Aditi Raju MYP4
On the 24th of August, 2019, India lost an important individual. Arun Jaitley was an Indian politician and attorney who served as the Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs in the Modi Cabinet from 2014 to 2019.
Jaitley was born on 28th December, 1952, to Maharaj Kishen Jaitley and Ratan Prabha Jaitley. In his youth, he studied at St. Xavier’s School in New Delhi from 1960 to 1969. He often stated that those days in St.Xavier’s were his most memorable, as they moved on to shape him as well as the political agenda that he possessed. He eventually graduated from Shri Ram College with an honours degree in commerce. In Jaitley’s college days, he was known for being a multilingual debater and the president of his college student’s union.
Moreover, Jaitley was the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) student leader at the Delhi University Campus in the seventies, and soon even became the President of the University of Delhi’s student’s union. During a period when Congress had complete control over the student body, Jaitley’s reign as an ABVP candidate soon proved to be quite a vital role. He organised multiple protests against injustices present in the ruling form and spread his views across the student body.
However, a bleak period soon ensued. “The emergency” was declared in 1975 under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The emergency was a 19 month period during which elections were suspended and civil liberties were restrained. In Jaitley’s own words, “this was by far the darkest chapter in our democracy”. He raised his voice against what he termed as a “grossly undemocratic step” and organised the first protest against the emergency. But he was soon arrested and underwent imprisonment in the Tihar Jail for 19 months.
Luckily, Jaitley didn’t let this bump in his personal life bring him down. From 1987, he started practicing law, ranging from the supreme court to several other high courts. When he was 37, Jaitley became a senior advocate as well as the Additional Solicitor General of India. To add on, he was the one who happened to write multiple publications on legal and current affairs. He was even appointed as the Government of India’s delegate in the United Nations General Assembly regarding drugs and money laundering, in 1998. However, Jaitley quit his legal career in 2009 due to his political responsibilities.
Jaitley’s political career began long before he quit law. He joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in 1980, and later became a national executive in in 1991. During the Vajpayee Government in 1999, he was appointed as Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, as well as Minister of State for Disinvestment. In 2000, he also took on the role as Union Cabinet Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs.
In 2009 Jaitley was chosen as the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha. He gave his inputs in multiple matters during this period, including the Women’s Reservation Bill and the Jan Lokpal Bill. He also introduced the eighty-fourth and the ninety-first amendments to the Constitution of India.
On 29th May, 2014, Jaitley was selected as the Minister of Finance, the Minister for Corporate Affairs and the Minister of Defence in the Modi Government. During his tenure, he achieved quite a lot. He announced the Income Declaration Scheme, which sought to reduce the amount of black money present in the country. Moreover, Jaitley oversaw the implementation of the Goods and Service Tax. Before the rise of this certain tax, several taxes were present if one wanted either a good or a service. However, the GST ensured that only a single tax was present for such occasions. This brought the entire country under one GST regime, and greatly impacted India.
Although not all aspects of his personal life are known, a few are quite often celebrated across the public. In 1982, when Jaitley was 29, he married Sangeeta - the daughter of a former Jammu and Kashmir finance minister, Girdhari Lal Dogra. They moved on to have two children, Sonali and Rohan Jaitley. Following their father's footsteps, they studied law. In fact, they’re the third generation of the Jaitley family who made a career out of it! Sonali even married a successful lawyer and businessman, Jaish Bakshi. Our hearts ache for all members in his family who have lost such a delightful individual.
Arun Jaitley will always be remembered as a calm and respected individual, with a firm sense of determination. He forever sought to mold a better nation, and will eternally be esteemed for that. May his soul rest in peace.