Politicians play a central role in our lives. They are the concentrated voices of the people that make all efforts to improve their constituencies and peoples’ welfare. They represent the hopes, aspirations and the interests of every citizen in the state. Setting a true mark of responsible leader and redefining the political center of Bengaluru, is R. Roshan Baig a member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly and the Indian National Congress party. He serves as the vice-chairman of the Al-Ameen Educational Society. He is also the director of Daanish Publications Private Limited and Ruman Enterprises Private Limited. A politician at par, Roshan Baig sets a true example of a leader who has mastered the ‘Art of Government’.
The Not so easy Journey
Roshan’s political career took a stride when he passed high school and took an admission to RC College in Bengaluru. He was an active member of the NSUI and Youth Congress during his student days and contested his first ever election, for the elective post of General Secretary against well-known film maker Nagathihalli Chandrashekhar. He has also served in several Youth Organisations and Educational Institutions like the International Youth Festivals held between 1978 and 1985 at Havana, Belgrade and Moscow, respectively.
After getting a bachelor’s degree in commerce, he joined a government law college for his L.L.B and later became a full-time politician due to his burgeoning political career. Baig won the 1985 state elections for the 8th Assembly with the Janata Party. After division of the Janata party, he moved to the Indian National Congress party.
Roshan Baig has always had the urge to solve problems people face in their day to day lives. His motivation and key strength lie in critical thinking and problem-solving. Politics has always been a topic of interest for him which paved way for the good work he has been involved in. He started at the ground level, understanding the foundation the nation was built on – the advantages and limitations of the nation, concerns of people and this propelled him to inspire people by identifying problems, addressing people’s issues and providing solutions. He identified gaps between the people and the government. It has been 35 years of journey and Baig still works as a leader ensuring the gap between the common man and the government is bridged. His passion for service to mankind, particularly the weaker sections of society, transformed him into a leader of the masses.
A Conviction Politician
Politics can be a challenging and rewarding field for people who want to create a life in service of others. Roshan Baig’s labor of love and civic duty makes him a prominent face in Karnataka. However, Baig faced many challenges in the beginning of his political career. Despite his close proximity to Congress leader Lalith Maken who was the observer for the Karnataka elections, he was denied a ticket by the Congress. He won the Shivajinagar Constituency on Janata Party ticket in 1985. From there, he has held multiple roles as a sports administrator in cricket and football clubs. He runs a private educational institution, Bismillah Education Trust and also runs an Urdu newspaper.
People’s Politician: Of the People, By the People, For the People
A very hardworking and dedicated civil servant, Roshan Baig claims that his attendance to the assembly is 99%. As a prominent face in Bangalore Central and Bangalore North, he’s touted as the face of Muslim community in Karnataka.
Baig is a well-known local political figure in the state and arguably the most powerful Muslim Congress leader in Karnataka after CK Jaffer Shariff’s retirement. He is a well disciplined personality with selfless service who aim to make life better for his people.
Roshan Baig believes his major achievement in his four decade political career is due to maintaining communal harmony particular in the city of Bengaluru and Karnataka in general. He has always worked towards securing, protecting, promoting good governance, accountability and welfare of all citizens “I am not one of those leaders who will appeal for Shanti (peace) sitting in the A/C room, I believe in working at the ground level. Nor Am I like that typical Muslim leader who gives rabble rousing speeches; my Hindu brothers in my constituency adores me and always votes for me,” says Baig.
Feathers in a Cap
In his political tenure, Roshan Baig has perfectly essayed multiple roles bringing many changes to the bureaucratic institution. He has handled some crucial posts as Minister including the Karnataka State Home Ministry. Mr. Baig was elected to the eighth and 10th Assembly and has served as the Home Minister, Minister for Bangalore City Development, Minister for Urban Development, Minister for Hajj and Wakfs. He was re-elected to the 11th Legislative Assembly from Jayamahal Constituency and appointed as the Minister for Tourism and Hajj in Council of Ministers headed by Shri S.M. Krishna. Roshan Baig has also served as the Minister for Medium and Small Scale Industries, Minister for Infrastructure, Minister for Information, Public Relations, City Corporations, Urban Land Transport KUWSDB and KUIDFC respectively.
Mr. Baig’s constituency voters re-elected him to the 15th and 16th Legislative Assembly since his return from Jayamahal Assembly after observing his performance during his tenure in 13th and 14th Legislative Assembly, in which he served as a Cabinet Minister, thereby giving him an opportunity to serve his faithful constituency again.
