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Mani Shankar Aiyar’s Hindi is so good we had to look up some of his words in a dictionary

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Older interviews of Aiyar have him displaying his remarkable hold over both Hindi and Urdu, using words which are much more complicated than neech. 

The Congress party Thursday suspended leader Mani Shankar Aiyar for calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi a ‘neech aadmi’ (or a low, deplorable person). Aiyar’s statement came in response to Narendra Modi’s comments on Congress being anti-Ambedkar.

Aiyar said, “Ye aadmi bahut neech kisam ka aadmi hai, iss mein koi sabhyata nahi hai, aur aise mauke par is kisam ki gandi rajniti karne ki kya avashyakta hai?” (This person is a very low sort, he is not civilised. What is the need to play dirty politics on such an occasion?)

An hour before his suspension, Aiyar tried to defend his comment saying, “I meant low level when I said ‘neech’, I think in English when I speak in Hindi, as Hindi is not my mother tongue. So if it has some other meaning then I apologise.”

However, older interviews of Aiyar have him displaying his remarkable hold over both Hindi and Urdu, using words which are much more complicated than neech. 

In 2016, Aiyar spoke at the Jawaharlal Nehru University about missing student Najeeb Ahmed, the BJP, and the ABVP.

Impressive words used: Shadyantra (conspiracy), sahanubhuti (sympathy), dakhal (interference), vyavastha (provision), and atoot (inseparable).

Aiyar criticised Narendra Modi in a 2014 interview to Rahul Kanwal on Aaj Tak’s Seedhi Baat. The Congress leader pointed out what he claimed was Modi’s lack of knowledge about politics, economics, and history.

Impressive words used: Khatakta (jarring), kum darze (low status), kshamataa (ability), arthshastra (economics), and tippani (comment).

In this 2010 interview to Malik Arshad Asim of Pakistani channel News One Tv, Aiyar held forth in Urdu about the relationship between India and Pakistan.

Impressive words used: Avashyakta (need), nazariya (viewpoint), poorv wazir (ex- minister), tajurba (experience), and martaba (occasions)

In this 2010 interview to Najam Sethi on Duniya TV, Aiyar spoke about India’s secular fabric after the Babri Masjid demolition.  

Impressive words used: Azeez (dear), mazhab (religion), ray mashwara (consultation), nasl (breed), and vividhata (diversity in Hindi)

In 2014, Aiyar spoke to Syed Faisal Ali from Pakistani channel Aalami Samay. In the interview, he spoke about the Indian democratic system and the political climate. 

Impressive words used: Nirantar (without end), loktantra (democracy), samudaya (community), kendriyakaran (centralisation), and samvidhan (Constitution).

In 2012, Aiyar confronted Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed on a Pakistani television talk show, saying that the founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba should be arrested and brought before a terrorism court.

Aiyar spoke in fluent Hindi and Urdu, even offering translations for words – “Samridh ho, jiska matlab hai prosperous ho.”

Impressive words used: Aqliyat (minority), afsos (regret), feesadi (percentage), bhasma (burned to ashes), and muqabla (competition).

With inputs by Kaveesha Kohli, Nandita Singh, Nikhil Rampal, and Neera Majumdar.

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  1. This only means that his grasp of quality Hindi is high. The word ‘neech’ became a problem because it has a dual meaning too – that of a low-caste person. It is possible that he used it in the first sense, while knowing the second, but assuming the first would be taken as his meaning. Or, it could be a deliberate choice of word, meant to insult but offering adequate deniability.

  2. Mr aiyar has become old. So his memory has become poor. NOW the reporters should go and remind him that he knew urdu rather than hindi since once upon a time he was occupying indian embassy in Pakistan. Due to that sole reason he has even forgotten his tamil language

  3. Congress action to suspend Manishankar Aiyeur is only for election nothing more than it. They congress started mean and abuse language but when got paid in the same coins trying to boast themselves. Why Gandhi surname was used by Smt. Indira? Merely to reap benefits and connect to Mr. Mohandas karamchand Gandhi

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