The appointment of three Indian origin members of Parliament in the UK as cabinet ministers in the new government of prime minister Boris Johnson has caused considerable heartburn within your editor. As a law student in London over four decades ago, I was fairly active in British politics, first as an office worker for the Labour party and later with the Conservative party. However, although one was welcomed to help out with writing pamphlets and address meetings, I was firmly convinced that racism and racial discrimination against Asians and non-white people was too deeply ingrained within the natives of the rain-swept chilly islands. That’s why despite having the option to pupil in prestigious chambers after qualifying as a barrister and being invited to nurse a constituency for the Conservative party, your correspondent migrated to India to make a career here.
After returning to India, your idealistic correspondent began (a failed) career in politics with the Congress party, supported Jaiprakash Narayan’s Navnirman movement, and in protest against the Emergency of 1975-76 filed my nomination as an independent candidate for the Bombay South constituency risking my job at Rallis India — a Tata company — which disallowed employees’ active participation in politics. However, on nomination day I was persuaded to withdraw by elders of the newly formed Janata Party and to campaign for its candidate Ratansinh Rajda who was elected with a sweeping majority in 1977 and again in 1981. But after I was appointed editor of the pioneer Business India and later Businessworld, I focused my attention on liberalisation of the dirigiste, socialist economy, with some degree of success.
In 2013, your correspondent launched the Children First Party of India with the objective of making public education the #1 item on the national agenda. Not born into a mysteriously wealthy political dynasty, the business model was to fund the party with public subscriptions, especially from middle class India. Unfortunately, public response was a thunderous silence. Substantial savings wiped out in this venture, your correspondent’s political career is over. Hence the heartburn. In retrospect I made the wrong career move almost five decades ago. Perhaps it is better to serve in heaven than reign in hell.