NRIs must try to learn facts about India, says Derek O'Brien
Quizmaster turned politician Derek O' Brien speaks at the Sharjah International Book Fair. - KT photo by M. Sajjad
Sharjah - The famous quiz-master was very impressed with the Sharjah book fair
By Dhanusha Gokulan
Published: Sun 5 Nov 2017, 8:44 PM
Last updated: Sun 5 Nov 2017, 10:52 PM
India's journalist-turned-politician Derek O'Brien charmed book lovers attending his talk at the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) 17' on Saturday, and left an impassioned word of advice for non-resident Indians (NRIs) in the UAE.
"Spend a little time to learn facts about India," he urged. "Political headlines that appear in mainstream media vanish in a matter of five days. India is still not about credit cards or glamour. About 80 per cent of our population still don't have access to banks."
O'Brien spoke about days as a journalist, an advertiser, a quiz master, and finally a politician. He candidly spoke about his reasons to become a member of Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament. He is currently chief national spokesperson, representing Trinamool Congress Party,in the Rajya Sabha.
"I didn't change careers. There was no switch over. As a journalist, advertiser, TV personality, and a politician, I still remain a communicator. The difference is that the platform is much bigger and the Indian parliament is the best place for communication," he added. O'Brien also advised young people to give a shot at safe jobs before they follow their passions because "you need to know the rules to break them."
O'Brien, a famous quiz-master, said that he was very impressed with the Sharjah book fair as the only other book fair that he has been to is the Kolkata Book Fair. "I see that SIBF is multicultural, and it is thrilling to see so many young children at the fair. I must congratulate their parents from bringing their kids here," he added.
O'Brien has a lot of hope in the India of today and asked young people not to give up hope. He spoke about how India has always been a secular state and will continue to be so. "By 2020, the average age of India will be 29. and that is an incredible thing. I grew up in a Christian household, in a majority Hindu neighbourhood that was located on a street that had a Muslim name. That was the India of my past, is the India of my present and will remain the India of my future," he added.
The former quiz master also stated that there is a lot of talent and respect among politicians in Indian politics. "We may have different political opinions, but that does not mean we are not respectful of each other. Also, you won't get voted into the parliament if you're not capable," he added. On a closing note, O'Brien asked the young attendees of his talk to remain brand ambassadors of their country everywhere and make their parents proud.
All set for first non-fiction
Derek O'Brien, who has authored 53 quiz textbooks, is all set to release his first non-fiction title 'Inside Parliament'.
"The book reflects upon the India of today. I can assure you that it is not boring," he added. The book, according to publisher Harper Collins, includes some of O'Brien's best political essays covering subjects ranging from federalism, the constitution, note ban, beef ban and the much-debated GST bill as well as social media and education.