Hammers,cricket and politics
The other day I met Anurag Thakur: a second or perhaps third termer MP who looks like a first termer. He was elected to Parliament through a by election after his father, Prem Kumar Dhumal, vacated the seat following his taking over Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh. But more than the fact that he is a politician’s son, Anurag is better known in his state for his love of cricket. He was also the youngest President of Himachal Cricket Association. He has played for the Ranji Trophy.
In his home state, Thakur gave a boost to cricket and I am told that by the time he switched to being a politician he was a familiar face in the state. The young people there not only knew him but identified with him.Though born in Hamirpur, in Himachal Pradesh Anurag spent his early years in Punjab. Life,he told me, was always full of surprises: it made him do what he had neither foreseen nor planned for. When he wanted to take up cricket seriously, he was pushed into business: Making hammers. His outfit,he says, makes the best hammers. I cannot verify his claim, but Anurag did not come across as one who would lie. He was too confident of himself given that he was a politician not solely because of his father but because he was a known entity in the state. Yes his father ruling the state ofcourse made a huge difference to his electoral victory. When he started enjoying hammers he was pushed to politics. What next? He does not know and says planning his life usually proves counter productive: if he plans something the opposite is likely to happen.
Thakur’s is a fresh, clean face in politics. Ofcourse with Rahul Gandhi bringing in many young MPs one can no longer say that this is rare. But it certainly is welcome. Actually there is something about the younger lot: they have a long road ahead and hence tread with caution. They do not want anything to sully their image. That apart, they are keen to prove their mettle and are convinced that if they work and deliver then nobody can deny them their due. Good because India needs working politicians: those who even while keeping an eye on the elections are sensitive to the needs of the people.
There is ofcourse an argument against this: there are cases of High Commands of parties who can crack the whip and change constituencies. In other words if an MP puts his heart, soul and might for a constituency which has elected him what is the guarantee it would not be given away to someone else in the next election?. So isn’t it better that he concentrates on politicking with the powers that be rather than work for the people? A micro view really because politicians and MPs need to rise above narrow considerations and self interest and move on: look at the larger picture of the country and concentrate on improving the lot of those who need them.
I don’t know if Anurag and other young MPs would want to do this. For record ofcourse Anurag told me that his ambition is to see Himachal Pradesh a number one state in cricket. So even with him it was Himachal Pradesh and not the country. But then one cannot fault him for this. It is his view but if intention and commitment backs his words, then it is not bad to start with….