” is to renunciation of all faculties to think, reason, decipher and judge.
It is not the words used that hurt as much but it is what is implied, what is hidden in between those lines, their misogyny, their bigotry, their notions of superiority, their intolerance, their ignorance that stings.
Sometimes it is important to give back to your detractors, to tell them that they have been unfair.
Recently Kangana Ranaut, another strong woman remarked in one of her television interviews that “success is the best revenge”. Yes, actions speak the loudest but words are also powerful lest they do not mistake your silence as consent, your humility as stupidity, your politeness as meekness, and they end up feeling emboldened rather ashamed, assuming that if they can get away this time, they can get away all the time. These are the same people who think interpret a woman’s “No” as “Yes”, her diffidence and shyness as assent, her modesty as a pretense. So here’s to you Ms. Irani and in your words “those girls walking with their heads down, look up and speak up; those women cracking the whip in their offices and asking their counterparts to finish the work assigned in the time frame prescribed, lead on…”
By Twisha Chandra