Made in Chandigarh: Panjab University groomed me for politics, says MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy
I am perhaps the only Parliamentarian in the world, operating Airbus A-320 jets and serving as a senior first officer with one of the leading private airlines of India.Updated: Jun 23, 2018 14:13 IST
A well-known parliamentarian and a passionate pilot who flies for a leading carrier of India, Rajiv Pratap Rudy says he enjoys picking up a new skill every few years.
I am a Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) and chairman, Standing Committee on Water Resources.I have also been a former Union Minister of State, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (Independent Charge), Parliamentary Affairs, Commerce and Industry, Civil Aviation (Independent Charge). Besides all this, I was also National General Secretary and spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
I was born and raised in Patna. My ancestral home is Amnour, which is primarily a rural block in the Saran district of Bihar.
I graduated in Economics honours, and have a degree in Law from Panjab University. Later, I did post-graduation in Economics from Magadh University. I am also a trained commercial pilot with A-320 type rating from Florida, USA.
My Chandigarh connect
I moved to Chandigarh after my schooling from St. Michaels High School, Patna, and completed my pre-university and pre-engineering from DAV College in Sector 10. Thereafter, I enrolled for B.A (Hons.) in Economics at Government College, Chandigarh, which was then called the Government College for Men in Sector 11.
It was during this time, I created a political front for students called the Progressive Student Front (PSF) and was elected as the president of students union in the Government College. I still remember I used to live in a hostel located outside the campus in Sector 15. Later, I decided to do LLB from Panjab University (PU), where I was elected the general secretary of the PU Students Union in the year 1983-84. Possibly, I was the only outsider during those days to get elected to the PU students union. I found great acceptance amongst people of Chandigarh despite coming from a remote rural region of Bihar.
It was in the city that I was bitten by the flying bug. I had my initial flying experience and training as a pilot at the Patiala Flying Club where I was selected by the National Cadet Corps Air Wing. I still take great pride in my NCC-B Certificate.
Areas of Expertise
I am perhaps the only Parliamentarian in the world, operating Airbus A-320 jets and serving as a senior first officer with one of the leading private airlines of India. I consider myself very fortunate, for I have flown a Sukhoi 30-MKI, a fighter aircraft in the Indian Air Force, the Rafael fighter Jet and Gripen, world-class supersonic fighter jets, on different occasions. Professionally, I was a teacher of economics in a university in Bihar, and had a brief stint as a legal counsel at the Patna High Court.
The Turning Point
During my graduation days at Chandigarh and subsequently, I was actively associated with former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar. I used to look after the youth wing at the all India level as the president of Chhatra Janata. After completing my education in Chandigarh, I returned to my native Chhapra in Bihar and worked relentlessly for the next five years. The turning point came in the year 1990 when I was elected as a Member of Legislative Assembly from Taraiya in Bihar at the age of 28. I shall always be thankful to my parents, professors, political leaders, seniors and all the people who supported me during my career and journey.
What I owe to Chandigarh
It was in this city that I started my journey in politics as well as in the blue skies. I first gained recognition as a politician when I was made the campaign in charge of Harmohan Dhawan, who was contesting from the Chandigarh Lok Sabha constituency in 1989. He was elected as a Member of Parliament and was sworn in as the Minister of Civil Aviation in the Chandra Shekhar Government.
Chandigarh groomed me for my days in politics. It was due to the confidence I gained in the city that I got into a bigger political role in Bihar, and subsequently at the national level. I will always remember and cherish my days in this beautiful city whose people gave me their unflinching love and support.
My Secret Sauce
I pick up a new profession and activity every three-four years to keep myself going and motivated. I started training as a commercial pilot at the age of 45 which is usually unheard of. I am also the Secretary (Administration) at the Constitution Club of India (CCI). Over the last two decades, the CCI has emerged as a meaningful forum that cuts across party lines to bring together past and present Members of Parliament as one family through its day-to-day activities. I am also the president of Aero Club of India, which is the apex body of all flying clubs/institutions engaged in flying training and aero-sports in the country.
How has the city changed, and the change I want to see in the city
I greatly admire Chandigarh for its serenity, greenery, smooth roads and its affectionate people. I have fond memories of its empty roads and green pavements. However, over a period of time, it’s become more populated. there are many more vehicles on the road, many more buildings on the streets, and the air is no longer free of pollutants.
Nonetheless, it is one of the most beautiful cities in the country. For me, it will always remain one of the best academic centres. The education imparted in Chandigarh is still possibly the best in the country. Some of my batch-mates and friends at PU are today occupying exalted positions in judiciary, bureaucracy, politics, government service and private sector. People like Sukhbir Singh Badal, Manish Tewari, Selja Kumari, Justice Nirmaljit Kaur, Justice Tejinder Singh Dhindsa, Justice Ritu Bahri, Justice Bawa Singh Walia, Anmol Ratan Sidhu, president of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association, Justice Amit Rawal, Rupinder Khosla, former AG of Punjab, Anil Khosla, owner of design institutes, and several others have carved a niche for themselves in their respective fields.
My advice to youngsters
It is very important to work hard and continue to learn all your life. There is a lot you can accomplish in one lifetime if you put your heart and soul in all that you do.
(Headline has been corrected)