Swami vs Dawood: Of Gadkari, IQ and a pre-teen debate

Would Gadkari have beaten my 12-yr-old classmate back in the ’70s? Going by the BJP chief’s insight shown in Vivekanand vs Dawood IQ point, he might just have.


BV Rao | November 6, 2012

BJP chief Nitin Gadkari
BJP chief Nitin Gadkari

I am not sure whether I was Class VI or VII at the time. It was the time of the school annual day in the seventies and the title of the best debater was up for grabs. The topic for that year’s debate was, as predictable as school debate topics are, “Is science good for us or bad?”

Sumaiyya (can’t remember her surname), a girl from my class, deservedly took the trophy that year, beating many contestants from senior classes. The line that got her the most applause, and the title, went something like this: “Science is not good or bad. It is what use we put it to that is good or bad.” And I still remember the example she quoted to underscore her argument: “A knife in the hand of a criminal can take a human life but a knife in a surgeon’s hand can save a human life.”

Also read: Gadkari betrays Parivar's shallow intellect, exit certain

To all of us, her classmates in pre-teens, it sounded starkly intelligent. That is perhaps why I still remember the incident, though my own debating skills should have dictated that I erased all memories of it. 

I remembered Sumaiyya and her winning lines yesterday, after nearly four decades, thanks to Nitin Gadkari, president of the nation’s principal opposition party, the BJP. He seemed to have stolen Sumaiyya’s lines while addressing the complex question of whether a high IQ is good for us or bad at a function in Bhopal on November 5.

“As per psychology, if we can compare the IQ level of Swami Vivekananda and Dawood Ibrahim, then it could have been the same,” Gadkari said. “But Vivekananda used it in nation-building, brotherhood and spiritualism while Dawood used that in excelling in the crime world.”

The point he was trying to make was, of course, that high IQ is by itself not good or bad; it is how you use it that makes it good or bad. Sumaiyya is lucky Gadkari went to school in Nagpur and not Jawahar Vidyalaya in Chennai, or else she may have had to share the honours that day with the future BJP president, assuming, of course, that he was as bright a student then as he is now a politician.

Yesterday, I felt even more proud of Sumaiyya than I did back then. It was significant that as a mere 12-year-old, she had matched the intelligence and intellect that the president of the BJP would display almost four decades later! Yes, Sumaiyya suddenly looked in much better light yesterday.

But wait…how does it reflect on Gadkari’s image as the president of the BJP to display the intellect of a pre-teen girl in a school debate some 40 years ago? No wonder Sushma Swaraj is supposed to have said that the "oldest and wisest" in the party should replace Gadkari.



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