By Sunil Garodia
Prime Minister Modi covered himself with muck after making insensitive remarks about dyslexia during his interaction with a BTech student at the Smart India Hackathon (SIH). When the student tried to tell him that she was working on a project that will help dyslexic people, Modi interjected to ask whether it will help a ‘child’ between 40 to 50 years of age affected by the condition. The obvious reference was to Rahul Gandhi. When the student replied in the affirmative, he went on to say that “the mother of such children will become very happy”. This has obviously not gone well with those working with dyslexic people. The National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) issued a statement that said it “condemns the disrespectful and insensitive remarks”.
This is what happens when one is always in election mode and fixated on one family or one person and tries to be over smart. It would be interesting to find out if Modi is suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). He is single-handedly responsible for keeping Rahul Gandhi in limelight and giving him more publicity than he deserves. By making Rahul his enemy number one and the subject of ridicule in most of his speeches, Modi has made people forget about his alleged shortcomings and admire his guts for taking on the prime minister. Hence, the results have been the opposite of what Modi sought to achieve. Comparing Rahul to a dyslexic was in extremely bad taste and Modi should apologize to both Rahul Gandhi and thousands of people suffering from dyslexic conditions across the world for his contumelious behavior.
Politics is the spice of life for politicians and their daily bread and butter. But when one holds the high office of the prime minister of the country, one has certain responsibilities that take centre stage. The biggest responsibility is to act like a statesman when interacting with others and differentiate between platforms where one has to be the prime minister and where one can behave like a normal politician. Modi’s problem is that he thinks that all platforms are his political playground. Modi must control the urge to make fun of the Gandhis as every given opportunity. It is making him lose admirers faster than the time it takes him to crack his silly and insensitive ‘jokes’.
The NPRD also said that Modi can be booked under the Rights of Persons with Disability Act, 2016. The law was enacted, ironically, by the Modi government to fulfill India’s obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and makes it illegal to ridicule persons with disabilities. UP minister Satyadev Pachauri became the first politician to be charged under the Act when a complaint was lodged against him for ridiculing a Class IV disabled government employee during a surprise visit to a departmental office in 2017. Modi has clearly landed himself in a soup and the faster he issues an apology the better.