Cricketer, top bureaucrat share date with history


Nilanjana Bose,CNN-IBN
Aug 15, 2007 at 06:15pm IST

New Delhi: Two individuals, both as old as independent India—or as they like to put it, slightly older—born in June and July of 1947. One went on to become a national cricketer, and the other the first ever Muslim to pass the IAS examination. He is today the Election Commissioner. Chetan Chauhan and Shahbuddin Yaqoob Quraishi are celebrating 60 years—both theirs and the country's.

Chetan Pratap Singh Chauhan was born just three weeks before Independence, and decided to defend his country. On a different batttefield, though. He's played 40 Test matches for India in the 1970's and was a constant on the field as Sunil Gavaskar's opening partner.

The Arjuna awardee is today a cricket admistrator, and many a day is spent sitting and looking at a cricket field, fondly remembering 60 years well lived, well played. And no, he's not done yet.

"Sometimes I feel sad but then I know I am young at heart. The mind is still young and given the chance I would play for India again," exclaims a proud Chauhan.

And while Dr. Quraishi plays his spunky electric guitar, senior citizen is certainly not the tag he wants to wear. As the first Muslim to hold the position of Election Commissioner, he is proud of his Old Delhi roots, and nostalgic about his days at St. Stephens College where he played bass guitar for a band where Sharon Prabhakar was the lead singer. He's definitely not your typical bureaucrat, and cannot stop telling how he played a major role in India getting independent.

"You see I was born on June 21 and I hated the fact that India was a slave nation so I believe that I ushered in independence!" says Quraishi.

They are the children of 1947, something they can't stop talking about these days. As old as a young nation, they both believe life has just started—for India and for them. As for the future, que sara sara.

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