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COLUMN: Ode to Jairam Ramesh (my middle class hero of pan-IIT fame)

Jairam Ramesh is like no other. He is one of those people who inspire envy in everyone. Whether you are a colleague, a ‘star anchor’, a journalist hanger-on of power ministers or an apologist for any of India’s prominent political parties.

Sometimes it seems everyone in Delhi hates Jairam Ramesh.

And boy, does he give them reasons to!

He is like no other. He enjoys publicity like no other, he is intelligent like no other and worst of all, he’s effective like no other. (Madam likes him too.)

When other ministers are reviled and mocked by middle class India for corruption, Jairam remains untouched by all the muck. He shines above everyone else — telling everyone why they should feel guilty for driving a diesel SUV and sucking out all the oxygen, and subsidies, from the man on the street. He chides the greens, he slays the (corporate) giants.

He can do no wrong. He can make the most mundane subject the object of screaming media attention. He just needs to open his mouth. He can ressucitate a dead issue like the proliferation of diesel cars with just an off the cuff remark (and have the Press ponder over it for days.)

He can make riding with the chauffeur fashionable, even in a class-conscious capital. Heck, he can even weave in ‘conscience’ to drab Government orders — add a touch of drama and keep his electorate entertained.

Is it any wonder then that he is torn apart by those jealous at his ‘Midas touch’ at the slightest provocation? Is it then any wonder that a statement that expressed what most educationists in India felt — that Indian institutions are only geared towards creating prospective employees for its swashbuckling corporations?

Oh, the burden of being Jairam, of being the sole middle class hero! Can someone please help him, or should I say farewell to my last middle class hero?

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