Former Indian cricketer Chetan Chauhan, who had opened on many a occasion with the legendary Sunil Gavaskar but could not reach a single three-figure mark in as many as 40 Tests, has been appointed as the chairperson of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT).
Chauhan, a two-time BJP MP, thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah for his appointment and even acknowledged that his appointment had come partly because he was a BJP member. [There is no shortage of Modi chamchas in Bollywood]
"This is a Government of India appointment. The names (for the post of chairman) are sent by the Ministry of Textiles...preference is given to people in the party (BJP)," The Indian Express quoted him as saying.
The tradition of political appointments perhaps is looking too odd now
Chauhan's appointment keeps up the tradition of the current NDA government's appointments as the heads of various institutions like the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Children's Film Society of India (CFSI) and Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). While actors Gajendra Chauhan and Mukesh Khanna have been appointed as the FTII and CFSI heads, veteran film-maker Pahlaj Nihalani is the chairman of the CBFC.
There is a similarity in each of these appointments as all of them are connected to the BJP.
Coming back to Chauhan's appointment, the NIFT Act of 2006 says the chairperson of the Board of Governors is expected to be "an eminent academician, scientist or technologist or professional, to be nominated by the Visitor" of the institute, who is the President.
When asked about his commitment to the NIFT, Chauhan, who is also the vice-president of the Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA), said he would devote 60 per cent of his time for the DDCA and 20 per cent each for the NIFT and his business.
When asked about his fashion sense since he is set to take over as the NIFT chairman, Chauhan said his fashion sense is not flamboyant but he likes to be well-dressed. He said he goes by what suits his age.
Doesn't matter whether Chauhan is a fashion expert; the question is: Why is NDA making these political appointments?
Whether the former cricketer is a fashion buff is not the point here; rather the question is: Why is the BJP-led NDA government is busy making political appointments to posts that are significant and demand accountability?
The ruckus at FTII and over Udta Punjab was not enough?
It has already been seen how these political appointments led to a major ruckus in FTII and over the release of the film Udta Punjab. In both cases, it was alleged that political influence made its way to suit the convenience of the power centre. In case of Udta Punjab, Nihalani's open remark that he is a "chamcha" of PM Modi even left the BJP red-faced and it had to issue a statement negating the super sycophancy of the CBFC chief.
Apart from these formal post-holders, there are too many 'Modi lovers' now; does Modi govt need to reward each one of them?
Even apart from these formal appointments, a number of voices are being heard in Bollywood backing the Modi regime. Some actors are seen questioning things that were politically correct during the Congress rule. The support for the change in Indian politics has been accepted at various levels---subtly or openly and there are efforts to get a share of the 'acche din' pie.
But why should the Modi government respond to these selfish quarters by rewarding them? Does it want to compromise with the merit by injecting into reputed institutions politics which is self-defeating?
Chauhan's appointment has been mocked at on Twitter. But only mocking isn't enough. This tendency of politicisation every sphere of the society needs to be stopped. But given our parties' pathetic records in preserving the free voice, who can do the job?