Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe is a nationalist social worker at heart, a researcher-student of political science and trainer in democracy by profession and a Parliamentarian by elevation. Dr. Sahasrabuddhe is a post-Graduate in English Literature and a Ph.D. in Political Science, both from the University of Mumbai.
A Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha ( Upper House of Indian Parliament) from Maharashtra, since July 2016, Dr Sahasrabuddhe is the President at Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) (www.iccr.gov.in), India’s Soft Power promotion establishment. He is also the National Vice President of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), (www.bjp.org), India’s ruling Party along with other coalition partners since 2014. As Party VP, he is In-Charge of the Good Governance, Central and State Government Program Coordination and Policy Research Departments of the Bharatiya Janata Party, besides being the organisational In-Charge of BJP, Madhya Pradesh. On the Policy Research front, Dr Sahasrabuddhe also is Hon. Director of the Public Policy Research Centre (PPRC),New Delhi. Besides, Dr Sahasrabuddhe is currently also the Vice President at Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini (RMP) ,(www.rmponweb.org), a unique institution of which he was the Director General for over two decades. RMQP which is one of its kind research and training academy for elected representatives and social workers. One of the many caps that Dr. Sahasrabuddhe wears, is that of the Vice President of Indian Social Responsibility Network ( ISRN), a Delhi based organisation.
Born on November 10, 1957 at Nasik in a middle-class family, Vinay had his schooling initially in Dhule, the native place of Sahasrabuddhes and later at Trimbak Vidya Mandir near Nasik and eventually at Nasik itself. While in Std 4, through a competitive examination, Vinay was selected for Govt Public School, Nasik (Shaskiya Vidya Niketan), an innovative chain of schools for grooming talented students from rural areas. From Std 5 to Std 11, Vinay study at this residential school. It is there he learnt the initial lessons of leadership and creativity. His innate talent and skills in activities like public speaking, theatre, writing and journalism helped him shine in several school activities. He credits Dr B B Singam, who worked as Principal of his school for many years, and also Vasant Dongargaonkar, M M Nalnikar and other teachers for their contribution in his grooming.
Years in ABVP
Vinay Sahasrabuddhe had his college education in Garware College, Pune, S P College, Pune and later at Ramnarayan Ruia College, Mumbai. He started his career in public life with Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). He became a member of ABVP in 1974 immediately after joining Degree College in Pune. Starting as Joint Office Secretary of Pune branch, he later served as Secretary of Mumbai ABVP (1980-81), Jt.Organising Secretary, Mumbai (1981-83), Organising Secretary of SEIL Project of ABVP (1983-85), National Secretary (1984-87) and later General Secretary of SEIL (1990-2000). He also shouldered the responsibility of Chhatra Shakti Magazine for some years. Between1980-85, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe worked as a whole-timer of ABVP.
In 1975, after the imposition of the draconian rule of emergency as ABVP activist, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe offered Sattyagraha (silent public protest violating law followed by arrest). He was behind the bars at Yerwada Prison near Pune for about 45 days. Later, in 1983 he was a part of mass protest against the ban on an ABVP rally at Guwahati, in support of the agitating students of Assam, fighting for the detection and deportation of Bangladeshi infiltrators followed by the deletion of their names.
While pursuing his post-graduation (1978-80), Vinay Sahasrabuddhe worked with India News and Features Alliance (INFA), a features service by Inder Jit; as its Mumbai representative.
Later he joined Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini as its principal functionary in 1988 after brief stints in media (Sub-Editor of Mid-Day, Mumbai) as well as corporate sector (PRO of Camlin Ltd). He was elected as a Member of Senate of the University of Mumbai where he worked for over 18 long years. All his efforts were directed towards strengthening the institutional mechanism of the functioning of University of Mumbai.
University of Mumbai is one of India’s oldest universities. Established in 1857, this University has always remained a key centre of student activism. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe completed his post-graduation from this University in 1981. Later, in 2009, he was awarded Ph.D. in Arts (Politics) by the same University for his study on institutional decline of political parties in India.
In 1987, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe successfully contested elections to the Mumbai University Senate from Registered Graduates constituency and served on the body for two consecutive terms (1987-1994 and 1994-2000) later he was also elected to the same body from Affiliated Institutions’ Constituency through which he served on the body till 2005. Between 1987 and 1990, Senate sent him twice to the Executive Council of the University. A member of the top decision-making body of the varsity, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe worked on Finance Committee, Library Committee, Extra-Mural Studies Board and Annual Report Committee besides several Local Inquiry Committees.
As Member of Senate and Management Council, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe unearthed several malpractices while striving for financial discipline and transparency as well as protection of functional autonomy of the varsity. In 1991, he conducted a motivational training programme for University Officials and employees. It was his efforts that converted University Club House; an underutilized establishment of the varsity into a Vidyapeeth Vidyarthi Bhavan, a hub of extra-curricular activities for the students. He also mooted the idea of Academic Audit of University academic staff. Years later, in 1998 his efforts for greater decentralization of university administration yielded results with the establishment of Ratnagiri Sub-Centre of the University of Mumbai.
One of the most pro-active members of senate; Vinay Sahasrabuddhe always stood-out as an impressive orator. In a short span, he became known for effectively voicing of concerns for the institutional decline of University facing innumerable challenges like violation of rules-regulations, corruption as well as mismanagement.
In 1997, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe was appointed Member of the Board of Governors at YASHADA or Yashwantrao Chavan Academy for Development Administration and he worked on this position as till 1999. During these three years, he introduced the idea of conducting capacity building programmes for University Officials. He had worked on various bodies of University of Mumbai and this experience gave him an insight into the urgent need for some effective efforts for building the capacities of those who are administering Universities. The idea was immediately accepted and Vinay Sahasrabuddhe was requested to act as Course Director for the first-of-its-type training course held at YASHADA in 1997.
