Union Minister Smriti Irani had last week faced incessant trolling after she posted a photo with her party colleague and BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra. Both had bumped into each other while travelling to Lucknow, Irani had revealed. Days later, Union Textiles Minister is back in news for a reported comments, allegedly questioning Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s manhood and appreciating BJP President Amit Shah’s ‘manhood.’
This was after Kolkata-based newspaper, The Telegraph, reported a news item on her comments with a headline ‘Smriti questions Rahul ‘manhood’.’ The report by The Telegraph went on to add, “Irani, who had lost to Rahul in Amethi in 2014, compared the Congress chief’s purusharth unfavourably with that of Amit Shah.”
Irani, according to the paper, had said, “(BJP) ke adhyaksh apne purusharth se bane hain; Rahul Gandhi apni mata ke ashirwad se Congress ke adhyaksh bane hain (The BJP president earned his post through his manhood, Rahul Gandhi got his thanks to his mother’s blessings).”
The translation of purusharth as manhood by The Telegraph caused a huge controversy on social media with Irani’s supporters calling it a deliberate attempt to vilify the union minister. One user Pallavi Singh wrote, “I had my doubts when I read this. If she said “पुरुषार्थ”, it means, a man’s own hard work and whatever he attains owing to his hard work. पुरसत्तव = manhood.” Another urged the newspaper to google the meaning of purusharth.
Critics of Irani slammed her for questioning Rahul Gandhi’s ‘manhood’ as one user Punster wrote, “After Sambit Patra questioned Rahul Gandhi’s gotra, Smriti Irani questions his manhood. 3 days ago, Irani had tweeted an in-flight photo with Patra, saying that they were both headed in the same direction. Well, she went a step further.”
Manhood in Hindi means purushatva, while purushartha is often used in the context of efforts.
The minister has not yet responded to the Telegraph headline. The newspaper had famously declared her Aunty National in 2016 in a clever pun on the much-maligned word Anti-National.
Irani had lost to Gandhi in 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Amethi.