In the scorching heat of the election season, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was seen sharing some memories about his personal life and experiences in a conversation with the versatile Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar. Modi recounted how his belonging to a modest background, his hard work as a Gujarat CM and unwavering dedication to the country has played a crucial role in preparing him to assume the office of Prime Minister.
#WATCH PM Modi during interaction with Akshay Kumar, talks about his fashion style, says being careful about his appearance could possibly be psychological reaction to an inferiority complex he felt growing up poor pic.twitter.com/zCVOaAMCY5
— ANI (@ANI) April 24, 2019
In one of the instances in the interview, Modi shares that being from a poor family, he was possibly conditioned to give a psychological reaction to an inferiority complex he felt growing up poor. He explained how he used to wait back after his classes got over and collect the residual chalk pieces that the teacher threw away and use them to whiten his dirty canvas shoes. He also said how he invented an ingenious method to press his clothes with the help of a container in his house and pouring in hot coal in it as his family couldn’t afford the iron.
However, Robert Vadra’s entitled relative Tehseen Poonawalla took this opportunity to ridicule PM Modi’s childhood memories and the travails he faced. Poonawalla derided PM’s explanation of how he cleaned his canvas shoes with the help of chalks claiming that a wet cloth could have been used instead for cleaning the shoes. In addition to this, Poonawalla also took a jibe at PM Modi’s erstwhile profession by claiming that he could have used detergent used for washing ‘chai’ dishes to clean his shoes.
One has to be a really DUMB kid to “clean” white canvas shoes with CHALK!
All you could have done is wet a cloth & use the detergent, used for washing ‘chai’ dishes..But then he complicated stuff from childhood, did nonsense & called it creativity ! Just like #Demonetisation https://t.co/enbJKuhLRm
— Tehseen Poonawalla (@tehseenp) April 24, 2019
Nevertheless, Twitter users were quick to admonish Tehseen Poonawalla for his remark against the poor and middle-class people and pointed out how it is a routine practice for many middle class and poor children to use chalks to whiten shoes and avoid the wrath of the teacher.
Cleaning canvas shows was done with chalk. We did it for our PT shoes all the time. https://t.co/A6jscdelOK
— Arnab Ray (@greatbong) April 24, 2019
We used chalk all the time over PT shoes before assembly because that is when your personal cleanliness was inspected and it was a quick way to escape notice of the teacher..
— Gappistan Radio (@GappistanRadio) April 24, 2019
Twitter users also drew attention to the fact that privileged Congress leaders and supporters who had lived their life with reasonable comfort and had everything at their disposal cannot understand the hardships of the common people who had to slum it up with whatever they can in order to sustain their life.
Pretty boy @tehseenp ‘s tweet today is the most glaring example of @INCIndia ‘s complete disconnect with majority of Indians. Any wonder that it was @narendramodi who had to provide them with basic necessities for subsistance?
— Divya (@divya_16_) April 24, 2019
EVERY child in my school used chalk as a quick fix to spot clean white canvas shoes. We were middle class kids who made one pair of canvas shoes last for 2 years. Maybe privileged kids like @tehseenp with his Richie rich ‘Poonawala uncle’ had staff to clean his multiple shoes https://t.co/F3uRuKWKKx
— Shefali Vaidya ஷெஃபாலி வைத்யா शेफाली वैद्य (@ShefVaidya) April 24, 2019
I had a privileged upbringing thanks to my parents who could afford it. But even in my school, students used to rub chalk on canvas shoes every Saturday because PT teacher used to punish dirty uniformed ones during drill ? https://t.co/MdTT8VfAdA
— Monica (@TrulyMonica) April 24, 2019
If this was not enough, Tehseen Poonawalla also started mocking all those who had used chalks in their childhood to clean their shoes and called all of them dumb. He brazened out his stance defending that chalks are a temporary solution and one has to clean shoes with other measures for hygiene reasons.
All dud ‘Chalk’idars used chalk to “clean” shoes.
NO: chalk does NOT clean shoes ..just makes it look white & then the dust falls off!
Common sense- chalk is for a little time, ultimately one needs to CLEAN shoes for Hygine reasons!
Btw use chalk to make teeth look white ?
— Tehseen Poonawalla (@tehseenp) April 24, 2019
Tehseen’s rant on Twitter against Modi’s use of chalk to whiten his shoes not only smacks off his elitist snobbery but it also shows his unmitigated contempt for the poor who had no means but to use chalks to avoid the ignominy of wearing an untidy pair of shoes and cannot match up the privileged students in his/her class who can buy a new pair of shoes as per their will.
Congress leaders and their entitled relatives have often displayed unapologetic disdain for the poor and their means for survival and subsistence. Mani Shankar Aiyyar had derisively mocked PM Modi as a chaiwala and declared that a chaiwala should do his job of serving tea instead of dreaming of becoming the PM of the country. He also made a casteist remark on PM Modi by calling him ‘Neech’.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi had painted an entire class of ‘Watchmen’ as thieves through his jibe for which he is facing a contempt notice from the Supreme Court.
Instead of empathising with the poor and addressing their problems to pacify their sufferings, Congress leaders and their ecosystem bards like Tehseen Poonawala are busy mocking them for their abject situation by rubbing salt on their wounds. The elitist mindset of Congress leaders conditions their thought process so much that a simple act of a poor child’s attempt to make his shoes look whiter and newer draws their disdain and mockery.
The lack of connection and contemptuous apathy towards the efforts and struggles of the poor is reflected in Congress from the very top too. Priyanka Gandhi, in one of her statements, had stated that from matchbox to missiles, everything India has, is a gift from Congress.
The Congress leaders and their supporters, in their drive to throw Modi out of power, have shown shocking apathy towards the sentiments of the poor and the underprivileged. With the recent remarks made by Robert Vadra’s relative and an ardent Congress supporter, Tehseen Poonawalla, it is evident that Congress has never sought to understand the poor and it never will.