Teachers’ Day Special: How these teachers-turned-politicians charted course of UP politics
Lucknow: It is Teachers Day, but there are no celebrations for politicians, who started out as teachers.
These teachers-turned-politicians have, since long, given up their academic activities and interests and many of the new generations do not even know that they started out as teachers.
These teachers-turned-politicians, in their own way shaped the politics of Uttar Pradesh in the past three decades – whether it was ‘Mandal’ or ‘Kamandal’—and pushed a national party like the Congress out of the political centre-stage in the state.
The most famous teacher turned politician is Mulayam Singh Yadav, former founder President of the Samajwadi Party.
Mulayam Singh Yadav, who completed his masters in Political Science, worked as a lecturer in a college in Karhal in Mainpuri before he was sucked into the vortex of the socialist movement and then politics.
Mulayam, sources say, has maintained contact with his former students, some of whom still visit him occasionally.
Interestingly, Mulayam has always been a champion of promoting politics among students.
“The colleges and universities should be a nursery for politicians and we must encourage students to take part in politics”, he has said on several occasions.
Today, however, this teacher-turned-politician has been relegated to the wings in state politics with his son Akhilesh Yadav having taken over the reins of the party. Mulayam’s appearances in public functions are becoming rarer by the day and the veteran politician is into semi-retirement and is suffering from age-related health issues.
BSP President Mayawati is another teacher-turned politician in Uttar Pradesh. The four-time Chief Minister started out as a teacher in Inderpuri J.J. Colony in Delhi.
She was studying for Civil Services examination when she met late Kashi Ram and the latter persuaded her to join politics instead.
Mayawati, however, does not meet her former students and neither is she inclined to revive her relationship with the past.
Satyadev Gautam, one of her students, said, “When she became Chief Minister for the first time, I tried to meet her but she simply refused to recognise me even though I introduced myself. She has not bothered to meet any of her ex-students.”
The BSP President is averse to ‘goondaism on the campus’ and had banned student union polls in 2008. “She is averse to ‘mobocracy’ that rules the campus and the BSP does not even have a youth wing or a student wing like other parties,” said an aide of the BSP leader.
After two consecutive defeats in the 2014 Lok Sabha and the recent 2017 Assembly elections, Mayawati and her party have been reduced to a non-player in state politics — for the moment, at least.
Another teacher turned politician who has risen to great heights, surpassing many of his peers, is Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
He may have deliberately cut himself off from state politics but he welcomes his former teacher colleagues and students with open arms.
Rajnath Singh, who worked as a physics lecturer in Mirzapur before plunging into politics, had created a furore with his first decision as Education Minister in Uttar Pradesh in 1991 when he brought in the Anti-Copying Act in 1992, making copying a non-bailable offence.
Former Chief Minister Kalyan Singh was also a teacher-turned-politician, who started his career as a school teacher in Aligarh before moving on to politics.
His former colleagues say that Kalyan Singh, who passed away last month, maintained a warm relationship with his former colleagues.