27 July, 2021

A Compass To Realign

As PC gets on with his job, he tries to be more accommodative

A Compass To Realign

In the tragic aftermath of 26/11, and after four years of the inept Shivraj Patil, P. Chidambaram’s appointment as home minister was widely welcomed. His no-nonsense, hands-on, decisive style blew the cobwebs out of the ministry. His austere white mundu and shirt—even if the shawl slung carelessly over his shoulders is a Pashmina—was in happy contrast to the perfectly creased bandhgalas favoured by his predecessor, and his willingness to air his views manna for a hungry press. He was also  willing to walk the talk: his drastic curtailment of security for vvips was totally in sync with his own pared-down safety-shield. When Chidambaram travels in Delhi, he is accompanied by just one personal security officer and driver—and there are no escort cars.

Here, finally, it seemed, was a worthy descendant of Sardar Patel, the original Iron Man, whose giant portrait confronts you as you climb the stairs in that part of North Block which houses the home ministry. PC had suddenly grown in stat-ure and the sense of...

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