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Foot in Mouth Disease of our leaders

New Delhi, Sat, 05 Apr 2008 Binita Tiwari

An American sociologist has said, “Words not only affect us temporarily; they change us, they socialize or unsocialize us.” True! Words we speak are the glimpses of our thoughts which we harbour in our mind.

Quite often we hear our leaders uttering blunders and then apologizing for the same. Recently Mahendra Singh Tikait, a leader of Bhartiya Kisan Union made the faux pas by referring Uttar Pradesh chief minister as “chamreen”, a casteist slur during a rally in Bijnore, there by inviting oodles of criticism.

This was followed by a huge drama in which Tikait at first contended the state agency to arrest him by mobilizing his force and later apologises to Mayawati by describing her as his daughter and for the grave mistake he did by uttering such words. He surrendered; he was arrested and then bailed.

Are they just verbal blunders? Or is there a link between the words and our thoughts?

Perhaps difficult to answer … but the words we speak are everlasting, it remains in the atmosphere and derogatory words are not only infectious but can propagate hate culture too.

Did Rahul Gandhi really mean it when he said that if any one from Nehru-Gandhi family would have been in power, Babri demolition, would not have taken place? Or he simply tried to keep his family ahead of the party when he said, “You know that when any member of my family had decided to do anything, he does it. Be it the freedom struggle, the division of Pakistan or taking India to the 21st century.”

But whatever was his motive, he created flutter across the nation and in Pakistan too. His remarks diluted the credibility of his own party Congress, which was in power during Babri demolition.

What to those who don’t do their homework and are naïve to their culture and even could not resist blobbing? Last year, amidst the Sethusamudran Project, the debate was shifted on Ram when DMK supremo M. Karunanidhi, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, misquoted Valmiki and called Ram a drunkard and referred Tulsidas Ramayan, to called Sita as Ram’s sister not wife.

Pratibha Patil too invited controversy who said that purdah system in India evolved to protect women against Mughal invaders, but here she mentioned one fact which is widely preserved among masses.

Yes it is aptly said, “A slip of the foot you may soon recover, but a slip of the tongue you may never get over.”

But Advani in his book My Country, My Life without being thoughtful about it published it irrespective of so many historical blunders including naming the then US Ambassador to India Richard Celeste as Robert Blackwill who was no where in the scene and the reason for Bhagat Singh trial.

In a country like ours where the term democracy is a paranoia and where any casteist remarks is an offence under Prevention of Atrocities Act, where our constitution inspired us to become a pluralist society, how far such so called racial or historical blunders are justified?

Doesn’t it show the chauvinistic and feudal character of a leader, when people like Tikait keeps on making such a blunder? Are not Rahul Gandhi and Advani irresponsible?

But there are also two contexts of the same story one who lend up in trouble without knowing the intensity of what they have uttered and other who court such controversies knowingly to get publicity or appease a particular vote bank. Rahul Gandhi through his continuous blunders projected his family, showed not only his immaturity but also his ignorance that “No family is bigger than party.”

The psychoanalyst says that behind such blunders or slip of tongue there are many reasons as it may be situational or the utterance are just consciously repressed desires which later comes out unconsciously. Many contradicted it and perceived it as a result of inattention or insufficient knowledge.

Charles Brenner, M.D, says “in the mind, as in physical nature around us, nothing happens by chance or in a random way” (Elementary Textbook of Psychoanalysis, New York: Anchor Books).

In a democratic society like ours, people have constitutional right to speak their mind even unthoughtful of it. But, there is a sharp difference between common people and the people, who represents them. The former are less guilt for any public comments, as it does not affect the masses, while the latter are required to bring more accountability to their public utterance, as they have lots of followers behind them, who are ever ready to go any extent.

Read More: Bijnor

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