THE MONK WHO BECAME CHIEF MINISTER
By Shantanu Gupta
–Read India Initiative—
This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.
I just finished reading the book on UPs Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath. The author refers to him, ‘as a man on a mission.’ I took the book to hand with a specific objective in mind. Where, I was not looking for any literary sparks in it. But then, yes. I definitely wanted to understand. How in this devious, fierce and cut throat world of ours, a distinct ‘no one’ becomes an illustrious ‘someone’. What arsenal of characteristics; first as a child, then as a student and then as an adult did he possess to rise up to such great heights. The answers to which were not very underlined. And it can’t be. But then you need to catch hold of, the disguised hints, insights and even inferences provided by the author to ascertain the ‘whys and wherefores.’ Where, for a moment let us keep the element of destiny aside. Author has reinforced the title of the book by adding a sub-title—’The Definitive Biography of Yogi Adityanath’ as an inviting teaser on the cover page. He deals with the subdued, non flamboyant and traction less childhood of the protagonist in the last chapter. Which, I would have loved to read first.
The book can be divided into five major areas if we go by the chronology of the protagonist
- Ajay Bisht’s childhood and how he became Yogi Adityanath
- Gorakhdham Mutt
- His arrival and evolution as a politician.
- Misconceptions about him as a Hindu Hardliner
- His chapter as the Chief Minister
In the sleek book the author has but concisely described Ajay Bisht’s childhood. He hails from a low middle class background. In all they are seven siblings, three sisters and four brothers. Where, he happens to be at number five after three elder sisters and one elder brother. His father was a ranger in the forest department of Uttara Khand Government. Since childhood, Ajay was an avid reader of newspaper, so says his father and that meant. He was always aware of what was happening around the world. His educational life was spent in the hilly regions of Kumaon that now falls under Uttarakhand. He was always a subdued but a thinking child. Who loved nature, environment and even animals as can be seen, in the pictures filed in the book, and above all, a cow lover. In November 1993, Ajay left his village, his parents, his friends, and his studies and without disclosing much to anyone in the family, he left for Gorakhpur. And on 15 February 1994, on the auspicious occasion of ‘Basant Panchami’ he was anointed as a ‘Nath Panth Yogi’ by his guru and Chief Mahant (priest) Avaidyanath.
The book concisely describes his journey from college life where he was pursuing MSc in Maths to Gorakhdham Mutt and thereon, to the coliseum of politics. In detail it even describes his activities as a mahant and even when he takes over as head mahant. Where, he operated as man for the welfare of the needy. In fact he was the person who broke the bastion of the mighty gangs of the poorvanchal led by people like Harishanker Tiwari and Virendra Pratap Shahi. He happens to be a workaholic and clocks some 18-20 hours every day.
The book juggles between his ascetic, as well as his political journey quite sharply. He happens to be a Hindu hardliner but only for a Muslim hardliner. Otherwise he doesn’t harbour any first breath animosity with anyone. Even in Gorakhdham mutt his main contractor is a Muslim by the name of Ansari who can enter the temple any time even when Hindus cannot enter Mecca or Madina. When, Indian Muslims go for Haj. Their passports bear them out as Hindus—the point he makes.
The book throws up certain insights which are not known to the masses. It even connects you to a number of reports and names of several journalists who have a pathological hatred for him. His speeches about minorities have been covered in detail. The narration is full of press release links, quotes of journalists. Including TV shows such as ‘Ap ki Adalat’ and ‘AajTak.’ Most certainly one cannot determine whether a book can make or break a person’s image. But certainly it can change your opinion about the person.
Kudos to Shantanu for attempting a work of this nature. It’s a good read if you want to know the person inside the sheath.
By Kamlesh Tripathi
Share it if you like it
Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:
NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION
Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)
IFSC code: BKID0006805
GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE
(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)
ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY
(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)
AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES
(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)
REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD
(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)
TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN
(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha
(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)