Author: Vasant Sathe
Publisher: Stellar Publishers
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8190224735
A lawyer by training, a parliamentarian by conviction, a socialist in spirit-Vasant Sathe, 80, has earned a place of distinction in the history of Indian politics. Brought up by parents on Tilak School of thought in the midst of the freedom movement, this young, fiery student’s passion to plunge headlong into this battle for the liberation of the nation from the British rule set many a precedent. One such remarkable act was removing the Union Jack and unfurling the Indian Tricolour at the District Court at Nagpur, while facing a firing squad and police lathi-change in the Quit India Movement in 1942, when he was merely 17.
A boxing champion of Morris College, a linguist and commendable orator of Nagpur University, who coveted countless trophies, this connoisseur of classical arts defied the lucre of a legal career after graduating from Law College by taking up the cause of trade unions. And continued to work with industrial workers for almost three decades. Given his humanitarian ideology, he joined the socialist Party right from its inception in 1948, and thereafter, joined the Congress under the leadership of Party chairman Ashok Mehta, in 1964, fairly impressed by the Nehruvian vision of democratic socialism. Even before he made his debut as an M P in 1972, from Akola constituency in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, he led the Indian Delegation for the Human Rights committee in the General Assembly of United Nations during the Silver Jubilee Session of 1970.
A close associate of Indira Gandhi, he witnessed the turbulent times with promulgation of emergency in 1975, and went on to become the Deputy Leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party during 1977-79, as a voluble spokesperson of the Opposition. And also became instrumental in giving a party symbol of hand to the newly formed Congress (I). Subsequently, he handled various portfolios with great élan, and his ministerial tenure in Information and Broadcasting, in 1980, became memorable, as he built bridges with media and film industry, fought tooth and nail to introduce colour television and also set up a network of Low Power Transmitters (LPTs) throughout the country, which today reaches out to more than 80 per cent of the populace. He ensured that Richard Attenborough’s film, Gandhi, caught in a controvertial imbroglio, finally got rolling and projected on the screen.
Known to have stirred a horner’s nest by triggering a debate on the Presidential System of Government, he also pulled a lot of punches holding forth on restructuring of Indian Economy. Here’s a candid, delectable political memoir of a rationalist, which though packed with action, motion, and emotion, never loses sight of the rationale.
Politics is all about the art of governance where the elected representatives of the people have to create suitable conditions and provide opportunities to achieve excellence in the field of their choice. And in this task of administration, I consider bureaucracy like a thoroughbred horse that recognizes the calibre of the rider the moment he mounts it. Thereafter, either the rider rides the horse or the horse takes him for a ride.
Few politicians have been able to match Vasant Sathe’s outspokenness on issues of ciritical concern to the country or his unconventional lifestyle, It has been Sathe’s good fortune that he has chosen to be, in Walt Whitman’s telling phrase, large enough to contain all contradictions.
PREFACE: In Pursuit of Equilibrium
EDITOR’S NOTE: A Rainbow Rationalist
A Proud Inheritance
My Political Moorings
Exciting Years in Parliament
Compulsions of Emergency
A Ministerial Overview
Kalchakra: Roller Coaster Congress
Vasant Sathe’s Interview on All Radio Station, WOC Davenport, IOWA, USA