- Politics and Social Issues»
- India & South Asia Political & Social Issues
Morons and Oxymorons
The knives are out! The new kid on the block is being bullied. Smriti Irani, Minister for Human Resource Development, has come under strident attack by the Congress party. Her fault? Becoming a full-fledged Cabinet Minister, with the Human Resource Development (HRD) portfolio, which covers education despite her being not even a graduate!
Smriti Irani In New Avatar As HRD Minister
What Do The Detractors Expect?
Apparently, the expectation of Smriti's tormentors is that the Minister in charge of education should be highly qualified; the higher the qualification, the better. In any case, graduation should be the the minimum qualification. Anything less makes the person in charge of the ministry a square peg in a round hole; and a square peg in round hole would just not do, just as a round peg in a square hole wouldn't! Therefore, the Prime Minister, who made such a person the minister, is evidently guilty of pulling a fast one on the unsuspecting people!
Operation Attack Smriti
That being the case, Congress leaders have gone hammer and tongs at the errant minister who, they say, has barely completed schooling, for daring to so much as enter the hallowed portals of the HRD Ministry, considered the holiest of the holy among all the ministries.
Fallout of Lowering The Bar
Daring to fight election from the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty's pocket borough of Amethi against the de facto Prime Ministerial candidate of the Congress Party was a bad enough act of political desecration, but to lord over one and all as HRD Minister is stretching it a bit too far, they aver. Enough is enough! After all, the ministry in question had been headed by towering personalities in its days of glory, they wistfully recall. But, to have a "Smriti Who?" who is not even a graduate, at the helm of affairs, is the worst act of political vandalism which only a 'chaiwallah' of a Prime Minister could stoop to. You already have a tea vendor as Prime Minister. Now a non-college-goer as minister in charge of education! What are things coming to, I say!
Dreadful Shape Of Things To Come
With a non-college-goer becoming an education minister, wouldn't our children throw their books away after school and aspire to become the education minister rather than get education from the colleges we have assiduously built, and become eminently unemployable? That jobs are simply not available is another matter. There is already any number of kids, dropping out even from school, with the grand ambition of becoming the best tea vendor in town. Now this!
Strategy to Counter Mediocrity
Smriti is good in play-acting. There is no doubt about it. An ideal daughter-in-law, an ideal wife, an ideal daughter, an ideal mother-in-law.....there is no role of an ideal householder which she has not done with aplomb in TV serials. Now, if she were allowed to act a good HRD minister, there would be no beating her at her game. She would go down the annals of history as the best HRD minister that India has seen. The nation already loves her and can't have enough of her. Look at all those wretched sods who voted for her! Don't they need a de-briefing and a sound education and be taught a lesson? Who else but a highly qualified person could accomplish the onerous task of teaching them the virtues of contentment and self-reliance? Hadn't they already started asking, during the election, for roads, water, electricity, jobs etc? They even asked for clean governance and a talking Prime Minister! Holy smoke! And, look, what it has led to!
Let us, therefore, take damage control measures. Now. Let us first expose Smriti of some evil or wicked act of hers. Hmm...gotcha! She was doing odd jobs like modelling when she should have been in college. Some nerve! What kind of a role model is she to the youngsters? Let us go to town with the revelation that she is a non-graduate. Maybe all those naive voters who fell for her loquaciousness and oratorical skill in several languages with equal ease, thinking she must be at least a graduate, would now feel let down and become disgusted with her! Maybe people would demand repoll not only in Smriti's constituency but all over the nation! You never know!
Smriti Irani's Modeling Days
In Defence of Smriti
BJP lost no time in coming down heavily on Congress for carrying out a personal attack on Smriti, just as the latter did in the case of Mr.Modi before the election. The good lady had been given the HRD portfolio for her qualities and not qualification. There is a subtle difference between qualities and qualification just as between chalk and cheese. If, between chalk and cheese, you choose chalk and compare it with the harried lady's qualities, I must remind you that it is chalk which is used in educational institutions including the college to which Smriti did not go, and not the cheese; should you, however, consider yourself clever and choose to say that your choice is cheese, I must remind you, dear reader, that Smriti is already smiling (It is, in fact, difficult to imagine a Smriti who is not smiling). Chalk or cheese, Smriti scores!
A Confident Smriti
Smriti's Modest Stand
Smriti, on her part, has made a very modest statement (modesty comes naturally to her), 'humbly' requesting one and all, to judge her on the basis of her performance. She didn't have to be too humble about it, as she was only reminding one and all what they should be doing in any case! She also rightly pointed out that extraneous circumstances had been created (by her detractors) to divert her attention from doing her job. She sounded neither sad nor regretful; neither aggressive nor accusatory! She just wanted to be left alone for doing her job. That's Smriti Irani for you!
Smriti In New Avatar
As regards the prickly matter of some discrepancy in her poll affidavits of 2004 and 2014, let it not be forgotten, dear reader, that her affidavit of 2014 was perfectly in order and that's what counts now. The nation is waiting to see what Smriti is going to do in her new role, nay, avatar, under the guidance of Mr.Modi. Nothing succeeds like success. There is no doubt that the winning team of Modi and Smriti will strike gold.
Detractors of Smriti, please, lay off! No matter how well-meaning you are, that is even if you mean well, you are out of sync with the collective imagination of the nation which is in no mood to entertain petty squabbles over imaginary criteria or technical correctness of printed forms (leave the latter to the babudom). Pay heed to former Minister Manish Tewari who lamented the personal attack on Smriti and requested his party men to base their criticisms on substance.
We are deliberately leaving Madhu Kishwar and her tweet regarding Smriti out of this story for a simple reason: how could you call yourself an admirer of Mr.Modi and yet doubt his judgement in the matter of selection of a key Cabinet colleague? Wouldn't that be tantamount to assuming a self-contradictory position, if not an oxymoron? There is evidently no room for morons or oxymorons in India's new political scenario any longer!
© 2014 Kalyanaraman Raman