Shivaji Nagar Constituency
Shivaji Nagar is one of the oldest yet smallest constituencies in Bengaluru city, with just 1,91,528 voters. It revolves largely around the iconic Russell Market – which was once the premier shopping destination for residents of the Cantonment. It has seven municipal wards, some affluent and some poverty-ridden. Shivaji Nagar has a predominantly Urdu and Tamil-speaking population. The historical Someshwara temple of the Chola period lies within this constituency. The city’s first Gurudwara is located in the Ulsoor ward, the historic St Mary’s Basilica and the Jumma Masjid are also situated here.
Shivaji Nagar is a constituency which is represented by Roshan Baig for five consecutive terms, even from the period when major part of it was in the Jayamahal constituency. Shivaji Nagar has large Muslim population, and considerable Tamil population, and Roshan Baig is popular among both the communities, even in the places with all the garbage heaps and potholes he is popular due to his contributions to the society.
Leads by Example
As a 7-time MLA and having been a Cabinet Minister several times, Roshan Baig has established a robust way of representing the people of Karnataka and his constituency by engaging with the people and understanding their needs. He has always served as a functionary of the state machinery and the administration. Being a firm believer of grassroot leadership, his engagement begins with the most basic micromanagement within constituency and which ever department is further bestowed upon him. His contributions to various fields are as below:
According to Roshan Baig, medical care should be affordable and accessible to everyone. With medical costs shooting up day-by-day, he has initiated several projects towards affordable health care. He not only managed to make medical care affordable to everyone but, has also made sure that hospitals is upgraded to handle all sorts of emergency and use state-of-the-art technology for treatment. The opening of Bowring and Lady Curzon Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Center in the recent past is an added feather in Roshan Baig’s cap. This Institution has been established at a total expenditure of Rs. 190 Crores. It consists of a state of art laboratory, MRD Scanning machines and a host of latest equipment such as 24 ventilators, Cardiology OPD unit 24 bedded ICU, 9 bedded PICU, 25 bedded newborn Baby ICU, Joint replacement Surgery centre, Modular OT, Centralized oxygen supply facility, Ophthalmic Laser treatment centre, 20 bedded urology treatment centre etc. He developed Gousha hospital for women with the help of Ghulam Nabi Azad which was originally built by Haji Ismail Sait’s son. Now, it is a world class hospital for women.
He was also instrumental in bringing generic drug stores not only in Karnataka but throughout India. Roshan Baig in collaboration with BBMP had passed a resolution and Multi Speciality Heart Hospital on Broadway Road Shivajinagar is being constructed at a total cost of Rs. 11.5 crores, to provide treatment to the urban poor who suffer from heart ailments.
Roshan Baig has always worked towards providing a quality lifestyle to the people of his constituency. Drinking water is a necessity and he has left no stones unturned when it comes to provide clean drinking water. The installation of new pipelines on Nandi Durga Road, Ramaswamy Palya and MRS Palya has had a very positive effect on the people of the constituency.
It has been Baig’s long-term ambition to see that Government Schools stand on par with any private school in urban areas. His endless efforts towards the development of infrastructure, teaching aids and other necessary equipment to the schools in the area from the local area development fund has a very strong impact on the society. He has opened new government schools and upgraded the existing ones so that everyone has access to free education. The revamp of VKO Urdu school is one of the many noticeable works of Roshan Baig in the education sector.
Housing infrastructure is one of the many fronts Roshan Baig has worked on extensively. He has built and offered close to thousand houses to the homeless. As a true leader, he has always empathized with the people of lower economic strata and helped them in every way possible to make sure that they lead a quality life. His endeavor of construction of 940 houses with all basic facilities at Ramaswamy Palya has borne fruits for the poor. Out of this, the construction of 500 houses has been completed. Providing housing facilities to the economically weaker section at Nehrupuram is yet another noteworthy contribution. All these houses have been furnished with basic amenities.
Under the smart city project, Roshan Baig aimed at developing the playground adjoining to BMTC Bus Stand, Shivajinagar with a modern outlook, renovating Russel Market and beautification of areas around Shivajinagar on a tender sure model at a total cost of Rs.100 crores.
Roshan Baig works continuously towards the safety of the general public, particularly women. He envisions a state where women walk fearlessly on streets at any point of time and there are no cases of thefts, molestation, rapes etc. The introduction of Hoysala vehicle by the government to keep vigilance in the city is the brainchild of Roshan Baig. Inspired by the huge success of this project, the government, later introduced the same in the other cities of the state. This has led to a reduction of crimes in the state considerably. Introduction of Coastal guard for the Karnataka Government was also Roshan’s idea which was implemented during his term as the Home Minister.
