Gill is over the hill
Sports minister M S Gill is an instant politician (instant as in instant coffee). He has never won any election. (The Rajya Sabha election isn't really an election. It is just a nomination and India would be better off without the house of so-called 'elders'). His understanding of public sentiment is poor. People who get power without effort begin to believe power is their birthright. They owe their authority to some individual, not to the people. This turns them into big abusers of power. With them, you must watch out for a daily display of arrogance.
Gill behaved like a lout when distinguished sportsmen visited his house on Tuesday. His graceless act of pushing Satpal Singh, legendary wrestler and world champion Sushil Kumar's coach, has shocked the nation.
But I am neither shocked nor surprised by Gill's behavior. He has a history of shameful, silly behavior. Six years ago, Gill was a retired Chief Election Commissioner who found it difficult to live without power. For decades, he had been a file pusher enjoying the perks of government service. Delhi is ruthless. Once you lose your authority, you are a nobody. Even your chaprasi will ignore you once you retire or lose power.
Dominique De Villepin, the then French foreign minister, was in India to deliver the late Madhav Rao Scindia memorial lecture. Gill was sitting among the audience at Teen Murti Bhawan. The front rows are reserved for people in power. He sat at the back, and I was in a row just ahead of him.
De Villepin delivered a scholarly lecture. During the question and answer session, Gill asked a stupid question. The entire hall laughed at him. Villepin did not bother to answer his question. A senior journalist shouted, "He is jobless and has gone senile. He is asking a question just to make his presence felt." That was our (dis)honourable sports minister six years ago.
Gill's nomination to the Rajya Sabha from the Congress quota was against democratic norms. He had served as the Chief Election Commissioner, which is a Constitutional post. Instead of enjoying his retired life like his predecessors and successors, he lobbied hard and entered the Upper House, thereby damaging the reputation of the Election Commission of India. He even managed to get the sports portfolio from Manmohan Singh. As we can all see, he is an old fuddy-duddy of a sports minister in a young country.
Gill claims he is a great lover of sports. But his actions tell a different story. He had insulted Pullela Gopichand on Saina Nehwal's return from the Beijing Olympics two years ago. He ranks at the bottom of Manmohan Singh's team when it comes to performance. His reply in Parliament during a debate on the corruption at the Commonwealth Games was a big joke. The manner in which he conducted himself was disgusting. He lacked seriousness and behaved like a buffoon.
Sadly, in India, politicians and bureaucrats never retire. The sports ministry is a post-retirement privilege for Gill. He is insensitive to everyone because he feels he owes his position only to Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi. As long as he keeps Singh and Sonia happy, he does not need to worry about the people of the country. It gives him the power to snub, insult and humiliate sports personalities and others.
Power that comes from the people comes with responsibility. Which is why power without the people's backing should make the powerful doubly humble. It is too late in life for bureaucrats like Gill to understand this truth, or even to learn good manners.
It is time we got rid of relics like Gill from our public life. India would be a much better place without petty dictators like him.
More about D P SatishD P Satish has been a journalist for the past 14 years. Born at the picturesque Jog Falls in Shimoga district of Karnataka, Satish did his graduation in English Literature. He is a post-graduate in Journalism from the prestigious Asian College of Journalism, Bangalore (now in Chennai). After a brief stint with the Indian Express Group, he shifted to TV. He also worked for an American news magazine called ' Image '. He has widely travelled and covered some of the biggest events from South of Vindhyas in the first decade of the 21st century. He is passionate about English literature, classical music, cinema, history, photography, jazz and Cricket. A self-proclaimed centrist, Satish keenly follows major political developments from across the World. He blogs regularly and spends hours searching for readable material from the Internet! He belives that journalism is a calling and a person meant to be a journalist, can't escape from it. A hillman at heart and by birth, Satish lives and works in New Delhi. But, loves Bangalore more than Delhi!
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