'My father was my hero'

'My father was my hero'

Former Congress Member of Parliament Priya Dutt is unlike other politicians. Her simple ways and approachable demeanour instantly puts anyone in a comfort zone. Daughter, wife, mother and politician - Priya has juggled all these roles to perfection. It is also her outspokenness and strong viewpoints that makes her one of the most popular politicians of her time.

Presently the trustee of the Nargis Dutt Foundation, Priya was in the city recently, for an art exhibition called 'Walls With Stories'. In a chat with Nina C George, Priya talks about her foray into politics and her life so far.

How often do you come to Bengaluru?

I don't come here very often but whenever I do, I never leave without eating some good food. Bengaluru has some of the finest restaurants.

How do you associate yourself with art?

I am an amateur artist. I love dabbling with colours. I usually paint with colour pencils, use charcoal and I have recently taken to oil painting. Painting is meditative and therapeutic for me.

How has your father influenced you?

My father was one of the biggest influences in my life. I lost my mother when I was 13 and he raised us as a single parent. My father was my hero because I learnt everything from him. I am what I am today because of him.

What prompted you to join politics?

My father never wanted any of his children to join politics. I never intended to either. But my father was popular with the people of his constituency and there were a lot of expectations from the people and those who worked with him. That's when I decided to join politics and carry forward his good work.

You have carved your own niche in Indian politics? How did you manage that?

I believe in being who I am and I don't believe in having a dual personality. Only those who fear showing their real self-suffer from insecurities and I am not an insecure person.

What do you think about attracting youngsters into politics?

I look at youngsters with great hope because many of them are focused and know what they want. They have to get out of their drawing rooms and do their bit for the good of the nation.

What plans do you have for the empowerment of women?

More than empowerment, I would say that the safety of women is most important. And a woman's safety has a lot to do with a man and it all depends on how you raise a man.

How do you balance your personal and professional life?

It has never been easy to take both forward. It was a big struggle for me for the first ten years after I joined politics because my children were still very young and I had to make some tough choices just to look after my children. I would never take up more than what I could handle. I don't regret any decisions that I have taken so far.

What is your biggest strength?

I think my stubborn nature and tolerance are my strong points.

Your mantra to staying fit...

I am not a gym person, so I do a bit of yoga. I eat everything in moderation and I watchful about what I eat.

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