Teachers-turned-politicians who shaped the politics of Uttar Pradesh

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Teachers-turned-politicians who shaped the politics of Uttar Pradesh

It is Teachers’ Day; but there are no celebrations for politicians, who started out as teachers on the political landscape of Uttar Pradesh (UP).
Lucknow: It is Teachers’ Day; but there are no celebrations for politicians, who started out as teachers on the political landscape of Uttar Pradesh (UP).

These teachers-turned-politicians, who had since long given up their academic activities and interests, are no longer playing a role in UP politics.

In fact, 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 was 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, had maintained contact with his former students, some of whom continued to visit him even when he ceased to be active in politics.

Interestingly, Mulayam had 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 had said on several occasions.

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 Kanshi 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 consecutive defeats in the 2014 Lok Sabha, the 2017 and 2022 assembly elections and the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, 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 Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

He may have deliberately cut himself off from state politics but he still 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 in 2021, had always maintained a warm relationship with his former colleagues.

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