Why is minister Vijay Goel’s Gandhari-act at blind cricket being called ‘insensitive’
Vijay Goel, the union sports minister, has landed himself in another controversy after he was called a ‘Modern day Gandhari’ for batting blindfolded at the inauguration of a cricketing event for the visually impairedcricket Updated: Feb 01, 2017 09:21 IST
Vijay Goel, the union sports minister, has courted some controversies in his tenure. From almost having his accreditation cancelled in the 2016 Rio Olympics for the ‘rude behaviour’ of his entourage to getting involved in an argument with teenaged Dangal actor Zaira Wasim, Goel has been in the news for all the wrong reasons.
Goel jumped in blind into another controversy during an event to inaugurate the second Twenty20 World Cup for the Blind in New Delhi. The sports minister blindfolded himself and swung a cricket bat with other officials present.
The Press Information Bureau released the photograph, but the Twitter verdict was swift. Goel was trolled for insensitivity towards the visually challenged. Some users dubbed him a ‘Modern day Gandhari’, in reference to the mother of the Kauravas in the epic Mahabharat, who had blindfolded herself as her husband, King Dhritarashtra, was blind.
This gesture did not go down well with people. Here is a sample of some of the tweets against Goel.
Even some prominent individuals took note, slamming the sports minister for his action.
Er. Really. Is this the most sensitivity we can manage? https://t.co/Dv0FKcczv0— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) January 30, 2017
In this Lutyens Kingdom of the Political Blind, one blindfolded is the king! Camera-crazy mantris can be foolish. But this is so insensitive https://t.co/bUot2Fw937— Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) January 30, 2017
Wrong, dear minister. Pl think again. Big difference between a very sensitively done endorsement advt by cricketers & a minister's photo-op https://t.co/eMcHyn4yTv— Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) January 31, 2017
Amidst all the criticism, Goel defended himself and clarified on his official handle.
On the request of @blind_cricket, is it a crime to play with them?— Vijay Goel (@VijayGoelBJP) January 30, 2017
Goel’s list of controversies
Goel’s act at the cricketing event adds to the list of controversies he has been involved in since taking over as Sports Minister. During the 2016 Rio Olympics, he whipped out his phone and clicked a selfie with Manoj Kumar even before the boxer had completed the mandatory dope test or media obligations. This drew intense criticism. The Games organisers threatened to cancel his accreditation for the ‘rude’ behaviour of his aides.
Recently, Dangal star Zaira Wasim, who herself faced social media criticism after meeting Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, sparred with Goel.
The 16-year-old took exception to Goel likening her experiences to that of a Muslim woman breaking free of the veil and societal restrictions. It all began when Goel had tweeted about a painting in an art gallery.
Taking note of the tweet, Wasim stated that he should not have connected her to “such a discourteous depiction”. She also said women in hijab are “beautiful and free”.