Indian mother won’t let our youth tread IS path, says Irani

“God bless the Indian mother, for she is the rock on which salvation lies for our country,” Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani told journalist Tina Brown when she was asked if she thought unemployment and lack of opportunity in India might trigger the same anger that led to the violence in Paris.

The two were speaking at a session of Women in the World, a global summit on women’s concerns, challenges and triumphs. Speaking on why she thought Indian youth won’t tread the ISIS path, she said: “I think that in India, we have the cornerstone of the mother, who inspires us to soak in anger and use it productively. I think every mother sitting here has a story to share channelising the anger of her child to a more creative direction.”

It was when she said that Indian women are not told what to wear that the audience started booing. “In India, I don’t think any woman is dictated about what to wear and how to be,” she said. When some in the audience booed, she added, “I am not, and I don’t come from a celebrated family.”

Later, responding to a tweet from Catch News- “That awkward moment when @smritiirani got booed on stage”—she tweeted: “that awkward moment when those who claim free speech not possible openly boo n get a calm response:).” She added: “True reflection of tolerance in my country, even a Minister can get booed while speaking her personal beliefs.”

Two people, she said, had harnessed her ambition to make a difference— Ekta Kapoor, who gave her the role of Tulsi, and PM Narendra Modi, of whom she was “fiercely critical” at one point.

Irani recalled a meeting with Modi. “He said, ‘see my work and then tell me what kind of administrator I am’. I am a living example of Mr Modi’s capacity to forgive. I am a living example of his capacity to recognise talent. I was just a youngster in politics, there was no reason to give me an opportunity,” she said.


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