Thursday, May 04, 2006

Pramod Mahajan - the man I never knew

In life, they called him a 'fixer'.
In death, he is a networker.

In life, they called him a manipulator.
In death, he is a master strategist.

In life, the focus was on his lavish lifestyle.
In death, it's on his humble roots.

I never knew much about the man called Pramod Mahajan while he was alive. But from all that I have seen and heard in the last 12 days, he seems to be a politician with a difference.

And here are a few things that struck me in particular.

From an Indian Express report:
Mahajan's Pune moorings began at the University of Pune's Department of Communication and Journalism from where he graduated in 1971. Faculty member Prasannakumar Aklujkar remembers Mahajan was the first student of the department to attend a course conducted in English and answer his exam papers in Marathi.

And yet he got a first class.

Classmate Sudha Godbole says that as a student Pramod performed very well in essay writing competitions but was always in the background because of his shy demeanour.

"Which is why all of us were extremely surprised when Mahajan became the fiery speaker and aggressive leader he now is".

Hard to believe, isn't it? This simply shows that 'leadership' is a skill which can be cultivated - if you have the right attitude.

Another classmate recalls: "Pramod was always shy and not very articulate. But he read a lot, passionately absorbing Sartre and others... "

Clearly, he was a man who believed in absorbing as much as possible from any and every source. As a young man, Mahajan was impressed by the oratory skills of Atal Behari Vajpayee. But he did not remain merely an admirer, he made it a personal goal to become a powerful speaker himself.

The capacity to keep learning and growing is a very fine quality. And one rarely found among our fossilised politicians.

For all these reasons - and of course the bizarre circumstances of his shooting - like millions of other Indians, I felt sad on hearing of Pramod Mahajan's demise.

I'd rather not comment on his politics or his legacy - there are people far more knowledgable than me to do that. No doubt he was a politician - not a modern day saint.

All I can say is, it is admirable that Mahajan reached this stature purely on the basis of his personal talent. Even in the dirty world of politics, there appears to be something called 'merit' at work.

And that, is a comforting thought.

30 comments:

  1. The more and more people i see, especially the ones in public life, the more i feel that life is always a shade of grey. Neither white nor black.

    In times of death people love talking about the clearer side. That should explain the fixer becoming the networker and the manipulator becoming the strategist. What do u think?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Me neither a supporter of Mr.Mahajan or his party, but all said and done, he was a leader par excellence.
    And after death, every individual however good or bad he was, where he used hook or crook, he is praised.That is human tendency.
    The "better" side of a personality is highlighted after a person's demise.
    Nikhil

    ReplyDelete
  3. A career thug bites the dust. So what else is new?

    ReplyDelete
  4. >
    In life, they called him a 'fixer'.
    In death, he is a networker.



    Quite similar to the way its with Nehru and Gandhi. After their deaths, we have pages in our history textbooks dedicated to them and portrayed as saintly.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I dont know much about Pramod Mahajan or what he did. But I did note, like you observed, that the media was nothing but full of praise for him since his Cain-Abel shooting.
    I suppose its human tendency too. But I also think its only Indian tendency to forget the politician behind the statesman-like persona as soon as the person in question is recipient to injustice. Soon, we will have the media playing up Abu Salem's character as well, portraying him as a noble man gone wrong or something. I dont mean to insult Mahajan or his stature, just making an observation.
    I've linked your blog to mine by the way, since I read it quite frequently (In case I'm supposed to mention it).

    ReplyDelete
  6. a thing to ponder on; pramod mahajan, madhav rao scindia, rajesh pilot - all young, all dynamic rising political stars and all wiped out from the indian political map for whose convenience???????
    more on my post entitled "pramod mahajan" in my blog called "newsletters from kolkata"

    ReplyDelete
  7. Me doesn't know about Mahajan that well. Frankly, Me has been very reluctant to know about any political leader for that matter.

    But your post, as always, has been a thought provoking one. That leadership can be cultivated, and that after death, media never leaves a leaf unturned to make a not-so-great person a very humble-and-a-person-with-a-difference are worth noting.

    Sometimes Me wonders - shouldn't media do a better job at reporting things as-is and not exaggerate or diminish facts so much??

    Me.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Where's Dick Cheny when you need him! I say let him run loose in the various parliaments of the country :D

    ReplyDelete
  9. The cult of cultivated leaders' is the one that has always shown a beacon in the tacky and endless tunnel of political filth.Be it Subhash Chandra Bose, Jai Prakash Narayan or Aung Sung Su Ki.

    Dynastic leaders seems a natural choice to the populace as we have not got over our colonial past, but India can boast of a vibrant democracy only if we have many more cultivated leaders...

