Connecting Regions of Asia.

Did you know our Parliament has not just politicians but also Renaissance men and women?



Politics isn’t a career choice in itself, as far as parliament’s website is concerned. But MPs do have the freedom to list multiple professions. Did you know L K Advani is a journalist, diplomat and trade unionist? That’s more versatility than even Ronald Reagan could boast — radio broadcaster, lifeguard and actor. Narendra Modi and Sonia Gandhi make simpler claims. He says he is a social worker. So does she. Actually, sit back and relax because the 16th Lok Sabha boasts as many as 119 social workers.

Agriculturists do better at 153 but businesspersons are worse off at 82, comforting those who worry that our polity has been captured by industrywallas. Some professions are really at the fringes. The Lok Sabha has one sportsperson, one scientist. Also, there’s only one strategy consultant — Rahul Gandhi. Guess it did need really niche skills to take the country’s most venerable party to its lowest ever tally. Like the US, we have plenty of advocates. This should mean we are very competitive at arguing, haggling. It would be nice to be like China too though. Lots of their political elite — including president Xi Jinping — are engineers. That speaks to development and infrastructure being priorities.

Along with scientists and engineers, artists are also in short supply in Lok Sabha. One person it may be missing these days is Mamata Banerjee. She is quite the Renaissance woman in terms of the versatility of her artistic talent — ranging from paintings, poetry, designing saris and coming up with logos for her programmes. The only art she’s not known to take a shine to is the lowly, even dastardly one of drawing humorous cartoons. If in Bengal one shouldn’t touch this profession with a barge pole — she can go to the extent of imprisoning its practitioners.


This piece appeared as an editorial opinion in the print edition of The Times of India.


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