May 27, 2020
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T.N. Seshan

The Magsaysay awardee wants to initiate a new brand of politics and stay an enigma

T.N. Seshan
What do you think you have in common with Kiran Bedi, R.K. Laxman, Arun Shourie et al?
Excellence. Other than that, I haven't tried to find a factor.

What do you plan to do with the $50,000 prize?
Haven't decided yet. One thing is for sure. No house, car or TV. The money will be put to public use.

Politics will be worthwhile, you said, if you can wipe a tear from every eye. You have already started talking like a politician.
I don't want any part of the politics of self-aggrandisement. I'll initiate a new brand of politics. It's possible. If I don't succeed I'll retire to my lair.

Has the tiger lost its roar? You have become unusually quiet of late.
A musician doesn't sing the same octaves. But the shaili remains the same.

You've talked about Gandhi not holding any elected office and yet influencing history. Do you fancy yourself as another Mahatma in the making?
I was suggesting that it is wrong to think that there is only one way of becoming an opinion maker—by becoming a PM or minister. But if you count the Mahatma on the scale as 1,000, nobody should grudge me being granted a 1.

You have a strong fan club. What makes you popular among the masses?
In the enveloping darkness, I think I've managed to light a candle.

What about your colleagues? You seem to rub them the wrong way.
I demand and exact performance and efficiency. A lot of people aren't comfortable with that and I have a short temper. In any change, the primary path is of character and law. If anybody stands in the way, he needs to be mowed down.

Now that elections are over, how do you occupy yourself?
Elections to Kashmir and UP are pending. The electoral rolls are not as good, the ID-cards process is only 50 per cent complete and electoral reforms are on top of my agenda.

You like nice things been written about you...
I object to untruth. I've never told anyone not to write bad reports. But don't twist words.

What would Seshan's epitaph say?
I would like it to be a blank stone and remain an enigma. Like the five blind men of Hindustan, people see parts of me. No single epitaph would cover different aspects of me.

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