Heads of State, Prime Ministers, Ministers and public figures are all known to have their ‘Oh My God! or OMG’ moments when they have let slip something they shouldn’t have. Sometimes, it’s just a slip, but many a times, it’s also ignorance that gets them all the attention that they could well do without. The world has seen from time-to-time hilarious moments that have got picked out and highlighted in the media and the world has had a laugh at the cost of these public figures. And our very own Prime Minister Narendra Modi has had quite a few such moments!
At Facebook Headquarters
His latest ‘OMG’ moment was during his recent high profile trip to the US this September and it happened during his much publicised visit to Facebook’s headquarters. Just as his interaction with Mark Zuckerberg and the visitors got over, both rose up and were speaking to a lady while camera persons were trying to click a picture of Modi.
Since Zuckerberg was blocking a clear view to the cameramen, Modi brushed Zuckerberg aside to pose for the cameras, much to Zuckerberg’s embarrassment. Since it was telecast live, audiences globally picked up the ‘OMG’ moment and it went viral on social media with much discussion on Narendra Modi’s obsession with himself, something the opposition back home has been accusing him of.
And this one happened during the historic visit to the UAE this August, when PM Modi met Crown Prince of UAE, HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. What was to be a perfectly normal ‘hug’ reserved for the warmest greeting in the Middle East, got everyone’s imagination running wild on what ‘was’ and what ‘could have been’ between the two leaders!
The moment was captured and social media, at its creative and scandalous best, went viral with all forms of imaginative interpretations and all at the cost of two perfectly innocent leaders who were merely trying to bridge the gulf between two nations!
This wasn’t his first. Way back in December 2013 when he was still a Prime Ministerial candidate, he created quite a stir in J&K when he spoke of a need for debate on Article 370 and whether it actually benefitted the people. This remark at a public rally raised the hackles of almost all the political parties from the valley and the press took it up in a big way. It turns out that the reference apparently was towards the denial of property rights to local Kashmiri women who marry non-Kashmiris. He spoke about how the women were not treated equally. The debate on Article 370 was meant towards this rather than abrogation of Article 370. This was another ‘OMG’ moment that he could have done without.
As the CM
In yet another gaffe, in one of his earlier speeches, prior to the Article 370 one, he had committed another blunder when he mentioned Jana Sangh’s founder Shyama Prasad Mukherjee’s name in lieu of the Gujarati freedom fighter Shyamji Krishna Varma while referring to the return of his ashes to India 2003 from Switzerland where his ashes were kept after his death in 1930. Narendra Modi had received the ashes as the CM of Gujarat when it was returned to India. Therefore, his confusing Shyama Prasad Mukherjee with Shyamji Krishna Varma was indeed surprising and it did embarrass his party big time.
History doesn’t seem to be Narendra Modi’s strong point. In several similar ‘OMG’ moments at various occasions he has come up with some real bloopers. This one happened while he was speaking at BJP’s Hunkar Rally in Bihar on 27 October 2013, when he let fly several bloopers. While speaking about the great tradition of ancient India, he mentioned Taxila as being a part of Bihar when it actually is in Pakistan near Rawalpindi. Since Nalanda and Taxila are usually mentioned together and since Nalanda is in Bihar, he probably assumed Taxila to be in Bihar as well!
Another hilarious one was when he mentioned Chandragupta (of Maurya dynasty) being part of ‘Gupta’ dynasty. He continued his bloopers when he spoke of how King Porus was defeated on the banks of river Ganga, when in fact he lost the battle to Alexander on the banks of the river Jhelum in Punjab.
Just after taking over as India’s Prime Minister, he made his first overseas tour to the neighbouring Kingdom of Bhutan. His OMG moment came while addressing the Bhutan parliament. In his speech, he inadvertently referred to the royal family of ‘Nepal’ instead of ‘Bhutan’, in a very embarrassing slip-up. It was his first OMG moment after becoming the Prime Minister.
And this one is the best of them all! In December 2014, during his first visit to the US, it happened when addressing Indo-Americans at the famous Madison Square Garden in New York. This was his great moment when he had world attention on him and his every move and speech during the tour attracted close media scrutiny. While addressing the highly energised, excited and vocal Indian diaspora, he referred to Mahatma Gandhi as ‘Mohanlal’ Karamchand Gandhi instead of ‘Mohandas’ Karamchand Gandhi. Needless to say, Twitteratis went wild with all kind of remarks and jokes on this one. The list of bloopers by an Indian leader is not the first and certainly not the last.
Is the ‘OMG’ moment exclusive to Narendra Modi?
Certainly not. Every leader worldwide has had his or her moment and one can say with a degree of confidence that our leaders and politicians are far better informed than most of their counterparts in the West.
If one were to curate all the ‘OMG’ moments of all the leaders in history, one could very easily make a serial, let alone a movie, on the bloopers. So I guess some amount of sympathy is due to Narendra Modi for having contributed his part to the world blooper collection!