Arun Shourie came into my life on a Sunday in May, 1998.
He had written an article about the second Pokhran blast by A.B.Vajpayee. His premise was simple; he had collected what ten liberals had said about the second Pokhran blast and also what the same worthies had said in 1974 when Smt.Indira Gandhi had conducted the first nuclear test.The comparison was so timely and incisive, that I immediately fell in love with Arun and began to gobble-up what ever had to say on anything.
My love affair intensified when I began to read his books. His ‘Eminent Historians’ where he had called out the hypocrisy of the left intellectuals about the way they had gone ahead and changed our history, was a masterpiece. i was impressed with the volumes of evidence that he had given, citing very authentic sources.I was floored.
Then came ‘Falling over backwards’ – the treatise on the stupidity called reservations that was doing the country great harm in every sphere. His extensive research for the topic from court judgements to details from different books, details about how even Ambedkar was against reservation et al opened me to research methodologies that I was not used to.
There was no stopping from then on. i gobbled up his books one by one-‘Worshipping False Gods’,’The world of Fatwas or Shariah in action’, ‘Missionaries in India’, ‘The only fatherland’ and many other articles on different subjects kept me in awe and I began to emulate Shourie sub-consciously so much so that my own research articles on different political happenings were modelled on Shourie’s approach.
Then came Shourie’s ‘Does He know a mother’s heart’ – a book on how different religions see pain and suffering. I must confess that he made me an atheist for a long time due to the sheer brilliance of the book. Then came the one on India’s China policy and the failures of Panditji in dealing with China.
Shourie’s books have no parallel. His research is thorough, his methods of exposition brilliant and his integrity beyond question. His handling of the disinvestment and telecom ministries during the Vajpayee regime had set standards on how a minister should leverage the bureaucracy and get things done rather than hide behind red-tapism and while away time at office.
Such a person should ideally have been part of the government under Modi. But I assume that stature issues could have hindered the smooth functioning of the government and hence he has not been part of the Modi government.
If I were Modi, I would tap into Shourie’s reservoir of wisdom to steer the country forward rather than make the intellectual come out in public and vent his disenchantments.