As the chaiwala taunt is back in the Gujarat election campaign, ThePrint asks the question –
Has Congress stepped on its own toes for a second time with the chaiwala meme?
‘Chaiwala’ is about nothing but business, because Narendra Modi comes from the same business background. Narendra Modi did not come from a cattle-rearing background or from tilling the land, making pots, fishing, or doing any productive work.
For us (Dalits and OBCs), Narendra Modi is not the same OBC as the shudra OBC. We don’t treat him as part of ‘us’. He is part of the larger bania business community. Whether it is selling chai, or kirana, or some other business, this work does not have any great dignity of labour. That is the reason why in North India and thereabouts, many banias got registered as OBCs — like in Gujarat, Bihar, and Chhattisgarh.
Here are other sharp perspectives on chaiwala jibe against Narendra Modi:
Many of these people are basically against reservations because they themselves come from business backgrounds. We don’t give much respect or much credibility to them. Chai-selling is good, it is important work by itself, but they cannot claim it is fundamental work.
Also, these cartoons on Facebook — they are not relatively big critics, no? Now, if somebody senior said this, it would be a different issue (like Mani Shankar Aiyar did earlier, to which I responded with a reprimand). Some young fellow putting it on Facebook — why should it become a big issue?