‘One can’t undo the ba­sic traits and qual­i­ties’

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - Live - - FRONT PAGE - Ruchika Garg ruchik­a­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore is one of the fittest min­is­ters in the coun­try. And he is also one of those who knows how to ap­peal to the youth of the na­tion.

Min­is­ter of State (Youth Af­fairs and Sports, and In­for­ma­tion and Broad­cast­ing) Rathore says, “I have spent a large part of my life as an Army man. And I was a sports per­son, too. Even if one gets into pol­i­tics, one can’t undo the ba­sic traits and qual­i­ties. There­fore, I am just what I am; there­fore, I am happy that youth is able to con­nect with me.”

They surely do: Last year, he kicked-off a wave of fit­ness aware­ness in the coun­try by post­ing a fit­ness chal­lenge video in which he him­self was seen do­ing burpees. In no time, from celebri­ties to com­mon peo­ple, ev­ery­one was seen fol­low­ing his ex­am­ple. He says it is “very crit­i­cal” that the young gen­er­a­tion is taken se­ri­ously. “It is very crit­i­cal that we are able to com­mu­ni­cate as gov­ern­ment, as par­ents and as teach­ers with to­day’s youth. In­dia is go­ing to be spear­headed by them, the young gen­er­a­tion, so we must be able to lis­ten to and com­mu­ni­cate with them.”

An Olympic sil­ver medal­list, he says sports back­ground has helped him serve the sports min­istry bet­ter. “I un­der­stand the en­tire at­mos­phere of sports. So, it’s eas­ier for me to be able to pro­vide a di­rec­tion to In­dian sports. Yet, I have to say that it’s the sort of path that the Prime Min­is­ter is giv­ing to this depart­ment,” says Rathore who has won 25 in­ter­na­tional medals for Dou­ble Trap Shoot­ing.

He adds, “Our phi­los­o­phy about sports is very sim­ple: We de­cided to change the ‘VVIP syn­drome’. Of­fi­cials, fed­er­a­tion of­fi­cials, man­agers, etc., have to take a back-seat... We have put the sportsper­son on the fore­front.”

He feels that a lot of “ground” has been “cov­ered” as far as the VVIP cul­ture be­ing a norm in the sys­tem is con­cerned. And there is still more. But to achieve this much, he had to “go through the process” “fight­ing” and “plead­ing with the sys­tem” with the “hope that some sort of sys­temic help is pro­vided to us”.

Not one to mince words, the In­for­ma­tion and Broad­cast­ing Min­is­ter (State) feels strongly about free­dom of ex­pres­sion in In­dia for one and all. “In In­dia, the free­dom of speech is ab­so­lute. There are no two ways about it. It is un­ques­tion­able. But, with the free­dom of speech, the same con­sti­tu­tion also gives us a sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity and du­ties.

If these two things are kept in mind, the coun­try will con­tinue to grow stronger and there will be no ques­tion­ing of free­dom of ex­pres­sion,” says the Padma Shri awardee.

I have spent a large part of my life as an Army man. And I was a sports per­son, too. Even if one gets into pol­i­tics, one can’t undo the ba­sic traits and qual­i­ties. RAJYAVARDHAN SINGH RATHORE POLITI­CIAN

PHOTO: SONU MEHTA/HT

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