06 May, 2021

Praful Patel

Matthew 19:6 should now be written as, ‘What therefore Praful Patel hath joined together, let no man put asunder’.

Illustration by Sorit
Praful Patel
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

I have lots of spare time. There isn’t much happening in the heavy—or for that matter any—industry. But, to relieve boredom, I read the secret diary I maintained during my eventful days in the Union civil aviation ministry. In school, I loved history and worshipped heroes remembered to this day for their glorious deeds. Like Mohammed Bin Tughlaq, who moved from Delhi to Daulatabad and then back to Delhi; Lord Curzon, who split Bengal into two, which was later put back together, in vain; and militaristic romantics Napoleon and Hitler, hell-bent on conquering Russia.... As for me, I achieved immortality by merging the unmergeable—Air India and Indian Airlines. In the Aviation Hall of Fame, my indelible footprints are preserved for posterity. In fact, in one of the new New Testaments, Matthew 19:6 should now be written as, ‘What therefore Praful Patel hath joined together, let no man put asunder’.

The merger was unique, unexpected. Can Coke merge with Pepsi, Colgate toothpaste with Close-Up, Rajdhani with...

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