Giriraj Singh said something gross. He said that if Sonia was an African rather than a European she wouldn’t be the leader of congress. He said it in a typical dehati uncouth way, too. It might be true, but a politician has no business talking about the physical attributes of a lady across the aisle. He was condemned, and rightly. That it was a private meeting is no excuse. A politician should know that there is no such thing as private anymore.
But the attacks on Smriti Irani have crossed all lines. First let’s admit a few things. She is aggressive. Even off-puttingly so at times. She is full of bluster and she revels in scoring points when questioned, rather than giving the answers. Also, this bluster is not backed by a record of achievements that makes it okay.
None of this excuses the vile attacks in public. Congress youth president asks her “kya dikhai kalaa jo Modi hue deewane” on Twitter. In public. Meant to insult. Another politico calls her a “TV pe thumke lagane wali”. Then a journalist asks her sneeringly what does she think Modi sees in her. Really? You have the gall to ask that to a central minister just because she happens to be a woman?
Why does the media let some get away with the worst insinuations and sexism? Well it depends on the target, of course. Any Right-wing girl is fair game. Especially if she rose too fast for media’s taste. Things are so bad that even women on the right, who are generally sympathetic to BJP pick on her. (Looking at you, Madhu Kishwar)
Smriti Irani is in politics since 2003. She is an ambitious, sharp lady. She loves taking on challenges. Just compare her to the post-fame career of other TV actresses. Look at all other actors, film + TV combined, and you will not find anyone else with even a fraction of commitment, or wit. This lady has made a place, and thats just unpalatable to those who can’t bear that a lady, much less an actress can achieve things they can only dream of.
When she appears sharp, and takes no nonsense, when she stays involved in Amethi even after losing, when she makes life hard for the self proclaimed stalwarts of academia, attacks begin. #SmritiFakeDegree is trending today on twitter. There was a mistake in filing her papers in 2004. Thats the entirety of the case. The form was filled correctly since then. She didn’t submit a fake degree, never claimed he education qualifies her for the job. Education and ministerial office have hardly any relation anyway.
Do you remember any such scrutiny of any previous ministers? I don’t. Do you remember young journalists like Anjana Kashyap openly sneering and being aggressive towards any minister in past? I don’t. Have you seen any self proclaimed feminists coming to her defence? No her sins are much greater than just her education, or the lack of it. She is guilty of being a successful, aggressive woman on the right. She will always be seen as wrong.