Wednesday, May 03, 2006
King of the Stage, the Laxman steps down…
More than a decade ago, with a team of 6 from Prabhodini, we were conducting a Leadership camp at Thane; then I was in my 8th Grade, youngest in the group and bullied the most. Amidst my then version of ragging, the camp went smooth attended by 108 students. On the closing day, there was a chief guest, some local MLA I thought then, I was sent to the gate by my team members to guide the family members of students who had attended the camp towards the hall. After an hour of directing people, I decided to head back to the hall, on my entering I saw a young speaker, in his early 40s, speaking, the audience hypnotized by his words, and applauding every breath he took, my first encounter of the Thane MP, Mr. Pramod Mahajan.
Men, who shake hands with you, even without knowing you, leave a mark in your life that makes your eyes moist on their demise. Same is today with me.
A year after, On lazy afternoon in Goa, I watching the Lok Sabha proceedings on the TV, a man stands up, very familiar for his chance to speak, he gets up, and gains respect immediately, he speaks of his visit as a Member of Opposition to China along with then Congress Delegation there, in his candid oratory style in Hindi, he says that he introduced himself as being the member of the largest elected party and being in the opposition, and Mr. Ramakant Khalap, being the only elected candidate from “single-man party”; and now a Minister of Cabinet, “what a way to introduce Indian Politics” he asked.
I still remember the applause, I still remember how Ramakant Khalap was laughing, and still remember how we all laughed at home. I then remembered that voice, that face, it was Pramod Mahajan, and he was my inspiration.
A demise of a living inspiration is very uncomfortable, primarily because you realize they had so much to offer more.
It was election time in Goa, every time, I knew Pramod was in the state, I would board the buses, and chase him, just to listen to him. One day it happened much closer to my home, and much closer to my school then Mushtifund, and much closer to God, outside Mahalaxmi Temple, he stood on the stage, to speak, to enchant us, I crawled amidst the crowd to see him much close. Never looked where my feet were moving just his personality which took a different form when he spoke, when he spoke, there was a tone, which would build up, a words would follow a rhythm, they would extremely slow and then build up, he would end the momentum with killer statement, a statement that words were not such words it created an emotion, an emotion that would make you get Goose bumps.
He spoke in grand style that day, campaigning for the to be CM, Manohar Parikkar, still remember Pramod’s right hand pointing at the audience and saying ‘there are 3 types of voters, one who look at the Party and votes, second who look at the person and not the party and third who vote for a good person and a good party, at the doorstep of Mahalaxmi, we are seeing the rise of a personality unmatched ….Manohar Parikkar and for a party unmatched…...applause..applause..i don’t remember the next words, I was having goose bumps..
When he spoke he gave me goose bumps, when he has died he makes me feel the same. One thing for sure, may be he is now no more, to give me goose bumps. But He will remain in my mind as an inspiration, a king of the stage, a showman.
Only regret I have is, what I had dreamt, remains a dream, he was to take India as Prime Minister in the year 2020, when India was born again, as a developed nation. I thought it was he, who deserved to run the India Shining campaign again.
But as former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee says “Bina badlon ke bijli girne ki charcha hamne suni hai, Yahan apni akhon se Bharat ki tarunai ko puri tarah se viksit hone se pehle hi kaalchakra ne isko ham se cheen liya” meaning We have heard about the lightning strike without clouds, here with our own eyes we saw Youth of India being snatched away by fate even before it could developed fully.