5 times PM Modi, the ‘exam warrior’, got math, science and history wrong

DailyBiteFeb 05, 2018 | 18:44

5 times PM Modi, the ‘exam warrior’, got math, science and history wrong

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's new book Exam Warriors has been released to great fanfare. In the book, PM Modi calls on students to treat exams like a festival, and get cracking by focusing on studies. That his take on examinations is the same as his idea of elections, which too he has dubbed a “celebration of democracy” previously, is betrayed by the fact that Union minister of external affairs, Sushma Swaraj, suffered slips of tongue twice during the book launch, as she said elections in place of examinations while reading out loud from the book.


While many have welcomed PM Modi’s outreach to schoolchildren, others have pointed out the irony in the prime minister prioritising examinations over knowledge, tests over wisdom accrued, marks over actual learning.

modi-warriors_020518065655.jpgExam Warriors; Narendra Modi. PC: Pathikrit Sanyal

On social media, however, the blatant faux pas and inadvertent half-truths by the prime minister – the self-proclaimed exam warrior – have invited a riot of laughter and harmless fun, while giving the Opposition some ready cannon-fodder.

Why is it that our “exam warrior” PM ends up making so many errors in his public speeches, during election campaigns as well as at global platforms such as the World Economic Forum at Davos? From goofing up on India’s population figure, to even the names of the country’s founding fathers – the “bloopers” have been way too many.

modi-exam_020518061530.jpgModi has a degree in 'Entire Political Science'.

On top of that, there have been the intentional twisting of facts and levelling of extremely serious charges against former PM Manmohan Singh and the now suspended Congressman Mani Shankar Aiyar. There have been perversions of history and a deliberate erasure of the enormous contributions of the Indian National Congress leaders during the freedom struggle and in the first three decades of independent India.


While pundits ponder on why and how PM Modi, the exam warrior, repeatedly fails his math, science and history, we give a tiny listicle to refresh your memory. And no, this list is no way an exhaustive account of the PM’s “experiments with truth”, as it were.

Failing math

One of the recent and most glaring errors that PM Modi ended up making was at WEF Davos, when he said “600 crore Indians” decided to choose a single party in 2014. While the mainstream media initially blacked out the unbelievable error, and the MEA website with PM’s official speech omitted the blunder from the text, a few portals and newspapers stood their ground and refused to delete the tweets on the topic.

Who can forget the false claim made by PM Modi during the 2017 UP Assembly polls that “more electricity during Eid than Diwali” was provided by the erstwhile Akhilesh Yadav government?


While a bit of stretch is political fair play, PM Modi’s “fun with math” can get the students failed in their exams. Ideally.

Failing science

PM Modi might be betting big time on science and technology to steer India in the 21st century, but his previous dabbling with unscientific hogwash remains etched in public memory. The most infamous one was of course the comment that Ganesh’s elephant head was proof of plastic surgery in ancient India, and that reproductive genetics, discovered by Gregor Mendel in the 19th century, existed in the Vedic era.

Similarly, before his talk on climate change at international platforms, and indeed signing the Paris agreement, PM Modi had rubbished the phenomenon while talking to schoolchildren at a Teachers' Day function in 2014, saying it’s human beings that have changed, and not the environment.

Moreover, those in association with PM Modi, such as the Sangh leaders, yoga entrepreneur Ramdev, even godmen like Sadhguru and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, have repeatedly peddled pseudoscience. If Ramdev wanted to sell medicines to “cure homosexuality”, Ravi Shankar didn’t think tonnes of concrete would harm the Yamuna floodplains. Sadhguru’s comments on super blood blue moon have been called out spectacularly on social media.

Recently, a band of eminent scientists have penned an open letter expressing concern over the deterioration of scientific temper in Indian educational institutes and general discourse, after minister of state HRD Satyapal Singh claimed Darwin’s theory of evolution was wrong.

Eminent scholar and Indiaphile politician from the Congress, Shashi Tharoor, has lamented how Modi and his supporters actually devalue the scientific temper of ancient and medieval India by trading falsehoods, without bothering to actually engage with the treasure trove of intellectual thinking and scientific theorising achieved by our antecedents.

Failing history

When Modi as Gujarat CM called Mahatma Gandhi “Mohanlal” Karamchand Gandhi instead of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, it was an error too glaring for comfort. How can someone now professing to be a guru of examinations get this basic fact wrong, that too at a public rally?

In addition, there’s the usual whitewashing of RSS’ contribution during freedom struggle, the band of Modi supporters, many of whom are followed by the prime minister on Twitter, creating a Godse cult in contravention of history, as it happened. There’s also the appropriation of Congress stalwarts like Sardar Patel and legends like BR Ambedkar, in the most ahistorical, blatantly revisionist ways.

Failing civics

PM Modi might have a degree in “entire political science”, but he does get his civics wrong, along with politics and foreign policy. The allegation against former PM Manmohan Singh that he was conspiring with Pakistan to influence Gujarat Assembly polls, along with Mani Shankar Aiyar, was a Civics 101 fail, as it was a slander that was a ready fodder for a defamation suit. Similarly, twisting Mani Shankar Aiyar’s “neech” remark was a clear case of civics failure, since honesty in public conduct is a hallmark of a good political figure.

Failing his economics

The biggest economics failure on the part of PM Modi was undoubtedly the demonetisation disaster, which shrunk India’s GDP growth rate by two per cent, and punctured the tyre of the racing car that was the Indian economy. While Modi initially claimed demonetisation was about tackling black money, terror funding and fake notes, it quickly became a cashless push and a eulogy for digital India.

All those claims have been systematically exposed to be big fat lies and half-truths. Yet, PM Modi continues to sell demonetisation as a masterstroke. Why?

In addition, even the GST rollout was hasty, the Budget extravagant with its claims, the global rankings fronted by the BJP questionable, the inequality gap widening, and protectionism creeping its way back into India.

As for “Modicare”, it has been debunked as an election year gimmick with no accountability and no accounts either.

In addition, the lies that the government has been selling over Aadhaar savings, efficiency, etc, too, are being exposed daily by activists and welfare warriors.

Exam warriors, or WhatsApp warriors?

With so many fails in his report card, how is it that PM Modi gets to be the exam warrior for Indian schoolchildren? With the BJP routinely relying on WhatsApp to spread rumours to the detriment of the country’s economics, civics, politics, historical understanding, scientific temper, what PM Modi is actually advocating is for the whole generation of young Indians to become WhatsApp warriors instead.

And that’s hardly funny, is it?

Last updated: February 06, 2018 | 14:04
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