General VK Singh just cannot mind his words. And ‘presstitute’ seems to be his favourite one. That the former Army chief holds the media with some contempt is no secret but if contempt it has to be, as Union minister one would expect him to be more tactful with what he utters. If that’s so difficult an ask, then he should at least be more imaginative in berating people he dislikes.
Gen Singh went hyper again in response to a video clipping doing the rounds in the social media which shows a man touching the feet of BJP chief Amit Shah. Some social media comments linked him to the act. In his Twitter post, he clarified that the clipping involved Vijayapal Singh Tomar, head of BJP’s Kisan Morcha. He went on to add that it was case of ‘mischief by presstitutes’.
Of course, no one in the media is in doubt what ‘presstitute’ is supposed to mean. A vowel dropping out and another coming in don’t make a difference to the sense of what the venerable general wants to convey. He might have reason to get angry – many in the social media are certainly not decent people and they are least mindful of the reputation or dignity of the person they are targeting - but coming down their level does not behove someone who once headed the most respected institution in the country. And he should be mindful that the profession also includes a large number of women and such a word demeans them.
The problem with General Singh is he is a repeat offender, and he has no regrets whatsoever. Last year, he had used the same word when newspersons quoted him as saying that visiting the Pakistan High Commission was more exciting than evacuating Indians from Yemen. “..What do you expect from pressitutes,” he had tweeted then. He had clarified then, saying it was meant for the biased section of the media. It practically meant no expression of regret since the media could be called biased every time it came up with something that does not suit someone.
Would he have called the same media ‘presstitute’ when it was fighting his case for tenure extension against the UPA government not long ago? He was the darling of the media then and he pampered them. His critics were pilloried then, but none of them went to the extent of calling the media names. Gen Singh certainly thinks relationship with the media is a matter of convenience. If he chooses to treat the media with disdain, it does not matter, but the language? Surely, he could improve upon it.
Here goes a personal appeal: coming to media people, Sir, we are thick-skinned people and nobody in power really loves us. But no one of us deserves to be called a prostitute, by whatever other name you might put it. The repeated usage of the word reflects that your vocabulary has not improved much after joining politics. Why not use words such as ‘sickular’, ‘intolerant’ and ‘pseudo-intellectual’ instead. These are words your party and its sympathisers use often. These are certainly more dignified than words like ‘pimp’, ‘paedophile’ and ‘prostitute’.
Sir, please mind your language, because language defines a man.