'Mera Baap Commissioner Hai' culture is giving way to a more meritocratic society - thankfully!
Rohit Bansal | August 24, 2014
Much is being made out of Rohit Kumar Yadav's ascent to presidentship of St Stephen's College Union - Students Union Society, as it is described within the community.
Much should be.
For those tuning in late, Mr Yadav is the son of a gardner in the College - the first time since 1881 that a Group D (described as 'Class IV' by the Times of India this morning) parent has had a child in this position.
A Rohit Yadav was possible only because of the noble soul in our Constitution. Ask why! The admission happened only because Principal Valsan Thampu, as head of a minority institution had the bandwidth, unlike most other principals, to waive off the young applicant's dearth of marks in grade XII.
Having weaved past the need-blind-cut-off' criteria, Mr Yadav's success, including wowing his electorate with an all-Hindi campaign, makes him a poster child for affirmative action.
But this quick essay isn't about the tricky area of affirmative action versus 'pure merit', or to take sides on whether President Obama would have made it to Harvard but for his colour.
My happiness goes beyond Mr Yadav and my fellow Stephanians.
For, in this year alone, at least two other Indians from very humble backgrounds have made it to the top of their professions without any reservations.
Dalbir Singh Suhaag, the son of an army subedar, became the chief of the Indian army.
And Narendra Modi, a humble tea vendor, became the prime minister.
Gen Suhaag leads an institution that's stereotyped as elitist - its brass, spit and polish of the burra sahibs often colouring an earthiness deep-down.
Similarly, NaMo on a chair that aristocrats like Pandit Nehru and his next two generations occupied is another example of where hard work can take.
Three examples in a year can't be pure fluke. That too in a country where traffic violators still slide their car window and tell the cop, "Jaante nahin mera baap commissioner hai!"
Something is going right in India!
(The columnist is a former editor and works at the intersect of media, regulation and strategy on RIL. The views are personal. Follow the piece on #EagleEye)