oppn parties Neecha or Neech: Mani Shankar Aiyar's Howler

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  • Special DG (Training) in CRPF, S N Shrivastava, appointed special commissioner (law & order) in Delhi Police in order to quell the violence. He is also expected to take over as chief of Delhi police once Amulya Patnaik's term ends on February 29
  • Curfew and shoot at sight orders reportedly in force in some areas, but Delhi Police HQ does not issue a notice for the same
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  • 13 people deal until now in one of the worst spells of violence in Delhi
  • Violence in Delhi shows no signs of abating with fresh areas in the north-eastern part of the capital coming under its grip
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  • Arms deal for advanced helicopters, worth $3bn, signed with the US, but the trade deal remains elusive
  • Trump says he has a good equation with Pak PM Imran Khan and assures India that Pakistan is working to reduce cross border terrorism
  • Trump once again offers to mediate in the Kashmir issue
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  • US President Donald Trump says PM Modi wants religious freedom for all
  • US President Donald Trump lands in Ahmedabad, received at the airport by Prime Minister Modi
  • US President Donald Trump to land in India today
Continuing violence in Delhi takes the sheen off the visit by US President Donald Trump
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Neecha or Neech: Mani Shankar Aiyar's Howler

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2017-12-07 19:33:20

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
This was not expected from the suave Mani Shankar Aiyar. Calling the Prime Minister of the country neech is a strict no-no, even by the abysmal standards of Indian political discourse. The explanation that he gave about meaning low, or neecha, and confusing it with low-born, or neech as he is not familiar with the intricacies of the Hindi language doesn’t wash, as someone with Aiyar’s academic background should not use words he doesn’t understand.

When asked about his offending remark Aiyar is first reported to have retorted as “Why was PM taking a jibe at Congress and Rahul Gandhi at inauguration of a Centre on Baba Saheb Ambedkar? Every day, PM is using foul language against our leaders. I am a freelance Congress person and I hold no post in the party, so I can respond to the PM in his language.” Does this mean that there will be more gutter language from him in future?

Mercifully, the office of Rahul Gandhi got into the act quickly and asked Aiyar to apologize. In a tweet, Rahul said “BJP and PM routinely use filthy language to attack the Congress party. The Congress has a different culture and heritage. I do not appreciate the tone and language used by Mr Mani Shankar Aiyer to address the PM. Both the Congress and I expect him to apologise for what he said.” Aiyar apologized promptly by saying “I meant 'low level' when I said 'neech'.. If it has some other meaning, then I apologise.”

Obviously, the BJP has gone to town to make political capital out of Aiyar’s offensive remark. They have called it “feudal arrogance” and "darbari soch.” The PM tweeted “they can call me 'Neech'- Yes, I am from the poor section of society and will spend every moment of my life to work for the poor, Dalits, Tribals and OBC communities. They can keep their language we will do our work.”

It seems that Aiyar’s remark may backfire. While there are no neech people, people who are often referred to as such by the likes of Aiyar will take immediate offence to what he said. Now, more than ever, they will be inclined to accept Modi as one of their own and may even vote for him despite ‘social engineering’ by the Congress. Even as sections of the media were saying that the BJP lead was vanishing, Aiyar’s remark may widen the gap once again.

pic courtesy: ndtv.com