A DATE WITH KALICHARAN SARAF
There is a benign, avuncular air about Shri Kalicharan Saraf, Education Minister, Government of Rajasthan, as he sits in his room at one of Kolkataʼs ﬁve-star hotels where we meet him for our tete-a-tete. He is in Kolkata as part of the Honʼble Chief Minister Vasundhara Rajeʼs delegation, visiting the city to promote a vibrant and resurgent Rajasthan. Shri Saraf has been active in politics for long not only as a Member of the Legislative Assembly over six terms but also as a revered leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Kali Charan Saraf-ji studied B Com from Commerce College and law from Law College, University of Rajasthan, and considers himself a pucca Jaipurite.
“AS A STATE RAJASTHAN HAS BEEN ABLE TO OVERCOME INSURMOUNTABLE DIFFICULTIES… TODAY, I FEEL PROUD THAT WE HAVE SOME OF THE BEST TECHNICAL AND NON-TECHNICAL INSTITUTIONS THAT ARE ATTRACTING STUDENTS NOT ONLY FROM INDIA BUT ALSO FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD”
Saraf is a veteran leader with a vast experience of working for the public. With an impressive report card of the work done as an MLA even when BJP was not in power, he had people unconditionally on his side when he went seeking for votes in 2013. His robust image, direct link with the common man and many movements and campaigns for the people gave him an edge over his immediate rivals. A Vasundhara Raje loyalist, he was ﬁrst made the education minister in Rajeʼs Cabinet but later shifted to Higher Education.
Just before the General Elections of 2014, Kalicharan Saraf had said he would consider incorporating Narendra Modiʼs biography in school text books. He had stated, “Modi is an inspirational personality and young students should learn about his life. We plan to incorporate some inspirational events from Modi-jiʼs biography in school books now that he is our Prime Minister. Modi-ji sold tea in his childhood and has become the most popular leader today. His struggle gives inspiration and it should be learnt by students.” He also said that the BJP government would include Bhagat Singhʼs prison diary in college libraries.
Extremely keen to see that in the next few years Rajasthan becomes one of Indiaʼs foremost states to lead our countryʼs best education campuses, he reveals, “As a state Rajasthan has been able to overcome insurmountable diﬃculties and lead from the front. Today, I feel happy and proud that we have some of the best technical and non-technical institutions that are attracting students not only from India but also from all over the world. The Birla Institute of Technology And Science in Pilani is a good example but several other high-end campuses are now attracting students. I want every student in my state to make the best possible use of facilities oﬀered to him, be it in government or private schools. We have formed a regulatory body comprising of three ministers that will look into the malpractices of private educational institutions in the state. All unethical practices in admissions or fees structures, or research works in private educational institutes will end immediately. I have agreed to implement long standing demands of college teachersʼ career advancement scheme. My ministry is working on a formula so that teachers do not need to come out for agitations to meet their genuine demands.”
As a hands-on Minister, Kalicharan Saraf-ji has his hands full but when he can manage to get some spare time in his busy schedule he likes to spend it with his family. “Iʼm very rushed for time,” he smiles. “But once in a while I do see a Bollywood ﬁlm to divert my mind.”