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Friday, Aug 23, 2019

Monday Musings: RV Krishnan’s India was made of clean politics, good governance

He was engaged in public life as one who sought to make a difference to society but Krishnan was far ahead of his times to imagine that ‘professionals’ would vote conscientiously

pune Updated: Nov 27, 2017 15:12 IST
Abhay Vaidya
Abhay Vaidya
Hindustan Times, Pune
RV Krishnan
RV Krishnan(HT PHOTO)

A flood of memories enveloped the mind with the news of the sad demise of RV Krishnan who made an imprint on Pune on multiple fronts.

Krishnan (67) who passed away on Friday, was well-known in business circles as the founder of Business Development Bureau (India) Private Limited (BDB). A chemical engineer by training, he set up BDB in 1989 as a business research and consultancy firm, which, over the years, earned a solid reputation with a large number of clients within and outside India.

On another front, he was also engaged in public life as a person who took keen interest in the social and political affairs of the country, and as one who sought to make a difference to society.

I had known him as someone who was always optimistic and cheerful with a pleasant smile and disposition. Just a few months ago when we last spoke he had mentioned in the passing that he was undergoing treatment for cancer. There were other things he wanted to discuss- some newspaper articles that he found interesting and, a possible media partnership with his consultancy firm. He had invited me to visit his office and meet his senior colleagues for a discussion, and the only thing that was missing conspicuously was his presence.

In previous years, there used to be numerous telephonic conversations and occasional meetings when Krishnan was the president of the Professionals Party of India (PPI). This was around 2008-09 when this party was preparing for the 2009 Lok Sabha polls in the hope that at least professionals – those from the sizeable middle class who were well-educated and well-qualified would make an impact on politics with their votes, which was often wasted.

The party sought to fight radical fanatics, caste and communal politics and it saw a solution in “enlightened governance”. The PPI called for “complete transfusion of new, enlightened and forward looking blood into Indian politics,” without which, it said, the country would be doomed to anarchy and barbarism.

At one level, the PPI was modest in its ambitions because all it wanted was just a handful of seats in Parliament. At the same time, it was also over-ambitious because it was trying to make a direct leap to the Lok Sabha, without a solid track record on the ground and without understanding the dynamics of grassroots politics. There were intellectual debates and discussions, but these alone could not win votes. Also, Krishnan was ahead of his times- and even Utopian- to imagine that at least ‘professionals’ would make a difference by voting conscientiously and punish candidates who were corrupt and driven by caste and communal considerations.

That was by and large the first and last encounter that Krishnan had with politics. But he did not give up on his engagement with the city.

One of the finest book clubs in the city exists in the form of BDB Book Club which Krishnan had launched some seven years ago. He felt the need for a book club that would discuss non-fiction books, especially those that were relevant to the corporate world. Indeed, the book club has grown from strength to strength, year after year, managed most ably by one of Krishnan’s hand-picked colleagues. He had discussed some years ago that he was keen to do something similar on the cultural front and was in search of a suitable partner.

I will always remember Krishnan for his positivity and optimism, his cheerfulness and resilience even as he faced the biggest battle of his life.

First Published: Nov 27, 2017 15:11 IST

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