RIP Chetan Chauhan, a Cricketer With an Equally Successful Innings as a Politician

Social Commentary

RIP Chetan Chauhan, a Cricketer With an Equally Successful Innings as a Politician

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

The coronavirus pandemic claimed a high-profile victim this weekend, as Uttar Pradesh BJP minister and former cricketer Chetan Chauhan succumbed to the disease. Chauhan was at Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon when he breathed his last. Initially, Chauhan was admitted to the Sanjay Gandhi PGI Hospital in Lucknow, but due to his worsening condition and kidney-related ailments he was shifted to Gurgaon.

However, on Friday, Chauhan suffered multiple organ failure and was placed on a ventilator, before passing away on Sunday. Members of both India’s sporting and political establishments paid tribute to Chauhan in the wake of his death.

As a cricketer, Chauhan is best remembered for his successful opening partnership with the legendary Sunil Gavaskar in the 1970s. Over the course of his career, which lasted 12 years, he represented India in 40 Test matches. He won the Arjuna Award, one of the most prestigious honours for Indian sportspersons, in 1981. After retirement, Chauhan was involved on the administrative side of the sport, serving terms as president, vice-president, secretary, and chief selector of the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA).

In 1991, Chauhan won his first Lok Sabha election, from the seat of Amroha in Uttar Pradesh. Before being diagnosed with Covid-19, Chauhan was a cabinet minister of the BJP-led state government in Uttar Pradesh. His death makes him the second state-level minister to die due to health complications during this pandemic, after Kerala’s state minister Kamla Rani Varun also passed away earlier this month. Chauhan was 73 years old at the time of his death.

The coronavirus has been impacting lives in India since March, when the first lockdown was announced, if not even earlier than that. However, months later, incidents like Chetan Chauhan’s demise are a reminder that the threat is still present, and that taking this virus lightly – by holding public gatherings or neglecting social distancing – could prove to be a costly mistake.