Political War of Words Breaks Out Over PM Modi's Comment on Dyslexia
Narendra Modi made the impromptu remark while answering a student’s question via video conference during the grand finale of ‘Smart India Hackathon 2019’ at IIT-Kharagpur on Saturday.
PM Narendra Modi speaks during the National Youth Parliament Festival, 2019 Awards function, in New Delhi. (Image: PTI)
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday courted controversy after a video clip showing him cracking a joke on dyslexia, allegedly at the expense of Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi, went viral on the social media.
Modi made the impromptu remark while answering a student’s question via video conference during the grand finale of ‘Smart India Hackathon 2019’ at IIT-Kharagpur on Saturday.
During the interaction, which was streamed live to thousands of students participating in the competition, an engineering student from Dehradun told the Prime Minister about a program that could help dyslexic children who face difficulties in reading and writing.
Introducing her project, the girl said, "We have an idea to help dyslexic children, whose pace of learning and writing is very slow. But they have a high intelligence and creativity level as you have seen in the movie Taare Zameen Par..."
Interrupting the student at this point, Modi asked: "Will this program also work for a 40 to 50 year old child?" When the student replied with a "Yes, it will work,” the PM said: "Then that will make the mothers of such children very happy," he said.
Modi’s remarks drew strong criticism on social media, including by members of the opposition.
“Shameful and distressing. Some of us have dyslexic or disabled relatives, friends, children and parents. Sattar saal mein pehli baar, a person with this crassness occupies the chair of the PM. Enough, Mr Modi. Yeh hain sanskar aapke?” tweeted CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.
Shameful and distressing. Some of us have dyslexic or disabled relatives, friends, children and parents. Sattar saal mein pehli baar, a person with this crassness occupies the chair of the PM. Enough, Mr Modi. Yeh hain sanskar aapke? https://t.co/8wBvtjPy7q— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) March 3, 2019
AAP's national spokesperson Preeti Sharma Menon wrote: “God! When we thought PM Narendra Modi could not go any lower, he manages to stoop. As a parent I do not want my kid to listen to a speaker who'd use dyslexia as a slur and here our Prime Minister uses dyslexia to insult Rahul Gandhi. This is wrong on so many levels.”
God! When we thought @narendramodi cd not go any lower, he still manages to stoop.As a parent I do not want my kid to listen to a speaker who'd use dyslexia as a slur and here our Prime Minister uses dyslexia to insult @RahulGandhi This is wrong on so many levels!!! https://t.co/gQ2IZVvY0m— Preeti Sharma Menon (@PreetiSMenon) March 3, 2019
Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disorders that affects 3-7% people, (traits in upto 17-20%). It is genetic (heritable) that affects reading, writing & hence learning skills but not a marker for intelligence. Poor judgement by the PM to mock a neurological condition pic.twitter.com/lJczhocUYV— Dr. Sumaiya Shaikh (@Neurophysik) March 3, 2019
A member of a lynch mob will be the most likely candidate to mock at dyslexia or any other mental challenge I would really recommend they consult a psychiatrist- especially if they have access to powerful weapons— Sid (@sidmtweets) March 3, 2019
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