It’s not always easy to have a way with words. However, our leaders often do; when a subtle statement relays messages better than imagined or different than expected. Bollywood-like statements are also one way to do so.
Recently, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, commenting on India-US ties in the perspective of the ongoing war in Ukraine, and the country’s relations with Russia, said, ‘a friend can be weak, but a friend can’t be weakened’.
Her statement was interpreted as a defence for India, as the West has recently raised objections on the country’s purchase of oil and weapons from Russia. She added that India could not ‘change its location’ and said its geographical location had ‘got to be understood.’ Foreign Affairs Minister Jaishankar has also defended India with similar hard-hitting, thought-provoking responses. Other Ministers too have ignited varied reactions from their statements. Taking a look at some from the past:
Jaishankar: ‘Even India Is Concerned About Human Rights in America’
S Jaishankar’s strong rebuttal to the US on its criticism of “human rights abuses” in India at a joint news conference after the 2+2 dialogue had recently turned heads. A day after defending India’s Russian oil import with a savage response, Jaishankar had on April 14 guarded the country in his fierce way as he responded criticism of human rights abuses and said even New Delhi has concerns about human rights in America.
“We also take our views on other people’s human rights situation, including that of the United States. So, we take up human rights issues when they arise in this country, especially when they pertain to our community. And in fact, we had a case yesterday that’s really where we stand on that,” Jaishankar said.
And when the United States had told India that buying Russian energy is not in its interest, S Jaishankar was quick to remind US media persons present in Washington that the US should extend similar suggestions to its allies in western Europe who are more dependent on Russia than India.
“If you’re looking at energy purchases from Russia, I’d suggest your attention should be on Europe. We buy some energy necessary for our energy security. But I suspect, looking at figures, our purchases for the month would be less than what Europe does in an afternoon,” Jaishankar had said.
Sitharaman’s Quip on India-US Ties
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, spoke of Washington-New Delhi ties in the context of India’s geography on Friday, emphasising that “a friend cannot be weak.” “You can choose your friend but not your neighbour,” the finance minister said, explaining that “India does not have a relocation option” and that the country must take a “calibrated stance.” Her remarks came amid questions about India’s purchases of weapons and oil from Russia, which has been sanctioned by the international community for its role in the Ukraine conflict.
“This recognition that there is a friend, but that friend’s geographical location is got to be understood. And a friend cannot be weakened for any reason. Geographical appreciation of where we are located…northern borders being under tension even despite Covid, the western border constantly at odds and sometimes even the equipment’s given to meet the terrorist issues in Afghanistan being diverted to hit at us these developments nobody can have an alternative,” said the finance minister.
‘Not Bad to Earn Money, But Don’t Burp It All Up’: UP Jal Shakti Minister
UP Jal Shakti Minister Swatantra Dev Singh, who reached Jhansi on Saturday to know the ground reality of departmental schemes, reportedly got furious at the officers. During the inspection of the canal, when he did find the work satisfactory, he reprimanded the engineer of the irrigation department. The minister told the officers ‘that earning money is not a bad thing, but burping all the money is a bad thing’.
Sunny Deol’s Tareek pe Tareek, 2.5-Kilo ka Hath
In 2020, Sunny Deol, the BJP’s Gurdaspur MP, delivered his famous ‘tareek pe tareek’ dialogue in Hisar. During an election campaign in Haryana, the Bollywood actor also used his ‘2.5-kilo ka hath’ dialogue. Sunny was speaking in support of Captain Abhimanyu.
Azam Khan’s Benign ‘Crime’
SP leader Azam Khan, who had come to seek bail in 2019, delivered a slew of Bollywood-worthy lines. “I am a criminal. Many cases, the government has filed. I have come to seek bail,” he had proclaimed. Detailing his efforts in the field of education, and medical education, Khan said, “Mazdooro ko bees rupay main padata hu, yeh mera gunah hai’ (I teach labourers in Rs 20, that’s my crime.)
Shatrughan Sinha ‘Khamoshes’ Oppn With Asansol Win
The actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha won a landslide victory in the Asansol parliamentary constituency bypoll recently. He reiterated his famous Bollywood dialogue ‘Khamosh’ after his win.