    ReplyDelete
  10. This only proves that 'death' gives us the clarity that 'life' doesn't. In a strange way, I suppose it is easier to come to terms with the 'present' of the 'past', easier to digest, and easier to forgive, and I suppose that is what civilisation is all about.

    ReplyDelete
  11. What's all this hoopla about anyway?
    A politician died...
    Aren't we the one's who curse them everyday?
    We shouldn't be celebrating but it doesn't give
    us any reason to feel really sad about the death.
    A life has been lost, but we are the people who really look forward
    to such moments when such corrupt politicians are alive.
    On a kind humanitarian note,it is sad that someone left this world;
    but some of us do beleive in Karma don't we?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Yes i agree with all the statements you made but the way the media handled those 12 days, dont you think it was an overkill? Now these days, every thing is getting sensationalised.

    ReplyDelete
  13. One thing that impressed me about Mahajan is the variety of people he seemed to know - from the world or arts, industry... But on the other hand, a man that could not keep peace within the family, that aroused such deep sentiments that a brother actually shot him, could he be capable of greater good and manage a country?

    ReplyDelete
  14. I never knew much about the man called Pramod Mahajan while he was alive. But from all that I have seen and heard in the last 12 days, he seems to be a politician with a difference.

    This is a sad statement from a writer of your calibre..Especially at a time when ur opinion is sought after my numerous TV channels on everything. ;))

    May God Bless Mahajan's soul

    ReplyDelete
  15. Cool Blog you have here!

    ReplyDelete
  16. It was a long wait, not to see Mahajan dead but to read a new post on your blog, refreshing this blog umpteen times a day between work to find something new to read, thought something big is coming up, trying to read the blogs u read, wish God gives you the time to write more posts. This blog is sticky(Gladwell's definition).

    ReplyDelete
  17. Is it so exciting or interesting to read a report like, "He was cunning politician, with stupid attitude. Hope his soul will never rest in peace".

    You know the answer, its not. When we know that, life is just about growing from birth to death; competition and rivalry becomes meaningless. So people have a practice of realizing and commenting about good things (Its comfortable chemistry eh!). My comments are not specific to "Pramod Mahajan". He was a genuine and talented leader anyway. Your observation is great. Leadership is by choice, it can be cultivated if you have the strong desire!

    CIAO...

    ReplyDelete
  18. What's all this hoopla about anyway?
    A politician died...
    Aren't we the one's who curse them everyday?


    @Dhaval
    Well, a good one died. My regret - Pravin killed the wrong one.

    Why doesnt anyone shoot corrupt politicians like Sonia , madmohan, toxic singh or natwar singh.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Parties or Corporates.. the rules are same; Meritocracy is de rigueur. And maybe that's where BJP stands being a "party with difference" (whatever be it's other shorcomings). Maybe the dynastic and sycophantic congress needs to learn lessons else it will relgated soon. Only self-made young leaders like Mahajan,Deendayal Upadhyay can provide direction to this nation & our democracy.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi Rashmi, gud insight to dat one, i m never much interested in wht's happening in the politics, but ur article was a gud one on Pramod Mahajan.

    Keep up the gud job, hope to come back to ur blog again....

    ReplyDelete
  21. One of the few good politician of the country.
    Check out more abt him on my blog.
    http://anshulseth.com/obituary-05.html


    Asset

    ReplyDelete
  22. The funny bit is that everyone's going on and on about how we have lost a 'young turk', but wait a minute, wasn't Mahajan 57? Even natural deaths may take place around 60 ... just goes to show how a 20-30-40-something barely has any place in Indian politics, unless he belongs to the heirarchy because of his lineage ...

    Good post as always.

    - Raj.

    ReplyDelete
  23. yeah.. we definately more poeple on merit in politics...

    ReplyDelete
  24. Well written. Inspiring, and in good faith!

    ReplyDelete
  25. On a related topic -- I found the following headline in the Economic Times of May 4, 2006 in bad taste: "Pramod loses the Mahajung".

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi
    Good one- Wont comment on Shri Mahajan or about blog as you have concluded it with

    "All I can say is, it is admirable that Mahajan reached this stature purely on the basis of his personal talent. Even in the dirty world of politics, there appears to be something called 'merit' at work."

    May be he was among few to see time ahead and effectively use technology in politics where many politicians sell their laptops to buy grocery. As homage to him I have published his speeches and interviews available on web. Would like you to read last speech - in India conclave - I have typed it myself on 03 May and it has influenced me

    http://inmemoryofpramodji.blogspot.com/

    Anay

    ReplyDelete
  27. The guy got the end that he deserved. What with his relentless womanizing, abuse of his political powers, even murder !! ( remember Shivani Bhatnagar) !!! He got shot because he was making out with his brother's wife..ask the police why it was not investigated. It sickens me to hear all this 'hail promd ji' bit here ! I think he should have been shot a few years earlier.

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
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