Home » national news » Snark is not the same as smart, Smriti ji. Take on problems, not people

Snark is not the same as smart, Smriti ji. Take on problems, not people

Durga M Sengupta | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 10:05 IST

The one word Ekta Kapoor serials are synonymous with is melodrama.

And at the risk of sounding misogynistic, it appears our HRD minister, an erstwhile Balaji Telefilms leading lady, is yet to move out of that mould.

Believe us, Ms Irani, we'd like you to prove us wrong. But each time you lash out at the media when your work or you are questioned, you undermine yourself a little more.

When a journalist asks a question, makes a point or raises a flag about something in your ministry's or your funtioning, it isn't personal.

When a story claims you made over 5,000 recommendations for admissions to the Central Government-run Kendriya Vidyalaya schools, call it out if it's wrong - don't call it out for being asked.

Your position is a professional one. So is a journalist's.

This Twitter exchange, however, isn't.

And when the reporter claimed she had asked your ministry for a response, this response isn't particularly ministerial either:

(2 line response from us and the rest of the version is yours. And even if you didn't respect me, would make no difference.)

Where do I start, Ms Irani?a

As an elected minister, I wish your disdain for a citizen and journalist's questions was more veiled. As head of the country's education ministry, I wish your response were a bit more erudite.

As a Twitter user, I wish you could tell the difference between questioning and trolling.

Yes, people have smirked and often celebrated your sassiness in the past, but while you RT your supporters and celebrate your Twitter 'victory', please know there's nothing cool about snideness.

We understand that your style is to 'give it back', but comebacks that don't fight the case but the person aren't worthy of your position.

As HRD minister, and you know this better than I do, you are the face of education and by association, educated response in this country.

Last week, at the Women in the World summit, you made a comment that "Women are not told what to wear in our country".

You exercised your right to make that problematic remark. Catch exercised our right to report what had occurred.

To which you responded with:

Well played, ma'am.

But repartee is not response. And snide is not substance.

You're a minister in the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the man who brought 'digital' into the government domain - and demonstrated it, by becoming more searched than his Google competitor Sunny Leone.

Social media is a choice. So is standing for government. You've made these choices, and asked to be allowed to do your job.

And as journalists, so are we.

If we're making a claim, please feel free to take it head on, with proof. Your job is to govern, Ms Irani. Our job is to question. We elected you to do your job. Now allow us to do ours.

First published: 23 November 2015, 11:27 IST
Durga M Sengupta @the_bongrel

Feminist and culturally displaced, Durga tries her best to live up to her overpowering name. She speaks four languages, by default, and has an unhealthy love for cheesy foods. Assistant Editor at Catch, Durga hopes to bring in a focus on gender politics and the role in plays in all our interactions.