Learn, Earn and Return

Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu, the 13th Vice-president of India ‘retired’ from his current position, as his term ended today – 10th August 2022.

Born to a farmer at Chavatapalem in the Nellore ditrict of Andhra Pradesh on July 1, 1949 was a fiery orator since his childhood days and started public life as a teenager with the ABVP after hearing then Jan Sangh leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was also a masterclass orator. Legend has it that he joined an RSS ‘shakha’ as a 14-year-old just for the game of ‘kabaddi’.

I had the opportunity of working closely with his office, few years back when he was the Minister for Urban Development, and I was a communication consultant and part of the external team with the Ministry, for their key initiatives including Swachh Bharat and Smart City. Besides other initiatives, during that tenure, he was instrumental in putting in place legislation for the RERA – real estate regulator.

Working in his ministry, I observed how he managed to maintain the ministerial duty as well as his role of a senior party leader and the discipline with which he balanced his public and personal life. While he was famous for his oratory  skills and one liners his fondness for playing badminton and non-vegetarian food. He was known for playing the role of a great host, with food and hot ginger milk at his parties usually being a big hit.

With a penchant for arriving early to events he was stickler for starting and finishing meetings on time, with punctuality being his personal hallmark.

Known for his witty and humorous wordplay, Venkaiah Naidu is a case study for communication professionals on how how to develop skills to be precise and effective. Coming from south of India, a non- Hindi speaking person, he proved many of his critics wrong by gaining immense popularity with his outspoken nature and peppering his speeches with catchy alliterations and rhymes.

He was vocal in stating how language was an issue close to him and had immense respect for his mother tongue stating “Primacy should be given to mother tongue. Be it a school, college or university, the administration should be carried in respective State official languages.

While there are many famous one liners of him, putting few of my favorites:

Learn, earn and return – on students going abroad for higher studies.

People want the house to discuss, debate and decide – 3D’s. They do not want the other D, that is disruption

Happy being ‘Ushapati’ (the husband of Usha) who is his wife – when asked about his interest in becoming the Rashtrapati

We are not enemies but rivals who should work to outshine each other and not run down each other – on political opposition

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