For the past few days I have been visiting news sites fearing the worst. And this morning it finally happened. Pramod Mahajan is no more. I feel like crying. He never knew me, but I have even dreamed for him. Really! I have even thought how things would be when he becomes Prime Minister. Its not going to happen now. I guess in the last decade there must hardly have been a week when I didn't read/watch a news story about him. He was always on the news. I will only have his memories from now on. But I can take heart from the fact that he lived his life to the full and there was practically nothing he could not achieve. He worked his way to the top and this should be an inspiration for all the future leaders of this country. Take my word... he was the best this country has produced in recent times and now he has been so tragically taken away from us. Goodbye my friend, you will remain in my heart for ever. I leave with some of the memories I have of him over the years. (ofcourse on TV)
1. Pramod Mahajan becomes India's Defense Minister in 1996. He was wearing a dark saffron Angavastram during the swearing in ceremony, which I have not seen him wear after that. I learnt later that his appointment was quite out of turn with his seniority level at that time and that he had become the country's youngest Defence Minister ever.
2. Mahajan loses Mumbai North East lok sabha elections in 1998. When a stupid anchor in Doordarshan studio asked him how he could lose after having done so much for his constituency like gyms, playgrounds etc, he simply quipped "kids don't vote and if they did I may have easily won!" I remember arguing with my 11th standard English teacher on who's election defeat Jaswant Singh's or Mahajan's was the biggest upset of that election.
3. Sometime in early 1999, Jayalalitha is making arbitrary demands/statements every day. During the BJP national executive at that time, Mahajan is accused of forcing Doordarshan to give prominence to news from the conclave instead of Jayalalitha. He bluntly says on Star News, "Jayalalitha's interviews are not more important than a national party's executive meeting!"
4. Tidel Park in Chennai is inaugurated by Vajpayee and Karunanidhi in 2000. Mahajan (then IT minister) appears on stage along with state minister Ponmudi wearing the dhoti in the south Indian style! He has done that many times while visiting Tamilnadu after that.
5. During the much hyped and later abused, India Shining campaign in 2004, Mahajan proudly displays to an NDTV crew, the gadgets ridden election control room he had setup at the back of his Delhi home. Incidentally I followed the whole of 2004 election campaign while wandering through the dusty and hot Marathwada region from where he hails.
6. A week before his shooting, he did a great job dodging Karan Thapar's questions on Devils Advocate. I read that interview on ibnlive.com along with a friend of mine who occasionally pulls my leg for supporting BJP. Last Sunday Karan Thapar gave the inside scoop on that interview in Hindustan Times. Mahajan supposedly told Karan after the interview, "Mujhe theri bimari lag gayi re! Main interuppt karna seek liya!".
ps. This day was always supposed to be emotional for me, of a nostalgic variety but got compounded to be one of a tragic variety as well. Today I attended what would probably be my last class ever. I'm graduating next week!