Recently, in an interview with Aaj Tak, Smriti Irani created a storm over a question by Aaj Tak’s political editor Ashok Singhal. I’m reproducing the statements verbatim here and link to the video is at the bottom of the post.
Aaj Tak Political Editor Ashok Singhal: Ek cheez bataiye, vivaad aapke ke saath hai, Narendra Modi ne sabse kam umar ki mantri banaya, aapko HRD jaisa bada portfolio diya, degree ka vivaad, degree aap graduate hai, under graduate hai, lekin kya khoobi lagi aap mein, kya vajay thi.
Smriti Irani: Mahilae mein kya keh rahi hoon thoda dhyaan se sun lijiye, Ashok ji ne mujhe dekhte hue kaha ki, bhai Modi ko aap mein kya khoobi nazar aayi ki aapko mantri banaya
1) mujhe dekhte hue kaha – subtly insinuating that the journalist was staring at her or somehow looking at her in a lewd manner.
2) journo first states the issue of her qualifications, and with respect to that, questioned, on what basis was she made the HRD minister.
I saw many women on my Facebook timeline and Twitter timeline calling the journalists statement a sexist one, how is it so? Would this question be considered sexist if it were posed to a Male minister? Is it not okay to ask someone ki aap mein kya khoobi thi ki aapko Minister banaya? What are your credentials?
Of course, Smriti Irani made this is into a controversial statement, and successfully avoided the original question as to what are her credentials to be the HRD minister.