Pranab Mukherjee : Losing patience you lose, keeping patience you gain

There is a very good Hindi Ghazal authored by Alok Shrivastav whose initial lines are – ‘Zara Paane Ke Chaahat Mein Bahut Kuchh Chhoot Jaata Hai, Na Jaane Sabra Ka Dhaaga Kahaan Par Toot Jaata Hai’ (in your bid to gain something, you lose a lot, don’t know where the thread of your patience breaks down). Very true as seen by me on many occasions in my life. And it’s a lesson which I have to learn perfectly so as never to allow it to leave my heart at any point of time, any occasion, any phase of life. Still the learning process goes on within me.

Pranab Mukherjee, the current President of India also learned it late but still his situation was that of better late than never. Once he learned this lesson properly, that learning paid him heavy dividends. His patience only has taken him to where he is today. Let me spell out certain things about his political journey which are not mentioned or talked about now but which are a lesson for all of us, not only the politicians. The invaluable lesson of patience which losing you lose, keeping you gain.


Pranab Mukherjee started his political career in 1969 and courtesy his loyalty to Mrs. Indira Gandhi, reached the position of Finance minister as well as no. 2 in her cabinet barely at the age of 46-47 years. He only appointed Manmohan Singh as the governor of the Reserve Bank of India in 1982 and remained his boss for more than two years.

This astounding and more than that, fast success only made him over-ambitious. When Mrs. Indira Gandhi was assassinated on 31.10.1984, he tried his level best to become the Indian premier but the then President of India – Giani Zail Singh proved more loyal to the Gandhi family and he invited Rajiv Gandhi to take oath as the Indian premier. Even after the unprecedented victory of Congress in the next general elections under Rajiv Gandhi, he tried to become the nation’s CEO, considering himself as more deserving than Rajiv Gandhi. His loss of patience cost him badly. Rajiv Gandhi first excluded him from the union cabinet of ministers and then after some time (in 1986) expelled him from the party seeing that Mukherjee was continuously opposing him within the party.

Forgetting the bitter truth that he’s a politician without any solid political ground under his feet, Mukherjee launched his own political outfit named as Raashtriya Samaajwaadi Congress, collecting some other other expelled congressmen the most prominent of whom was R. Gundu Rao, the ex-Chief Minister of Karnataka.

Sooner than later, Mukherjee came to understand that he’d done a blunder by contradicting Rajiv Gandhi and thereby losing his place in the party as his own political outfit had no base or relevance and therefore, he had no political future outside the Congress. As a consequence of this realization, he dissolved his namesake political party and returned back to Congress fold with folded hands in less than two years of his expulsion (apologizing to Rajiv Gandhi for whatever errors he had committed in the past and demonstrating his repentance). However Rajiv Gandhi only took him back to the party, not gave him any post either in the government or in the party.

Rajiv Gandhi got assassinated in 1991 and despite the Congress being in a position to form the government at the centre, Pranab Mukherjee was not considered for the top post because of his falling from grace in the recent past. Had he kept patience a few years back and waited for his time, destiny would have fulfilled his desire to become the Indian premier in 1991. However losing patience cost him dearly and P.V. Narasimha Rao got the coveted post like a windfall.

Gradually Mukherjee started gaining his lost political ground by showing a lot of patience and perseverance this time, waiting for his time to be back. Narasimha Rao made him the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission in 1991 and the Minister of External Affairs in 1995. The Congress remained out of power for eight long years and Mukherjee had to keep his patience to get something for a longer period of time.

In 2004 again, when despite the Congress’ coming to power at the centre, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi decided to forgo the top post; she did not consider Mukherjee for that because she very well remembered that it’s himself only who had tried to play Brutus to her husband two decades back. Old sins cast long shadows.

Now Pranab Mukherjee had to be content by becoming a junior to Manmohan Singh who was his junior two decades back and reported to him. But the way you lose some, the same way you gain some. Mukherjee finally became the President of India in 2012. His belated loyalty towards the Gandhi family finally paid after a long long wait and again he went ahead of Manmohan Singh in the order of protocol.

Thus the moral of the story called Pranab Mukherjee’s political journey is – patience is the key to the solution of many problems whereas lack of patience is the creator of them, hence it’s the best thing to keep patience when the tide of time is against you as Goswaami Tulsidaas has asserted in Raamcharitamaanas – ‘Dheeraj Dharma Mitra Aru Naari, Aapad-Kaal Parakhiye Chaari’ (crisis time is the assay for the veracity of four things – your patience, your Dharma or the virtues in you, your friend and your woman). We can see that Dheeraj or patience comes first among these four.

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About Jitendra Mathur

A Chartered Accountant with literary passion and a fondness for fine arts
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3 Responses to Pranab Mukherjee : Losing patience you lose, keeping patience you gain

  1. Sha'Tara says:

    Patience is indeed a difficult virtue to attain to. The best path to it that I have found is through the practice of detachment; of letting go of possessions, particularly possession of past wrongs suffered. You could say that patience is also attained through the practice of humility because for me anyway, humility is an easier path than patience – even if that reads as a contradiction. The difficulty with patience, or real patience and not just biding one’s time – a completely different concept – is letting go of expectations until none remain. Then patience demonstrates the open, boundless vistas of infinity. If we understood that our journey in life is infinite, not bound by a few years of physical bondage to a planet; that we are space-farers with destinations beyond billions of light-years, always plunging into the unknown, knowing we can never return and there is nothing we can do about that… perhaps we would then begin to understand what it means to be patient!

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