“Chairman of the National Thermal Power Corporation, sir.”
“CEO of State Bank of India, sir.”
“Director of Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, sir.”
“Commander of the Armed Forces, sir.”
Designations, each more renowned and reputed than the last, were coming at him fast and thick. Delivered in a crisp tone, with body upright, as befitted the solemnity of the occasion.
The smile on the minister’s face was becoming harder and harder to hide, as he passed along the rows of youngsters, asking each of them the same question, “With the rigorous training you are getting, what do you aspire to become?”
This was not the graduation ceremony of the reputed Indian Administrative Service.
This was a bunch of youngsters hard at work at a cricket coaching academy in the city, trying to hone their skills at the game they loved. And the minister was doing what only seasoned politicians can do with such equanimity; preventing others from going about their life without any reason.
Momentarily, while passing along the rows, his mind had wandered back to the not so distant past when similar youngsters, after their playing years, would aspire to become coaches, selectors, commentators, umpires and even groundsmen, in order to stay close to the game they loved, and guide the next generation of cricketers in realizing their potential. But he quickly brushed that disturbing image aside and pushed ahead through the rows, bathed in the glow of the brave new world of possibilities.
The change in “sentiment”, that deep, meaningful and measurable, and particularly Indian, index, which logically explains everything from stock movements to the rise and fall of political fortunes, was palpable. There was electricity in the air.
The recent appointment of Chetan Chauhan (CC) as the Chairperson of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), a prestigious institution of learning, had opened the floodgates of aspiration amongst the middle class.
As everyone knows, CC is eminently qualified for the position of chairperson of NIFT. He played cricket for India in the company of the legendary Sunil Gavaskar. He runs a cricket coaching academy. He owns a printing business. What more credentials do you need? As the NIFT Act of 2006 also clearly says, the chairperson of the institute is expected to be an eminent academic, scientist, technologist or professional.
And yes, he bailed out the Union Finance Minister against charges of corruption and financial irregularities in the Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA), levelled against him when he was the President.
Meanwhile, getting ready for the role, CC has confirmed that he will be able to spend 20% of his time at NIFT which explains why his appointment as a full-time chairperson was necessary.
Now there is no mountain too high to climb for aspiring cricketers. No river too wide to swim. No jungle too dark to penetrate.
But even the government, always well prepared for the fracas its illogical and unilateral decisions generate, was taken by surprise at the violent reactions to this appointment. The opposition is baying for blood. They want to know why Sakshi Maharaj was not considered for this position. He has impeccable credentials. At no point of time in his life has he displayed anything which could even remotely be considered as studious or academic. CC, on the other hand, during his playing days, is known to have studiously left alone balls he could not play, or took them on his body. Sakshi Maharaj has also displayed an uncanny ability to make inane statements for no rhyme or reason. CC, in comparison, is barely audible. He even meekly accompanied Gavaskar when he walked out of a match in Australia in protest at poor umpiring.
What is a government to do? It takes decisions in the best interests of the common man and all it gets is rebukes.
Like any mature political establishment, the government is not responding to the criticism. When your conscience is clear, and you have acted in total disregard of commonly accepted rules, you don’t need to.
They have plans is what one hears from reliable sources. Sakshi Maharaj may be delayed, but he cannot be denied. He is soon to assume the role of chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India. It is learnt that the country’s reliance on imported enriched uranium will, as a result, reduce. Instead, Sakshi Maharaj’s volatile and inflammable temper tantrums will be used to light the centrifuges.
Other important appointments are also in the pipeline.
With the retirement of M S Dhoni, long-time captain of the Indian cricket team, from active service, nigh, it is learnt that Uma Bharti is being readied to take over the reins. By creating Ram temples on foreign pitches, she could well neutralise the “home” advantage held by teams like Australia, England and South Africa.
Anupam Kher is waiting for a suitable position to open up by hounding an existing incumbent to step down citing personal reasons.
In this reshuffle, driven by knowledge, competence and suitability for the job, Arun Jaitley could become the next RBI Governor.
Meanwhile cricket, always a top choice, is witnessing an unprecedented surge in popularity. If one becomes a cricketer, who knows what one could become.