— Tamal Saha (@Tamal0401) April 16, 2022
Sinha stated after the massive victory, “Previously, ‘Khela Hobe’ with EVMs occurred in some places, but here, free and fair elections were held without fear. TMC, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, and the people of Asansol deserve credit for this victory. I’ve never seen such an outpouring of support and love.”
Lalu Yadav’s ‘Bhains Jibe’
In an old video of an election rally, RJD leader Lalu Yadav said, “woh suna “yadavaon ko bhains tak nahi patak paayi, aur ye narendra modi patkega? (even a bull cannot defeat Yadavs, Narendra Modi hopes to do so?’.The clip seems of be have been shot before the 2014 polls but News18 could not verify the exact date of the speech.
The Pursuit of Happiness by Nitin Gadkari
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari made news in 2021 when he said in a viral video that no politician is ever happy, and that even if he becomes Chief Minister, he is always concerned about how long his win will last.
“MLAs weren’t happy as they couldn’t become ministers, ministers were unhappy as they couldn’t get good departments, those with good departments were unhappy as they could not become Chief Minister and the Chief Minister is worried as he/she doesn’t know for how long they’ll continue,” he had said.
‘Thappad Se Darr Nahi Lagta’: Maha CM’s Jibe
In 2021, a veiled attack on the BJP, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said the language of intimidation will not be tolerated and a befitting reply will be given to those speaking it. He made the statement in the wake of BJP legislator Prasad Lad’s reported remarks that if needed, the Shiv Sena Bhavan, the headquarters of Thackeray-led party in central Mumbai, would be demolished. However, he had later retracted the remarks and expressed regret saying they were presented out of context by the media.
Speaking at the inauguration of the BDD Chawls redevelopment project here, Thackeray had referred to his three-party Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) dispensation as a triple seat government (with NCP and Congress being the other constituents).
Recalling a dialogue from Hindi blockbuster Dabangg – Thappad se dar nahi lagta (not scared of being slapped) – the chief minister said, “nobody should speak the language of slapping us as we will give back such a tight slap that the other person will not be able to get back on his feet.”
Rajnath Singh’s ‘Sporting’ Response to Akhilesh’s Jibe
During the full throttle of the UP elections, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav had said, “Baba Mukhyamantri cricket khel sakte hai kya, bowling kar sakte hai kya” (can a monk CM play cricket? Can he bat? Can he ball?), in a jibe at Yogi Adityanath.
While Adityanath did not respond himself, Defence minister and senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh, retorted on his behalf, “yogi ji ki in-swinger and out-swinger ke age koi tik nahi payega” (Nobody can stand a chance against in- swinger and out-swingers of Yogi Ji).
‘Bantacruz’ Jibe by Hardeep Singh Puri
In 2021, commenting on the Navi Mumbai airport construction, Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri took to Twitter and shared a screenshot of a tweet by actress Suchitra Krishnamurthi. In 2019, she proposed that the airport be named like the famous ‘Santa-Banta’ joke.
“Banta wrote a letter to the Aviation Minister: Sir, it is my humble request that the new airport in Navi Mumbai be named ‘Bantacruz’ since my brother already has one airport named after him. Santacruz,” she said in a tweet.
Despite the fact that it was an old tweet, this piqued Puri’s interest. He captioned the screenshot, ” “Many requests are received by the Ministry of Civil Aviation for the naming and renaming of existing and under construction airports. To lighten the mood, I’d like to inform my friend Banta that we have yet to receive his formal proposal!”
Smriti Irani’s Impeccable Meme Response
Union Minister Smriti Irani in 2019 had delighted social media users with her response. Irani had taken to Instagram to share a meme of the IAF pilot’s famous response to the Pakistani army when he was apprehended. When asked to reveal details about his operation, he said, “I’m sorry, I’m not supposed to tell you this,” and the statement quickly went viral.
Irani gave it a humorous twist in the form of a meme, and it is caused quite a stir on the internet.
The Wing Commander can be seen in the savage meme passing a chit to Pakistan with his famous line written on it. Irani’s Instagram followers were in stitches after she shared the meme.