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Anjuly Mathai
Anjuly Mathai

Unscientific temper

Satyapal and Darwin: Will motormouth netas ever learn about their portfolios?

satyapal-singh-adityanath-twitter Satyapal Singh (left) with UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath | Satyapal Singh's Facebook account

Minister of State for Human Resource Development Satyapal Singh says Darwin’s theory of evolution finds no mention in our ancient texts and hence it never took place.

“No person has ever mentioned in writing in our nana-nani tales that he (Darwin) went anywhere into the jungles and witnessed an ape transform into a human,” Satyapal said.

“This has not been written anywhere. Darwin’s story is scientifically wrong, so we should not be teaching that in our schools or colleges. Humans appeared on earth as humans, right from the beginning and man will always remain a man.”

Indian politicians have a history of putting their feet in their mouth. Remember the time former health and family welfare minister Ghulam Nabi Azad talked about providing electricity to villages to curb the nation’s population growth by diverting people’s attention to the television instead of sex? Or the time Mulayam Singh Yadav said, “Boys will be boys, they commit mistakes” to exonerate three gang-rape accused from facing the death penalty?

Our netas seem to be lacking some kind of impulse control mechanism (a term occasionally used by psychiatrists to denote a mental health problem) that prevents them from holding their tongues in check. But what is really dangerous is when they exhibit their ignorance about the portfolios they are in charge of. Like the time when former Union sports minister Vijay Goel wished track and field athlete Srabani Nanda luck at the Rio Olympics 2016 on social media using the image of another athlete, Dutee Chand!

Or the time when Tarun Vijay, BJP’s former Rajya Sabha member and president of the India-Africa Parliamentary Friendship Group, referred to south Indians as “blacks” while responding to violence against a group of Africans in Greater Noida.

“If we were racist, why would we have all the entire south (India) which is… you know Tamil Nadu, you know Karnataka and Andhra… why do we live with them? We have black people all around us,” he said.

In 2017, while responding to the controversy surrounding the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS) in Patna asking employees to declare their virginity, Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey said there was nothing objectionable in that because “virgin means unmarried.”

Minister of Law and Justice and Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad, too, was caught with egg on his face in January last year when he got his figures wrong while tweeting about success of the e-NAM (National Agricultural Market) portal launched by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ welfare to help farmers.

Shouldn’t our ministers be informed about their portfolios? Lawmakers cannot afford to get their facts wrong or hold regressive opinions about the subjects under their control because, as clichéd as it sounds, the fate of the nation rests with them. We often laugh off their mistakes, not taking them seriously. Maybe we can do that with one blunder, or even two. But what about repeat offenders like Satyapal?

Earlier, he had commented that IIT students be taught about Shivkar Bapuji Talpade, “the Indian who invented the aeroplane much before the Wright brothers” and about Pushpak Vimaan, the flying chariot mentioned in the Ramayana. He also opined that no boy will want to marry a girl who comes to her wedding wearing jeans.

I wonder why our politicians make such outrageous statements. Indians can only hope it’s because of the politicians' desperate need to grab eyeballs and stay in the limelight. Because the alternative would be that they actually believe everything that comes out of their mouths. In which case, we have to fear for the future of our nation.

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