Dr Sanjay Mukherjee, IAS

Dr Sanjay Mukherjee, IAS and presently the Vice Chairman & MD of CIDCO is happy to be wedded to public service. He stir-fries his Spirit for Service motto with his love for KK and by belting out his songs. Little wonder, he has a huge fan base

The theory is that people are either left-brained or right brained, meaning that one side of their grey matter is dominant. If you are analytical and methodical in your thinking you are said to be left brained. If you tend to be more creative or artistic, you are thought to be right-brained. Dr Sanjay Mukherjee, IAS, recently appointed as the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO, Navi Mumbai, however, is a rare breed with an equally proficient right and left brain. The 1996 batch officer of the Maharashtra cadre who talks animatedly about Projects, Finance, Innovation, Strategy, Infrastructure, Utilities and Healthcare and is passionate about nation-building, serenades life with Kishore Kumar’s songs and Rabindra Sangeet.
Although he acquired the MBBS degree from Nagpur’s Government Medical College with meritorious grades, Dr Mukherjee’s heart was inexorably drawn towards public service since he earnestly believed that he wasn’t cut out for medical practice. As someone who was posted in the interiors of Vidarbha, he was kicked up about improving rural health infrastructure. He was pleasantly surprised when he was drafted as the Secretary of Medical Education, a sphere that opened new vistas to his Spirit for Service bent of mind. By his own admission, he was an administrator first.
At the forefront of activities like increasing seats for the under-graduate and post-graduate courses, fellowships and setting up protocols, he virtually became a messiah to students keen on pursuing Medicine. A course in Public Finance and Public Administration from reputed institutions with his medical background turned him into an adroit administrator – a craft that he demonstrated during the Covid crisis. The Operation Module compendium that he prepared is almost a Bible of guidelines to be followed in dealing with the pandemic. The 360-page compendium includes instructions to handle the corona crisis. Besides, the information shall also be useful for doctors who are fighting the virus across the states as it includes all the necessary steps on setting up isolation and quarantine wards.
A frontline and award-winning Covid Warrior, Dr Mukherjee conceptualized Project Platina, world’s largest convalescent plasma therapy trial-cum-project to treat Covid patients with severe symptoms. He harnessed the project with elaborate use of technology – another area where he evinces keen interest. Today, it is majorly because of him that Google spreadsheets and WhatsApp groups were strapped for data collection and group video calls for review meetings. The information is now available at the click of a mouse.
In the midst of a grueling work schedule punctuated by social distancing, using masks and sanitizers, Dr Mukherjee hasn’t lost his jovial instinct. The exacting standards that he has set for himself are carried forward in his musical instincts as well. A dyed-in-the-wool adherent of Kishore Kumar, he loves to sing his songs and post them on social media. The song from Blackmail (1973) “Sharrrbati teri aankho ki” has won him legion of admirers. Of late, he finds meditational succor in Rabindra Sangeet.
But why only Kishore Kumar among a host of other equally illustrious singers? Dr Mukherjee chuckles. “Who doesn’t like Kishore’s songs? There were many others but I could gel with him for more reasons than one. Maybe I am cut out for the boisterous and rambunctious style that he so lucidly evocates. Plus the fact that he was not a trained singer and it was all part of his pre-natural talent. Even Elvis Presley wasn’t a trained singer but he was a world rage. But now that you tell me, I shall also explore the other Kishore who touches the diametrically opposite timber and scale in songs like ‘Panthi hoon mai us path ka’ or ‘Khushi do ghadi ki’. For me, the pleasure is of singing the songs of a singer who people love to love. And of course, he was a great mimic, dancer and had the entire gamut of artistry in his repertoire.”
Dr Mukherjee is asked to sing at functions, family gatherings and sometimes even among the staff. He never disappoints because the pleasure of singing is more over-riding than any other thought. On such occasions, the rigorous officer in him gives way to a Kishore lover. The apps have taken his singing interests notches higher. Of late, he revels in the serenity of Rabindra Sangeet. He has posted two of Gurudev’s compositions “Akash Bhuro Surjo Tara” and “Shakhi Bhabona Kahare” explaining the finesse in those reverential words. If the music enchants, the words that adorn them tugs at his heart-strings. Everything, including Western Classical Music is a treat to the ears.
For one who can sauté and harmonize his office work with Kishore songs and the rich legacy of Rabindra Sangeet, life is one unending composition in rhapsody for the IAS officer who has duty on his mind and Kishore in his heart. It also explains his smooth transition from a task-master to a person who peppers his articulation with an infectious laughter. An avaricious reader, he never allows his onerous schedules to deter him from writing. The compendium he has written are love’s labour. Nothing can be wearisome when work with its unpredictability becomes an adventure. Kishore and Rabindra Sangeet make it a delightful voyage. And as the maxim goes, those who wish to sing, will always find a song.


The link to music from Blackmail!

Dr Sanjay Mukherjee in his office
Dr Sanjay Mukherjee regaling his audience with a Kishore Kumar song!