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Last updated: 11 Mar, 2023  

Gulab.9.thmb.jpg From school teacher to Assam Guv: Gulab Chand Kataria recounts his journey

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IANS | 11 Mar, 2023
From being a geography teacher in a small school in Rajasthan to being appointed as Assam Governor, Gulab Chand Kataria has come a long way.

Despite being a political stalwart in the Mewar region after being elected eight times as an MLA and one time as MP, Kataria is known for his simplicity and humble profile.

Not many know that Kataria started his career as a geography teacher in a small school in Rajasthan, but gradually became aware of the geography of Mewar region.

When he was serving as the leader of opposition in Rajasthan, he was appointed as Assam Governor.

Hailing from a humble background, Kataria had to walk miles across the hilly terrains of Mewar, ride on bicycle and bike to strengthen the organisation and to reach out to the people. Here are excerpts from the interview:

IANS: From a school teacher in a small town in Rajasthan to Assam Governor... How do you narrate the journey?

Kataria: Definitely, there have been many challenges in life right from the start. In fact, I believe that our life evolves and emerges from challenges. During the initial phase, when we started working, we never dreamt that BJP will become the biggest party in the country.

In fact, those who shaped and moulded us (our seniors) taught us that struggle is the jewel of life which beautifies our personality.

I studied till Class 8 in our village. In Class 9, I had to shift to town due to my father's posting. Later, when I was living alone in Udaipur where I completed my education, I also started cooking on my own at a tender age.

IANS: When did you join the RSS?

Kataria: In 1961 I came in touch with RSS, which changed my life. Since my college days, I have been connected with the RSS. Meanwhile, I completed my B.Ed. and was selected as a geography teacher. I was also running an RSS Shakha then.

During the Lok Sabha polls of 1971, the Congress raised an issue that either this master stays or else it will stop the grant to the school. So I was asked to choose one out of two and I selected running the Shakha and my services were terminated. But I was not annoyed as I knew it was a priority for them to run the school. Then I joined a private school while pursuing my LLB.

I was also doing Sangh work simultaneously. I used to go there to listen to the tall leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L.K. Advani. Meanwhile, after coming out of jail during Emergency, the Sangh helped me get a ticket.

IANS: What schedule do you follow being a representative of the people?

Kataria: My day starts at 5.30 a.m. After my morning routine, I make sure that I stay connected to the people. In fact, most of the time, I stay away from my family. However, I make sure that I give my best as an MLA, MP or when working in my constituency.

IANS: A school teacher, then a politician. Did you ever think that you will be given a constitutional position?

Kataria: I never thought that I would be given a constitutional position. I come from a small, humble background and I have earned laurels for my work. The party has elevated a small worker like me and inspired lakhs of workers and made them aware of the fact that hard work gets respected.

IANS: From Rajasthan to Assam´┐Ż How did your family react to the news?

Kataria: My family, especially my wife, is quite angry! However, we will adjust in a little while.

IANS: You have been synonymous with Mewar politics for decades. Will you miss it?

Kataria: I will be working honestly within the constitutional limits as the Governor of Assam. Somewhere down the line, Mewar will be missed, but I have enormous trust in our party workers who shall take the legacy forward.

IANS: Tell us something about your experience of going around Mewar on a bicycle when you were a pracharak?

Kataria: I was very inspired by the pracharaks, having seen them working day and night for the sake of the nation. So, I also started working aggressively and I used to tour the hilly terrains on my bike. Looking at my work, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat used to tell the party workers that someday I will die somewhere while biking.

So, he asked the party workers to contribute to get me a jeep. Then I got a Maruti as being the MP I got some concession, and I drove the same vehicle for years. In fact, at some stage, people came to know that this man in a dhoti and driving a Maruti is Kataria...

I was very inspired by Sundar Singh Bhandari whom I have seen travelling in general class in trains. I learnt from him that life should be simple and work should be done with sincerity.

I strongly feel that those who have struggled in life have earned respect in the country. 'Achcha Socho', and 'Don't go the wrong way' is my message to the younger generation.
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