Father comes first, gods later
from doctor to minister, Tushar Chaudhary has come a long way. And he’s at peace, writes Kumkum Chadha.india Updated: Jul 24, 2009 00:19 IST
Father above, god below.
That seems to be the rule in Tusharbhai Chaudhary’s house. High on the wall is a garlanded picture of his father, the late Amarsinh Chaudhary. Below that are two photos of the gods, vermilion smeared on them.
Quite justified, given that Chaudhary (43) owes his present to his father and his past to the gods — they helped him qualify as a doctor, a profession he quit within two years. His father, on the other hand, was his stepping stone to politics. A strongman in Gujarat politics, Amarsinh Chaudhary ruled the state and later headed the state Congress outfit.
Tushar Amarsinh Chaudhary (43), Minister of State for Tribal Affairs
Dream: To be famous like his father
Inspiration: Rajiv Gandhi, who led young people into politics
Fear factor: After active politics, what?
Our take: Low-profile, pleasant guy; needs to break out of his shell
Had it not been for the “son syndrome”, Chaudhary’s mother, Gajaraben, would have been where he is today. She was in politics much before her son made his debut. But when it came to making it a career, it was, as Chaudhary Sr often said, a “man’s game”.
Yet, not one that, in his perception, his son Tushar should play. Left to Amarsinh, he would have pitched for younger son Tejas. But Tushar staked claim and the family relented.
Chaudhary was first elected an MLA in the Gujarat assembly in 2002. He became an MP within two years. This is his second term as MP and his first in the Union Cabinet, as Minister of State, Tribal Affairs. All in Dad’s name.
A qualified doctor, Chaudhary initially hated politicians. To him, it was synonymous with the abuse of power and financial impropriety. Quite different from his world then, earning Rs 4,000 a month and Rs 70 a day as travel allowance.
His first posting as medical officer entailed identifying lepers, something he is still adept at.
“It is the colour of the patch or the bruised fingers that are a giveaway. I can tell one (a leper) anywhere,” he told HT.
If his father’s lucky number was 13, Chaudhary has a 9 and 5 fixation — 9 because the goddess he prays to has nine avatars (manifestations), and 5 because the first vehicle (a Luna moped) he bought was numbered thus.
Numerology, however, was no help when it came to being on stage and giving speeches. Ask Manoj Thakur, Chaudhary’s speech writer, and he tells you how tough it was: “I’d begin and he’d repeat, often concluding within a minute. Later, he managed about five minutes.”
Yet, whenever Chaudhary watched his father on stage, he said to himself: “One day, I will be there…”
And he made it. Finally.