Things turned out to be a little ugly when Prime Minister Narendra Modi ended up mocking dyslexic students in an impromptu attempt to take a dig at Congress president Rahul Gandhi. The incident took place on March 2nd when the PM was answering a student’s question via video conference during the finals of the Smart India Hackathon at IIT Kharagpur.
Dyslexia is born of neurobiological differences in the brain’s wiring and structure, and even that it has a genetic component. In fact, there has been growing recognition around the world that it is not a ‘learning disability’ but a ‘learning difference’.
In India, dyslexia is thought to affect up to 18% of primary school children
During the video conference, a student from Dehradun started to introduce her project, which she said was based on the idea of how dyslexic children can be very creative despite facing learning difficulties. During the explanation, the PM reportedly interjected and asked whether it would also help children who are 40-50 years old.
When the student said yes, Modi responded, “The mothers of such children will be very happy in that case.”
His comments have apparently not gone down well as many users took to Twitter to register their outrage at the prime minister’s insensitive and thoughtless remarks.
Tamil television anchor and sports commentator, Sumanth C. Raman tweeted:
Leonardo Da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso, Lee Kuan Yew, Alexander Graham Bell, Tom Cruise, and many great men & women were all believed to be dyslexic & look what they made of their lives. Mocking differently abled people marks a new low in our political discourse.#Dyslexia
While another account with a username @how_do_u_cross remarked:
A 68-year-old man who spelled it STREANH on an international platform just joked about #Dyslexia.
The Streanh controversy comes from the PM's visit to China.