What has happened to Arun Shourie? – Saurabh Shah

Arun Shourie, Yashwant Sinha and Prashant Bhushan

Saurabh ShahArun Shourie has crossed over to the same secularist crowd that he had despised all through his life and which in turn despised him down the years. Shall we see more different faces of Shourieji as the 2019 election draws near? – Saurabh Shah

If a person’s thinking undergoes natural and spontaneous modifications, it may be called “change”, whereas if he changes his views out of any selfish motive or vested interest, it is called opportunism.

People say that Arun Shourie, a journalist of sterling honesty and integrity, has been spoiled by the company of Shatrughan Sinha and Yashwant Sinha. Shatruji and Yashwantji were in BJP from the days of Vajpayeeji, and supporters of Hindutva. Both attempted to get more then they deserved and came out losers. Both were demeaned in the eyes of Modi and were rightly sidelined by the BJP.

Arun Shourie has few, if any, equals or parallels among Indian journalists in terms of erudition, persistence and honesty. His work is of such calibre and magnitude that columnists like us are not even a speck of dust of his feet. Each one of his books, whether it is “Secular Agenda”, “Missionaries in India”, “World of Fatwas”, “Eminent Historians”, “Courts and Their Judgments”, is worth more than its weight in diamonds.

Shourie’s performance as Vajpayee’s disinvestment minister was spectacular. However, in those days, around 2003, when Vajpayee was in two minds over retaining Modi as Gujarat chief minister, Shourie was in favour of removing him. For whatever reasons, Shourie was of the opinion that Modi’s continuance in office would hurt BJP. We disagreed with Shourie then and we disagree with him even now. But Shourie is entitled to have his own judgment and express it in appropriate forums.

If ordinary people like us are aware of Shourie’s views on this matter, Modi would certainly know it, through his own reliable sources. Modi would surely conclude that while Shourie is a man of impeccable honesty, he may not be committed to him and may pose a threat to his political career.

A person is of value only if he has both, honesty and integrity or commitment—a determination to hold on to principles, values and ethics one believes in. This need not be confused with loyalty to a person. Integrity is commitment to principles and values.

If a person is committed but lacks honesty, his commitment may soon be compromised. Honesty is not limited to financial transactions. It covers one’s conduct, character and actions as much as financial dealings. By the same token, an honest man without commitment is of little use to society.

Arun Shourie always was, is and will remain honest; but he is no longer committed. He had no axe to grind, no selfish motive when he put up a fierce fight for principles and took on the high and mighty in the land. He fought for values, he fought against divisive forces out to break the country.

The same Shourie now hobnobs with a secularist crowd, addresses functions organized by them and provides grist to their propaganda mills. By mixing with them, he lends credence and respectability to those who are out to finish Modi as part of their own agenda. The secularists are an anti-thesis of whatever Modi stands for, as also of what Shourie stood for all his life. If Modi wants to unite the country and society, then the left-liberal crowd wants to divide it on every conceivable line—Hindu-Muslim, Dalits-caste Hindus, haves and have-nots. Their record of seven decades speaks for itself.

Modi saw in Shourie his opponent, if not an enemy. So he sidelined him. Rightly so. If you are honest, but have no commitment, then our goals are different. If you have different goals, you are bound to distract me. Therefore, I must keep you out of harm’s way. This might have been Modi’s thinking in keeping Shourie away. It would have been better if Shourie had returned to his scholarly pursuits rather than aligning himself with the likes of Shatrughan-Yashwant Sinha and providing stuff to secularists.

One has seen several opportunists taking a U-turn for convenience and profit. There are any number of journalists, political commentators, literary figures and columnists who abused Hindutva in filthiest language after the Babri demolition and hurled choicest invectives against Modi after Godhra, but changed colours gradually but persistently and started eulogizing Modi as they witnessed his ascent on the political horizon of the country. The U-turn was complete by 2014.

People who had worked with Modi in Sangh started scathing him publicly when he was under fire in 2002. They turned upon anyone who had a word of sympathy or praise for him. Today, the same friends of Modi have managed to ensconce themselves in cushy positions and enjoy loaves and fishes of power by chanting “Modi, Modi”.

Should we call them double-faced? No. They have three, four, five or more faces. As Sahir Ludhiyanvi said

Ek chahere pe kai chahere laga lete hai log
Jab jee chahe nayee duniya basa lete hai log

Shourie saheb has taken a U-turn in the opposite direction. He has crossed over to the same secularist crowd that he had despised all through his life and which in turn despised him down the years. Shall we see more faces of Shourieji as the 2019 election draws near?

It is one thing to be disappointed by a leader one has supported wholeheartedly. It is understandable to voice one’s disenchantment and distance oneself from the new setup. It is quite another thing to cross over to the enemy camp and join hands with those who are plotting his downfall. It is shatamukha vinipata (hundred-faced downfall) as Bhartuhari would say.

In the Mahabharata war, before aiming a fatal arrow at Bhishma’s chest, Arjun directed another one at his feet as a symbol of touching his feet. I did something similar in my mind, before writing this article. – Mumbai Samachar, November 2018

» Saurabh Shah is a noted columnist for the Mumbai Samachar. He is on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/saurabh.a.shah/.

Arun Shourie Cartoon

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3 Responses

  1. Modi does not and need not fear Shourie. He has no following. He finds him of little value. Modi is capable of out of the box thinking when he recognizes talent. Look at Nirmala Sitharaman.

  2. Shourie is also betraying Sita Ram Goel, who was a true friend and mentor to him.

  3. Fine article. There is no one left who is not saddened by what has happened.

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