Union minister Kapil Sibal, took a break from his political duties to bring out of the closet a poet in himself at the DSC Jaipur Literature af Festival. Reading from his book, I-Witness, an anthology of poems, he reflected on issues such as globalization, politics, leftist ideology and minorities.
Quite used to holding court as a minister, he tried his best to win over the audience with a well-prepared act as a socially-sensitive politician.
"Our nation was full of grief when terrorist attacked in Mumbai happened, some weeks later I wrote one of the strongest poems of this collection, Will Rise to Quell the Storm."
Enjoying the attention he revealed the process of writing poems, "This is a discovery within, the poems were written on mobile. When my dear wife travels with me, either I'm asleep or writing a book."
Ashok Chakradhar said, "I have seen Kapil as more of a poet than a politician, his poems have ideas, this Kapil(the poet) is so different than what we have seen of him as a public figure."
Charged by the adulation, Sibal talked more about his poems, "I believe we're in a world of convulsive capitalism, as the past is slowly collapsing and future is uncertain and we're in the midst of change. In India, social media is vibrant, but there's a huge conflict and injustice in society. These poems address many issues, theres one on globalisation, another one on leftist ideolgy."
And as if suddenly remembering the upcoming elections, he said, "There's also a poem on the dalits."
As the audience sniggered and laughed at this cheap political gimmick, he added, "I have very close relations with the minority, there's an unjust world out there."
The audience wouldn't decide whether to keep out the politics and enjoy the poems or judge him by his actions as a man of power.
On being asked by an audience member about a peaceful dialogue with Anna Hazare, the minister did what he does best - talk in circles.
"I think peace can only come about through discourse and dialogue. Amidst some booing and cries of 'wrong', Sibal added, "If you say my way or the highway, there can't be any peace."
As the situation threatened to turn into a political press conference, Namita Gokhle came to his rescue and banned people from asking questions about Anna Hazare. As if that could end the volley of questions!
The telecommunication minister has been caught in a censorship row after he remarked that defamatory comments on social networking sites should be screened before going public.
A question on this issue, irked the minister.
"This government doesn't believe in Censorship. Nobody has banned the Internet, I haven't taken any step to do that," said a visibly irritated Sibal."
And this wasn't the end of his woes. A young man, caught in the throes of emotion, the man pleaded with him to make education more accessible to the poor.
But this didn't have any effect on the minister. He let Chakradhar pacify the young man with just a poem, while a stunned audience gaped with revulsion.