Drainage and Sanitation
Roshan Baig has always been an advocate for finding permanent solutions to the sanitary issues. Sanitation has been one of the top priorities and he has ensured that he provides a permanent solution to every problem which is appreciated by the people of the constituency. He initiated and completed the construction of stormwater drains, widening of roads, desiltation and repair works.
Improving and Developing public amenities
Public amenities are important for healthy living and Roshan Baig will not take a backseat when it comes to development on that front. He has initiated the renovation of the Kensington Swimming Pool which was completed within a short span of time. It not only provides the public a chance to use an international standard swimming pool, but also inspires many swimmers to take part and win in many national and international level competitions.
The proposed Ulsoor Lake revival project was an initiative of Roshan Baig at a total cost of Rs. 100 crores. It includes cleaning, restoring, polishing the lake with water supply resilience and flood risk protection. Reactivating the lake by bridging the islands, defining gateways, promenading at the water edge, creating distinct places, shading and thermal comfort. It will also have kiosks, gym, boating club, flower show, garden areas, toilet blocks, walking and cycling tracks, etc. This will also add more jobs to the economy and will be a benchmark in terms of quality and social amenities in the country.
Under Roshan Baig’s effort the iconic Hajj Bhavan was built by the Karnataka Government which has helped over thousands of Hajj pilgrims. He was instrumental in pioneering the first direct flight service between Bangalore and Jeddah.
Best leaders lead by example. Every time he narrates his achievement, he asks in an assertive manner to cross check it, making sure to get it straight that he is not making false statements on his development work.
Roshan Baig proudly says that he stood up for Muslims and never felt shy or embarrassed in rising Muslim issues. He doesn’t believe in the manifesto of political parties. Baig says“I want to provide my community Aehsaas-e-Tahafuz (feeling of security), it is the major problem faced by Muslims especially in Karnataka. I want to strive for providing a safe life for the community without the fear of bogus terror arrests or the assault of right wing organizations”.
Despite saying this, Roshan Baig pleads to the muslim community to leave their ghetto mentality and appeals them to come out of their isles to mingle with other communities. He gave the example of American Jews and he wants his community members to be like them. “Look at Jews in America how they developed, because they concentrated more on education, not on religious showoff,’ they are now successful”, quotes Baig.
Untarnished by the Controversies
Roshan Baig’s unbiased faith in secular ideals, his style of propagation of thoughts, ideas and principles, a character of being always ahead in social servicing helped create a niche for himself. A staunch follower of Mahatma Gandhi and Baba Saheb Ambedkar’s principles, Baig has earned unflinching support from people of all walks of life, far and wide irrespective of caste, creed, community or class. He has always looked at a challenge as a great learning tool and throughout the years he has learned to tackle every challenge posed to him through analytical and critical reasoning. He has managed to solve a lot of social problems through his pro-active nature by involving himself at the ground level and solving every issue at a grassroot level, so that it does not crop up again. Roshan Baig tries his best to stay away from all the controversies. His capabilities, experience and his work gives a reflection of his persona.
A Disciplined Personality with selfless service
The four-decades-long public life of Roshan Baig is totally transparent and untarnished. This has been proved through electoral contests and the successes he has achieved on numerous occasions. His hard work and affection towards the public from the bottom of his heart is honored by both friends and foes alike. A strong record of his selfless service to the society, deep sympathy for poor, underprivileged and strong commitment to the principles has led Baig to many responsible positions in administration. He is a man of calibre and positive attitude, a pillar of strength to his people. His affinity for Shivajinagar Constituency in his decades-long association is par excellence. His tireless efforts towards the development of the Constituency into a most modern and model Assembly segment in the state are exemplary, his association with the people has led him to be a household name and the most trustworthy choice.
Despite being a hustled Politician, Roshan Baig finds time for his leisure activities to travel, read books, playing golf, listening to classical Hindustani and Sufi music and mentoring youngsters on issues related to state and nation.
Roshan Baig has been honored with the life membership of International Film And Television Club of Asian Academy of Film and Television.
Roshan Baig has all plans for the betterment of the city. He looks forward to work along with the modern technology and implementing it in the government sectors. His aim is to encourage innovative start-ups to solve public sector problems; improvise medical care facilities, solve housing, water and drainage issues through the latest technology; promote Private-Public Partnership to solve problems in the city; bring back the greenery to the city and introduce many more public amenities with international standards; upgrade schools and bring it at par with the private institutions.