There comes a time in life when everything pauses, it just does. India feels the same today. Arun Jaitley is no more. Call him BJP's Man Friday, troubleshooter, a key strategist, Modi's original Chanakya...he was all in one.
Let us remember the life and times of this stellar leader:
1973-1977: Arun Jaitley entered politics. He then became ABVP student leader and then the President of the Students' Union in 1974. He, however, was put under preventive detention for 19 months during the Emergency. He played an active role in Jai Prakash Narayan's anti-corruption stir. But he, being undeterred, chose to join the Jana Sangh after his release from the jail.
1980: Arun Jaitley joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. Later, he also rose to become the President of BJP's youth wing and secretary of its Delhi unit.
1987-2009: Arun Jaitley practised before the Supreme Court of India and several high courts. The VP Singh government then appointed him Additional Solicitor General in 1989. 2009, however, brought an end to his law practice...given his duty for the nation as the leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.
1991-1999: Arun Jaitley was made the member of BJP national executive. And then the spokesperson of the BJP before 1991 Lok Sabha polls.
1999: This year, Arun Jaitley was made Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting (Independent Charge) and Minister of State for Disinvestment (Independent Charge) under the Vajpayee government.
2000: Arun Jaitley got elevated as a Cabinet minister. He was given the Ministry of Law, Justice and Company Affairs and Shipping.
2002-03: Jaitley got appointed as the General Secretary of BJP on July 1 in the year 2002. In 2003, he became BJP's national spokesperson. However, after his defeat, Jaitley went back to his legal career.
2004-2019: Jaitley had not contested any direct election till 2014. Fighting as BJP candidate in Amritsar Lok Sabha constituency, Jaitley lost to Congress' Amarinder Singh.
He was made the Minister of Finance, Corporate Affairs and Defence in Modi's government. Key economic decisions like demonetisation and GST were taken under Jaitley as the Finance Minister.
May 29, 2019: Jaitley wrote a letter to Prime Minister. He cited poor health for not taking an active role in Modi 2.0.
And on August 24, 2019, Arun Jaitley breathed his last.
Jaitley was one of the most articulate and influential leaders who brought civility to public discourse, irrespective of whether one agreed with his position or not.
His life and times, as tall as him, leave us at a loss of words.
We miss you. Rest In Peace Jaitley ji.