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No immediate plan to join politics: George Fernandes' son


Press Trust of India New Delhi
Sean Fernandes is immensely proud of the legacy left behind by his father George Fernandes, but the New York-based banker says he has no immediate plans to enter politics and is comfortable watching this field from the sidelines.
"Politics is not a vocation. My grandfather was a not a politician and my father did what he did, because he was passionate about it and put his heart and soul in it. I am quite comfortable with the life I have made for myself," he said.
Sean, who travelled from the US to attend his father's last rites, lives with his Japanese wife and two children, a son and a daughter, in New York City.
The mortal remains of Fernandes were Thursday cremated here amid chants of 'George Sahab amar rahe' as family, friends and admirers bid an emotional goodbye to the socialist leader.
Fernandes, 88, died Tuesday at his residence after a prolonged illness.
After the cremation, many former colleagues and comrades who had worked with Fernandes, from all-India railway strike to trade union stirs, encouraged Sean to take on the mantle of his father and carry forward his political legacy.
But, the banker said, "For the country and its people, he may have been a minister or a political stalwart, but for me, he was just a dad".
"He was in politics because he believed in it, and he lived a very simple life nonetheless. He was a very good man and his life is inspirational. But, I do not wish to enter politics and play the game. I am comfortable watching the field from the sidelines," Sean told PTI in an interview.
Fernandes' son said he wanted to devote his life to his family and children, "though my dad's legacy is more than just one person, it is his body of work".
"But, in life, you never say never again. So, maybe the day when I feel it is my passion (to enter politics), I will think about it," he said.
Asked what factors influenced his decision to not take up politics, Sean said there are issues which disconcert him.
"It is not just corruption, but there is a systemic inefficiency and it is tough for many people to live their lives... Also, there are societal issues like inequality, and today, even after the abolition of untouchability, it still exists informally, as we speak, and then there is casteism, which is a major factor in Indian politics as well," he rued.
To buttress his point, Sean shared that five years ago he had come to India to try to establish a business.
"In 2014, I came to India, and tried setting up a small business without using any influence, just as a regular guy, and it was so tough," the US-based banker said.
Sean said he moved to the US in 1992 soon after finishing his schooling at DPS Mathura Road, and completed his undergraduate and master's degrees in America.
He asserted that he learned life's crucial values from his father and whether in India or the US, those values will be "his greatest legacy for me".
"Respecting rights of workers, thinking of the less fortunate, living life with integrity. These things you pass down, they are timeless values, and I will hand them over to my children, no matter what I do in my life," he said.
Sean said he "recognised that after his father's death everyone is putting a piece of him inside them, trying to claim him".
"I don't feel uneasy about it, rather very proud. But, I don't think of him as a politician at all, but just as a dad," he added.
He may not be keen to step into his father's shoes in the political arena, but when it comes to dogs, he has inherited a love for them from his father.
"Oh, I love dogs. We got two of them back in our home in New York -- a Collie and a Rough Collie. My dad of course, was a big dog lover, and that way I am like him," he said.
Asked if the weight of the legacy of his father weighs heavy on his shoulder, he said, "Oh no, I feel very proud about it... The other day, I was joking with my friend that numerous articles have been written on my father, and when I die, there may be small paragraph or two written about me."

"But, it is ok. Not everyone needs to be in the limelight. I don't aspire to have that life. I like my life as Sean, and it is a good life," Sean said.

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First Published: Jan 31 2019 | 9:06 PM IST

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