By this time, most of you would have heard of Modi’s huge blunder in China where he misspelled “STRENGTH” as “STREANH” and became a laughingstock.
Now, let me make myself clear on one thing: I don’t expect Modi to know good English. So I do not judge him poorly for his poor mastery of English.
I would have been perfectly happy if Modi gave a speech to the Chinese in languages he is comfortable with – Hindi or Gujarati.
But given that he chose to speak in English despite having the option, he bears the responsibility for the goof-up.
Even though this goof-up is a minor thing, it gives an insight into his thinking – and tells us why he has been having big failures and, more importantly, will continue to have big failures.
Modi does not know English well enough to even spell “strength” correctly. YET…
1. He clearly did not ask an aide who was well-versed in English to proof-read his speech.
2. If the speech was extempore and so he could not show his copy to an aide, he did not realize that his command of the English language was not good enough for him to make extempore speeches without making blunders.
3. He was supremely confident of his ability to deliver a speech in a language he is often visibly uncomfortable with.
4. He never thought he could make a mistake.
In other words:
Modi does not know his own weaknesses. And he is so confident about his own abilities that he does not ask anyone for advice. Or he is too egotistic to admit his weakness and ask for help.
As the old English saying goes, “Fools venture where angels fear to tread.”
So…where have we seen this before?
Oh yes. Demonetization. Modi does not know much about economics; he did not consult economic experts, and he did not consult with senior members of his own party. He just got an idea in his head from some crackpot organization led by a non-economist and subjected the whole country to the convulsions resulting from this ill-thought policy.
Same pattern. Doesn’t know something. Thinks he knows it. Refuses to consult experts. Commits a blunder. Oh, and refuses to admit the blunder.
And this is going to happen. Again and again and again.