Three Cs to success, Jayant style

Union minister promotes integrity and hard work at RU student meet

By ACHINTYA GANGULY
  • Published 8.09.16
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Union minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha at the programme at Aryabhatta Auditorium in Ranchi on Wednesday. Picture by Hardeep Singh

Character, competence and compassion make or unmake a man, Union minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha said on Wednesday.

The Harvard graduate - and a member of arguably India's most famous quiz team in 1985 - was addressing an interactive programme at a packed Aryabhatta Auditorium in the state capital, where a bunch of wide-eyed Ranchi University students lobbed questions at him.

"I have learnt the importance of the three Cs during my journey (from Hazaribagh, the constituency he represents in Parliament, to Harvard)," Jayant told the 700-plus students and teachers.

Character is made of integrity, honesty, values and self-esteem, the Union minister said while sharing an anecdote. He recalled how he had marginally missed the cut-off to become a Baker Scholar, but Harvard Business School in Boston, US, had declared him a part of the programme until he pointed out the mistake.

"Competence you gain through hard work and perseverance whereas compassion is a quality one needs to show while pursuing character and competence," said the 53-year-old politician, also an alumnus of IIT-Delhi and University of Pennsylvania, as he reflected on his meetings with a galaxy of Indian professors and intellectuals including Nobel laureate Amartya Sen.

Born in Giridih and son of former Union minister Yashwant Sinha, Jayant underscored that it was difficult for many to return from an established life abroad. "The homecoming process is successful only when your family extends support to your decision. One should choose a public life only when one is prepared to make it the priority," he said.

Referring to his recently ended stint as Union minister of state for finance, Jayant said: "Imagine the situation when Raghuram Rajan, my batchmate from IIT-Delhi and quiz partner, was the RBI governor and I MoS (finance)."

Their departure from their respective posts had prompted quizmaster Siddhartha Basu to comment, "IIT-Delhi quiz team disbanded".

Jayant and Rajan had represented IIT-Delhi on the first-ever Quiz Time in 1985, and then went on to do more in running the finances of the country. Rajan was eliminated by a guest quizmaster from the Rajya Sabha and Jayant has been shunted to the civil aviation team.

During the rapid fire round, a female student of RU asked Jayant whether there should be a minimum academic qualification criterion for people's representatives. "In a democracy, the janata janardan (people) is supreme. Let them decide," the minister said.

On why he didn't stick to the corporate world despite his glittering credentials, Jayant said it was a very personal choice. Asked to rate himself as a politician on a scale of 10, he added, "I am not judgemental. So, you evaluate me."