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Navjot Singh Sidhu steals show at Panjab University

Minister Sidhu was at the university to attend a flagship programme organised by the students’ welfare society.

punjab Updated: Sep 27, 2017 19:04 IST
Ifrah Mufti
Ifrah Mufti
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Navjot singh Sidhu,Panjab University,Chandigarh
Punjab local bodies and tourism minister Navjot Singh Sidhu during an interaction with students at Panjab University in Chandigarh on Tuesday.(Anil Dayal/HT)

Cricketer-turned politician, Navjot Singh Sidhu, proved to be a show stealer at Panjab University as students welcomed him amid loud cheering, camera flashes, applause and multiple standing ovations on Tuesday.

Sidhu, the minister of local government, tourism and cultural affairs in Punjab cabinet, was at the university to attend a flagship programme organised by the students’ welfare society (SWS), where he not only shared success stories of Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar and Shahrukh Khan but also fielded questions on Punjabi culture and language, Punjab’s youth, central funding for PU and reservation.

‘Prem parichey ko pehchaan banadeta hai, veerane ko gulistan banadeta hai, mein aap biti kehta hun, prem insaan ko bhagwan bana deta hai’: starting off with a ‘shair’, the anecdotal Sidhu went on to talk and interact with students for three hours.

ON CHAMPIONS

Sidhu shared how cricketer Kapil Dev became a champion. He said, “The great Indian all-rounder, Kapil Dev, set a world record in 1983. He was from DAV Public School where English is taught from Class 8 onwards. Around 300 mediapersons came to Ahmedabad to interview him. I tried convincing him to avoid it because it will be in English, but he refused. The first question he got was why Kapil Dev could not be produced. To this, Kapil paaji replied, ‘My mumma is 62 and papa is 70, another Kapil Dev cannot be produced’. Everybody burst into laughter. He had no fear of the unknown and that made him a champion.”

He narrated another story about cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, who sustained a critical nose injury after being hit by a ball. All of 16, with bloodshot eyes and internal bleeding, he continued to play. “The words of Tindlia (Tendulkar) still echo in my ears, ‘Main khelega’, and that is how he was another champion,” he said.

Sidhu also took a dig at Anil Kumble by calling him a cycle stand who did not matter to the team. He talked about former England cricketer and BBC commentator, Geoffrey Boycott, saying he had the divine right to insult Indians. “He insulted commentator Harsha Bhogle, but I gave it back to him after which he never insulted anybody,” he added.

Panjab University students taking a selfie with the cricketer-turned-politician. (Anil Dayal/HT)

ON PUNJAB’S YOUTH, CULTURE

Sidhu said approximately 50% of Punjab’s population was aged between 18 and 37 and all of them were taking some exam or the other to go abroad because there was no youth policy here. He added that he will chalk out a plan to visit each college and take feedback from students.

Sidhu said the language department of Punjab government has almost implemented a system where schoolchildren will be taught history and culture of Punjab, be it about Saragarhi, Gobind Singh, Sikh culture or Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

ON POLITICS

“I have given thousands of motivational speeches, been a commentator, a television celebrity, four-time MP, two-time MLA, but politics gives me maximum satisfaction as you can bring a positive difference in people’s lives. There are celebrities who contested and failed and never contested again. Amitabh Bachchan is the biggest example. I could fail, I could go down but I won’t stop trying. The image of the ugly politician must go,” he said.

Talking about reservation, he was asked whether a 94% scorer from a general category was inferior to a 35% scorer of the SC category, Sidhu said, “A person with two acres of land should not be compared to a person with 100 acres. Merit should be honoured but subsidies are essential. Government is responsible even towards the last person in the queue.”

INSPIRING WORDS FROM ‘SIXER SIDHU

Main beej bo dunga, phool khilke chaman nu bahaar denge... Te disha de dunga, te yeh naujawan milke Punjab nu sawaar denge.. (If I sow the seed, flowers will bring glory/If I give direction, Punjab’s youth will bring glory)

A person with two acres of land should not be compared to a person with 100 acres. Merit should be honoured but subsidies are essential.

Character is not made in a crisis, it is exhibited... Sympathies are for the weak, and the weak go to the cooking pot.

Man is but his mind and the mind is like a parachute and they don’t function until they are open

Life is not a lift, an instant coffee or a film of Amitabh Bachchan, where you will become successful after three good shots

Conquer adversity and you’ll be ten times bigger, five times smarter and you will shine like the sun.

First Published: Sep 27, 2017 18:51 IST