When we concern ourselves with how people talk, we are not worrying about the elegance of their pronunciation or the correctness of their grammar. We are concerned with the adequacy of their language as a "map" of the "territory" of experience being talked about. Mani Shankar Aiyar or for that matter even Sonia Gandhi (Maut ke Saudagar comment) should have known this better. Their business, i.e., politics, is all about words and words and words.
When everyone was predicting a photo-finish in the Gujarat elections, stupidity takes over and we hear Aiyar calling Narendra Modi "a neech.” He goes ahead and tries to defend himself saying Hindi was not his mother tongue. Perhaps, Aiyar speaks better Hindi than most in the country and is not a fool not to know what he is saying. The same Aiyar gave enough ammunition to the BJP campaign calling Modi, a Chaiwallah, fuelling an intense backlash that could have cost the Congress its election. Now too his calling Modi, an OBC, a 'neech' has that potential.
But, whether the differences in perception result in dispute, the breaking of communications, the outcome depends not only on what the speakers said, but even more importantly on their attitudes towards their own utterances. These language habits are a complex exercise. How we talk – whether our language is specific or general, descriptive or inferential or judgmental and our attitudes towards our own remarks – whether dogmatic or open-minded, rigid or flexible will be watched by the ordinary citizens carefully. But, the Congress is known for such vitriol.
It also justifies the criticism that It cannot tolerate any outsider being in power or getting acclaim other than the persons of the Nehru-Gandhi family origin. The extent to which the Digvijay Singhs,' Salman Khurshids, Manish Tiwaris and Aiyars have gone in the display of their naked aggression against the Prime Minister will be unsurpassed. Can they ever explain what respectable post Hafiz Sayed holds to shower honorifics on him?
Even Musharaff would have cribbed at the way the likes of Digvijay drool over Hafiz. It was the same Aiyar who told a Pakistani audience in 2015 that removing Modi was a precursor to peace between the two countries. Gujarat may not like such venom. The discourse in the election-bound State could be, in the end, all about, what an Aiyar of the Congress said about Narendra Modi and what some Congress goons did to a Swaminarayan Cult Guru revered by the Patels. Yes, they may have to regret it very much soon.
Tags: Gujarat elections