It has been reported that Mani Shankar Aiyer (MSA) called BJP’s PM candidate a “chaiwala” and stated that Modi can sell tea outside AICC meeting. The huge controversy that erupted after his statements raises many questions on the present standard of many politicians. This clearly shows how low our politicians can stoop to get some brownie points or to provoke the opposition camps.
Though MSA claims that media has distorted his statement, we cannot deny the reference to a “chaiwala” as a derogatory statement. And this is not the first time Modi has been referred to as a “chaiwala”.
Does MSA or all those who call Modi a “chaiwala” mean to say that the profession is derogatory?
The name calling and personal attacks on political opponents has become a part of the political speeches regularly. Instead of focusing on the issues concerning national interest, the politicians have found it very convenient to attack their opponents by calling names. Mocking opponents by making derogatory remarks has become a norm. and the worst part is, such statements are applauded by audience and received by the followers of these politicians with great awe.
There is an outrage on Mani Shankar’s statements on social media and Mainstream Media. And it is justified as long as people are not hypocrites. We need to remember that MSA is not the first politician to indulge in name calling.
I would like to draw your attention to the following facts:
1. Subramanian Swamy repeatedly refers to Rahul Gandhi as Pappu, Buddhu etc on Twitter and his speeches. He refers to Sonia Gandhi as a Italian waitress (yes, he claims that SG was a waitress before marrying Rajiv)
2. Narendra Modi had called the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a night Watchman in one of his speeches. Narendra Modi mocks Rahul Gandhi and his family by calling him Shehzada or Prince etc.
3. And the controversy that erupted after Modi tried to draw an analogy between muslims and a puppy can never be forgotten
5. In response to Modi’s name calling, he was called “Feku” (for his lies or distortion of history) and “Saheb” (in reference to the stalk-gate) by people from Congress Camp.
So, the name calling is not something done by only one camp. Its everywhere. Its done by both Congress and BJP. Those who haven’t outraged in the past when people from BJP camp indulged in name calling have no right to outrage now.
This raises a question: What makes a profession dignified? Is it the money that the profession generates or the work that the profession involves?
I think being ‘a chaiwala’ is as dignified as being a Prime Minister or a Member of Parliament. Mocking Modi by calling him a ‘chaiwala’ is like insulting all those tea vendors across India/globe who struggle day and night to feed their kids/family and educate them. No politician should be allowed to mock a member from the lowest strata of our society just because it suits his political misadventures.
The only profession that is not dignified is “Manual Scavenging” that is prevalent across India. In a reply to my RTI that I filed last month with Ministry of Social Justice, it was revealed that we have a total of 7,70,338 manual scavengers in India. Out of these, 4,27,870 have been rehabilitated and 3,42,468 are yet to be rehabilitated. I am attaching state wise stats for the same here.
The summary of the response to my RTI is here:
1) Top 3 states in terms of the manual scavengers who still need to be rehabilitated : Gujarat : 52,542, Maharashtra: 45,699, Rajasthan: 43,567
2) A budget for 100 crores was set aside but the states never requested for these funds, so only 20 crores was spent and that too to conduct the survey of manual scavengers
3) The rehabilitation program includes self employment projects where project costs vary from 25,000 to 5,00,000 each
We as Indians, should be ashamed that we were able to send rockets to Moon & Mars but we were not able to pull out poor manual scavengers out of their horrible plight. It reflects on our priorities and our social backwardness.
Its high time we start asking serious questions to ourselves: Do we need politicians who indulge in cheap mockery of each other instead of debating on national issues? Do we need politicians who can stoop low to mock the poor?
Or, do we need statesmen who can behave properly in public and focus on resolving issues concerning national interest.
Your choice decides how this country moves forward.