In 2003 he was appointed as an expert, non-official member on the Board of Governors of the Sardar Patel Institute of Public Administration, (SPIPA) Ahmedabad. In 2013 Vinay Sahasrabuddhe was elected to The Asiatic Society (of Mumbai) -- over 200-year-old prestigious library and knowledge centre-- as its Vice President. He shouldered this responsibility for two years, till 2015.
In 2014, Vinay was nominated by Pune based IT major Persistent Co as a social scientist on its Research and Innovation Council and he continues to be its member.
In 2015, Vinay was appointed as Chairman of a committee to prepare a plan for setting up a resource centre for artisans and farmers, to be converted into an Artisan’s University in Vidarbha by the Govt of Maharashtra.
Researcher and author
1997 saw Vinay Sahasrabuddhe’s selection as Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar for 1998-99 to pursue supervised study at the University of Illinois (UIUC) at Urbana-Champaign. He was a Visiting Researcher at the UIUC for about ten months.
Passionate about finding out various ways and means of making the democratic governance deliver, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe had long back started reading about political parties and their evolution as a key democratic institution. His scholarly meanderings into the much relevant thematic of “Political Parties as Victims of Populism and Electoral Compulsions; A Quest for Systemic Solutions - With special reference to India” got recognized in the form of a Doctoral degree from University of Mumbai in 2009. Dr Maneesha Tikekar of the SIES College, Mumbai was his research guide.
Vinay Sahasrabuddhe has a total of nine books to his credit. He writes three of them while he is the editor of other six. Here are the details —
- During 2018, Dr. Sahasrabuddhe contributed a regular column in Lok Satta, Marathi daily from Mumbai. Based on his writings on Development Politics, a compilation of his articles translated in Hindi was published in 2019, namely “विकास की राजनीति”! This anthology of articles provides a window to the key changes made and reforms introduced by the Modi Govt with a view to providing genuine Good Governance!
- In January 2018, Dr. Sahasrabuddhe along with Co-Author Dhiraj Nayar, wrote The Innovation Republic, focusing on governance innovations under the Narendra Modi Govt between 2014-18. The book chronicles 17 important innovations introduced by the Modi Govt., making the governance infrastructure more people friendly, less corrupt and far too result oriented as well. A Hindi version of this book was also published in 2019 namely.
- His book “Beyond A Billion Ballots”, is based on his Ph.D. thesis and was published at the hands of Shri Narendra Modi in June 2013. This book unfurls the reforms agenda for liberating political parties from the trap of populist politics through a set of key systemic changes in India’s democratic infrastructure. Coming out from the keen observations of a trainer of political practitioners, this work is being considered as seminal having the potency to catalyse Indian Republic 2.0.
- A compilation of his selected articles on issues concerning democratic governance, in Marathi; named “Aahe Lok-tantra Tarihee” (In spite of Democracy) was published in 2011.
- His first Marathi book Ekaki Purvanchal(Isolated North-East India) was published in 1988 and that happened to be the first Marathi book, analyzing the complex socio-political conditions in the North-East India.
- Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini (RMP) has published three books edited by Dr.Sahasrabuddhe. The first one was an anthology of English articles on the vexed issue of democracy and accountabiliy, titled as ‘Accountability of Elected Representatives’ (1990), while the other two were essentially on Science of Organisation. In 1984, he edited a compilation essays on the mindset and public conduct of a social worker. This book was named as ‘सार्वजनिक कार्यकर्ता: मनोरचना आणि व्यवहार”. In 1997 he edited thoughtfully written invited articles by knowledgeable authors on basics of Science of Human Organisations. It analyses the approach required and skills to be employed to bring people together and form an enduring organisation. The book, known as ‘संघटन शास्त्र’ became very popular with three editions already out. A Hindi translation of the same is also now available.
- In 1988, Co-Edited a book on the life and mission of Late Prof Yashwant Kelkar, one of the founding fathers of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad ( ABVP). This Marathi book, namely ‘Yashwant’ was published by Vidyarthi Nishit.
- In 1998 he co-edited Nivadak Manoos (Selected articles from Weekly Manoos) a compilation of articles previously published in celebrated Marathi weekly Manoos. Published in 1999, this volume later received Govt Maharashtra Award for Best Literary Work.
His commentaries to many English & Marathi publications are most sought after for their deeper insights replete with simplistic redressals of complex issues. He contributed columns to several Marathi journals like –
- Maharashtra Times (1976-77)
- Manoos Weekly (1979-80)
- Aaj Dinank (1997-98)
- Loksatta (2000) and again in (2018)
- Aple Mahanagar (2002-2003)
- Tarun Bharat, Nagpur (2009)
In the eyes of a colleague
Vinay Sahasrabuddhe’s upbringing as a social activist evolved under the guidance of the leading lights of ABVP like Prof Yashwantrao Kelkar, Prof Bal Apte, Dr Ashok Modak and Shri Madan Das Ji. While in RMP, he was lucky to work with and seek guidance from Vasantrao Patwardhan and Pramod Mahajan. In so far as his journalistic writings are concerned, he is deeply influenced by senior editor and noted thinker S. G. Majgaoinkar and later Dr Aroon Tikekar. In BJP, Nitin Gadkari made him his Political Associate during his President-ship and finally he earned a place in Amit Shah-team as National Vice President.
Even after treading a thousand thematics, his humility and heartiness mesmerize one and all. This is probably what defines Vinay Sahasrabuddhe in one sentence.
Contributed by Ravindra Sathe ( Director General of RMP and a close associate of Vinay Sahasrabuddhe since 1992)