Different Dialogues : In conversation with Mr. Sanjay Verma – Consul General of India to Dubai, U.A.E.

In conversation with Mr. Sanjay Verma – Consul General of India to Dubai, U.A.E.


Educational Background: Fellowship in International Studies from the University Grant Commission of India.  Masters in International Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University. 

Graduation from Mumbai University’s Jai Hind College.  Higher Secondary from Wilson College, Mumbai (India).    

There is a consenting grace about the place, the place which houses the Indian Consulate in Dubai (UAE).  Once inside, I am governed by an uninterrupted sequence of decorum.  I pass a wide hall, a few corridors.  As I am ascending-descending the flight of easy steps to reach the viability of my destinations, I remain harnessed by the years of yore.  The everlasting ties between UAE and India.


Interviews are uniquely insightful, offering the reporter to unveil the personality and achievements of the distinguished person being interviewed.  The objectivity of my good purpose was partly achieved even before the formal interview began with Mr. Sanjay Verma – the Indian Consul General to Dubai, U.A.E.  To back a moment to the scene, I recollect – first and foremost, how with great maturity Mr. Sanjay Verma took the role of a listener!  Beyond doubt, the Consul General’s identity sits on the definition of a person who connects most spontaneously with people.  In almost everything that touched the cord, this amicable feature showed up several times during our conversation.


Sanjay Verma grew up in Mumbai.  All through his school and college, he remained an outstanding student.  A state rank holder in Higher Secondary from Wilson College, he graduated with distinction from Mumbai University’s Jai Hind College with an Honours degree in Economics.  He holds a Masters in International Studies from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.  This is where he met his soul mate – Sangeeta Matta.  In the arena of sports, Sanjay Verma played hockey at the University-level.


The fervour of making the diplomatic career his vocation has remained with Sanjay Verma since the earlier years of growing up.  “I always had interest in foreign affairs and seeing the world”, he says with conviction.  When I asked Sanjay Verma how this continual moving after a 3 year tenure works for him, he said, “The struggling spirit of limbo is also committed to progress – the career is a gateway to learning.  There are no excuses for me to say, I’ve just come to this new posting and give me time to solve your problem.  I am not unique, it happens to all my diplomat colleagues.  It is enriching, but at a cost.”


Sanjay Verma’s first assignment was in Hong Kong.  The duration in Kathmandu, Nepal, is a lasting joy in his heart.  “It was a complete holistic package”, he expressed.


It is not by coincidence that Sanjay Verma is an expert orator.  The fact that the Consul General delivered 200 speeches in the year 2011, his apparent skill for research is utilized during weekends (besides attending community programmes), to prepare discourses covering distinctive topics.

From Equity Investment to Palliative Care, such topics require the factual articulation to be precise and rapid in knowledge because the subjects are not run-of-the-mill subjects.  “I can make bland statements.  But that doesn’t do for me.  I speak with a passion.  It seems it is from my heart, but it is coming from the mind”, explained Sanjay Verma.


I am quite sure, another distinguishing feature of Sanjay Verma is that apart from being an impressive speaker, he has an unquenching thirst for knowledge.  The fusion of both aspects is lucid in his personality.  Among fiction-writers, Indian authors are his favourites.  He gives the name of Amitav Gosh.  At any given time, he is enjoying the prosperity of six or seven books!  He projects his enthusiasm in books covering: Pure Economics, Behavioural Economics.   Fiction is there – between 20% to cover the total course of reading.


On a lighter note, when Sanjay Verma was in Grade eleven, he developed the hobby of collecting old prints, post cards, magazines.  With a quiet pride, he told me that he is in possession of the 1st copy of Filmfare magazine which covered the 1st Filmfare award.  I knew from my own experience that his collections have turned into a prized gift from a simple past time.  I asked him with happy concern, how he looks after his hunted treasure and he replied in an orderly calm, “One level, the collection of old posters, post cards, magazines gave me sanity, relief but they can’t take over my life.”  I like the way Sanjay Verma put the phrase: But they can’t take over my life.  His words compared with practical wisdom.


At the end of our dialogue, when I wanted the Consul General’s view on the world of today, Sanjay Verma smiled broadly and said, “The world is better today.  Man is living longer.  Women’s power, prestige is better.  Countries have won freedom.  Wars have reduced.  Man’s destruction of his own kind is least today than it has ever been.  The contradiction is existing, of course.  Stress is there.  But there is good stress, too.  Woman is ‘stressing’ her role and that’s good stress”.


While compiling the recollection of the interview, it was significant to me, with greater strength, that life on the whole demands a lot from us for the sake of self-evolvement and salubrious status.  There are no free coffees for anyone.  I got lucky because I was served the best brewed coffee even before the interview started!


Q 1. What has been the turning point of your life?

A .My life has shifted gears at various times, this includes beginning school, university, joining the Indian Diplomatic Service, meeting my wife, Sangeeta, getting married and becoming a father.  In a different, but important way, life has also turned every three years as we moved from Delhi to Hong Kong to Manila to Delhi to Kathmandu to Beijing to Delhi and now in Dubai.  I feel that life has also moved ahead positively when I discovered the pleasure of reading, the magic of cinema, began experiencing the sublime power of music, etc.


Q 2. If you could go back in time, what would you want to do?

A. While we claim to understand a lot of our history as humans, who is to say that there are no gaps or who can with surety claim that historical facts accepted today are not based on half truths and only interpretations?  For example, if we are not sure, whether Jodha was Akbar’s wife or whether she was a Hindu or Muslim, then how can we be certain of even more significant occurrences. So, if I were given the gift of going back in time, I would want to place myself at several crucial junctures of history to understand objectively and accurately as to what transpired. For instance, what is meant by the script of the Indus Valley or what actually Buddha said or how accurate are our epics, or even why humans got to be so stratified and divided.  I would want to correct our historical narrative so that in the manner of speaking we could live in an even better world today.  But then if wishes were horses…


Q 3. What are your future dreams?

A. The world is a better place today than it has ever been in the past.  Man lives longer, is healthier and disadvantaged groups, including women are slowly but surely, making incremental progress in asserting their rights.  At the broader level, my dreams would be to see India as a truly developed society where almost all of our citizens have a dignity of existence, including aspirations that the system would allow to materialize.  At the personal level, I dream of my family and friends having a wholesome, joyous and soul satisfying existence.”


The diarist, Geeta Chhabra had taken the interview in March 2012 in Dubai-UAE.