The visit of a VIP to a small town

Author: 
Prem Prakash Sharma

Prem Prakash Sharma (popularly known as PP) was born in Sikar, Rajasthan in 1959. He graduated in B.Sc. (PCM) from Government College, Neem ka Thana, Rajasthan. He went on to finish his education with a three-year law degree and masters in political science from University of Rajasthan.

PP joined Customs and Central Excise and was posted to several cities, international airports and sea ports across India in a career spanning 36 plus years.

PP retired on superannuation from Jaipur in January 2019 where he lives with his elderly parents, families of two brothers, his wife Sadhana, son Vivek and daughter Niharika. Both his children are excelling at their studies.

PP is a keen follower of cricket played the around the world, having himself played competitive games at various levels. His favourite pastime post-retirement is to look after his family, play golf and listen to some soul-searching music.

Editor's Note: This is the second part of PP's memories about his childhood. The first part can be read here: A Journey of Our Days.


I dive deep into the memory lane of my childhood to recall the visit of a VIP to my neighbouring town, Neem ka Thana, in the neo-feudal era of Indian politics that began when Indira Gandhi won the elections in a landslide in 1971.

Raj Bahadur on a 5 rupee commemorative postage stamp released in 2013 by India Post.

This was the occasion when hundred odd children, including me, from my school were transported to a public meeting of the then Union Cabinet Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Shipping & Transport, Mr. Raj Bahadur, a three-time Member of Parliament from Bharatpur.

Raj Bahadur had also been a freedom fighter and suffered imprisonment twice (1940-47); a member of India’s Constituent Assembly (1948-50); and a Union Minister under three Prime Ministers – Pandit Nehru (1951-64), Lal Bahadur Shastri (1964-66) and now Indira Gandhi (1966-71).

Thousands of people had gathered at the venue, owing to the transportation arrangements made by the local leaders.

As students of 7th and 8th standard, we were excited about visiting the town and getting half a day’s respite from the boring classroom sessions. We were happy during the afternoon journey, in an open truck, to the meeting spot 7 kilometres away from our school. It took us half an hour to reach the destination.

 
Neem Ka Thana, Rajasthan

Neem Ka Thana, Rajasthan

The hot and humid weather in the month of September was least bothering for us, but waiting for the VIP for more than two hours drained our energy. We were thirsty and became restless by the time the VIP finally arrived on stage.

Then the drama started with a long formal introduction of the Minister by his Personal Assistant and ended with a brief speech by the Minister himself.

 
Indira Gandhi at an election rally in the mid-1970s.

Indira Gandhi at an election rally in the mid-1970s.

The speech was meaningless for school children, who rushed outwards as soon as the speech got over, even before the VIP left the stage.

The vehicles which transported people to the meeting place had already vanished and we were disappointed to know that there were no buses for the return journey.

Therefore, around 7 PM, after drinking tap water which was available along the road side, we marched back to home on foot for nearly an hour. While walking back, all of us were chanting the slogan ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’.

This was my first and the last attendance in a political meeting while in school.

Comments

PP nothing has changed since then. Public is even today gathered,treating them like herd of sheep & goat, in the same manner for the comfort & publicity of the leader. They are even today left to go back on their own. Only difference is that in earlier days people returned singing and dancing whereas now a days they return looting the food shops and vandalizing public property.

Nicely written.An experience well explained

Rotten politics - when you are that young, you have no interest in politics!

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