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An Open Letter to Dr. E. Sreedharan

Dear Sir,

When I first learnt about your electoral loss, I couldn’t say if I was disappointed or happy. My sentiments were, to say the least, ambivalent.

As an unpolitical person, it didn’t concern me which party you represented or what its ideology was. What I thought when you jumped into the fray was — here is a man recognized for his integrity and commitment to public service, aspiring to come to a position of political power from where he could offer us more of his goodness. How better could it get?

The best thing was you were contesting from my home constituency! It heightened my excitement, raised my expectations, and made me cheer for you from a distance. Had I been back there, trust me, I would have cast my vote for you even if you had contested without party affiliations. Because I wanted to see you getting things done for my hometown. That you would deliver for us was a given.

Alas! It was not to be. You didn’t make it to the Assembly as I wished. I was a tad disheartened when the final verdict came and my hopes for my hometown were dashed. But now, a day after the results, I am more sorted in my head. I am happy you didn’t win.

Let me explain.

For starters, I will desist from using the word ‘defeat’ while referring to the outcome; not because you gave your contestants a run for their money or you made them sweat till the last ballet box was opened, but because if what you have accomplished in the 89 years that you have walked this nation isn’t success, what is? Not even the shadow of ‘defeat’ can fall on your extraordinary past and taint it.

Come to think of it, it is not your feats as metro-man alone that makes me revere you. What makes me put you on the pedestal is the manner in which you went about doing your duties. You are a true manifestation of Karma Yoga.

It must be this undying zeal to selflessly serve the nation and its people that made you step into the world of politics. You could never have hankered after power and pelf. That could never have been your motive. If anything, you may have wanted to remain useful to the society till the end. As we can see, retirement to you only meant ending one job to begin another.

Nevertheless, the Universe had other plans for you. It probably decided that you had toiled adequately, and it was time for to you sit back and savour life in tranquility. You have done enough, beyond the capacity of an ordinary mortal, with all your physical, mental and spiritual reserves. Now, you deserve to have moments of peace.

Sir, it doesn’t matter to me that the political mantle didn’t fall on you and you didn’t get a new stint in public life.

I have heard about your deep, spiritual leanings. Perhaps, you could impart the insights to us in the remaining years of your life and help us conduct our lives in a rewarding manner. You have the unparelled experience of a lifetime which we could still use to our advantage.

Who can tell us better about how to run the business of life with such equanimity? Who can teach us better how to shoulder responsibilities without buckling under pressure? Who could explain to us better the secret of dispensing duty with alacrity? Who else can say with authority that one can be both a monk and a material man at the same time?

Extend it to us, in ways you deem fit. Either by public means or private, in the name of politics or philanthropy, whatever you do will add quality to the people’s lives around you.

To that end, my salutations to you. Many congratulations on a life fully expended with purpose and practical wisdom. You are a lot more than votes and victory.

Thank you for building a paradigm of perfect living for us.

I wish you happiness, peace and fulfilment always.

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I wholeheartedly agree with your views and sentiments expressed in this article. However in my view, Mr Sreedharan had a definite objective in mind when he decided to take the plunge into active politics, knowing very well that he would be one among the few of his party if the party had fared well. An aware person like him would also know that it is extremely difficult to make an impact in the bipolar nature of Kerala's politics. I however have the feeling that he has not understood the people of Kerala as well as he understands his profession. I have been a non-resident Keralite for long and only recently started living in the state. I have seen that ther…

Asha Iyer Kumar
Asha Iyer Kumar
May 07, 2021
Replying to

Thank you for sharing your views so candidly. From an analytical point, these were precisely my views and questions too. This particular piece, however, didn't address those things because the bigger picture is lot complicated. (As you will know from my previous writings, I write simpler things that is more related to life. It makes me introspect and evolve as a person. I also believe that it will help my readers get perspectives that they don't generally find time to ponder on. I have long since stopped writing political commentary or social criticism. It hardly serves any purpose.) Coming back to your observations, I don't know if Dr. Sreedharan truly believes in his party's ideology. If yes, it must be a…

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