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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What kind of a politician is he? He has a heart!

11 October 2011

Tarun Vijay

Shell-shocked he looked. The European diplomat was trying to understand the deliberations with the help of his Indian friend and finding the programme perplexing, he asked me ‘he is the chief of India’s principal opposition party and this was his book launch, yet, why didn’t he utter a single word about Sonia or Manmohan Singh? He could have attacked them and got headlines. In such a surcharged political atmosphere, Gadkari was speaking about poverty, energy, water conservation and how he had helped promote new schools for village girls in remote areas. Phew! What kind of a politician is Mr Nitin Gadkari?'

Politicians are supposed to speak politics. Attack the opponents and try anything to remain in news. But he did just the opposite.

It was a dream show for any leader. Top stalwarts from various walks of life were on stage.

A book in Hindi containing his speeches on development and other topics like Lata Mangeshkar was to be launched. The hall was packed with ambassadors, political workers, authors and the media. Gadkari could have turned it into a high profile political drama and rhetoric. And none would have complained. It would have been expected as the most obvious show.

But he spoke like a person hesitant to wear glory - I am not an author. I never speak from a prepared text; they are impromptu and more like honestly sharing my experiences. This book is also no different. It’s a collection of my experiences. I am not a scholar or an accomplished author. You can take me as a mediocre small worker, who once pasted BJP posters on Nagpur walls and looked up at Atal ji and Advani ji with so much awe that whenever they visited my city I would not even go close to their car. Worked in the RSS and ABVP. Once in Gadh Chiroli, a poverty-stricken region of Maharashtra known for Naxals, we saw an old woman wearing a scanty cloth like a saree. Her daughter was inside their hut. When I asked, if we could speak to her to know more about local problems, she hesitatingly agreed and went inside. A few moments later the daughter came out. She was wearing the same saree that her mother had worn. This was the level of poverty and the life that pierced my heart and I decided to work for the poor and the deprived.

Gadkari’s words.

He spoke from his heart. Didn’t want to envelope himself in some sham glory or unearned scholarship.

I know Bharat Bala has never made a documentary on any individual, much less on any politician.

That he found Gadkari's work worth making one, a 10 minute eye-opener, that describes beautifully how the scorched land of Vidarbha and the deprived tribals and rural folk were helped with Gadkari's vision and financial wizardry strokes tells volumes about the genuineness of the heart that works magic for the people standing last in the line of progress. This he says is social entrepreneurship.

Saving energy, distributing solar powered lamps and solar fencing in tribal villages to guard their harvest from stray wild animals - a new initiative so far unheard, opening new schools and helping encourage girl child education, helping farmers conserve water and create reservoirs to help end suicides of the land tillers in an area where water shortage remains the single biggest reason for seven thousand farmers deaths. Producing lakhs of tones of ethanol to help curb dependence on imported crude oil, and building infrastructure like Poorti Agrotech to train and turn semi-literate women into successful entrepreneurs.

That’s Gadkari.

This is certainly not a job a politician usually does.

They demand the government do all this. That’s their usual karma.

But is this not the area where politicians must work? Making it their usual Dharma?

Criticize him on hundred counts, if you think you have a point to make, please do so. But this certainly is a different story.

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