Arun Shouri’s Latest Tome is Worthless Through and Through
Arun Shourie’s latest book ‘The Commissioner for Lost Causes’ is boring and insipid, and it does not enlighten in any manner whatsoever. It is an account of the self-righteousness of Arun Shourie. Let it be said that it has unfortunately now become a new trend or fashion for most of the journalist-writers to tom-tom about themselves. In the book, Shourie has reproduced long reports from newspapers, official files or the letters that he had written earlier to buttress his conclusions. In some places, he has praised Ram Nath Goenka, the owner of the Indian Express Group of newspapers but at many times he has traduced him in his book. Ram Nath Goenka was called RNG by his well-wishers and admirers, however, for workers he was always Lalaji. In the eyes of Shourie, he was intrepid, fearless and courageous till he subserved the interests of this self-styled thinker. But when RNG started reining him in, Shourie brought forth his all demerits of an actor, of being uncouth and ugly behaviour, of being abusive and vulgar. Needless to say, it was RNG and his newspaper Indian Express which made Arun Shourie a famous person by allowing him to shine and swell his image among the politicians and bureaucrats. Lalaji was never a lily-white person, his activities like most of the other businessmen were shady, whose all works were aimed at making a profit of all types, yet he was many times very magnanimous towards those employees, editors included, who were ready to perform the duties of a personal factotum.
This is a bulky book by Arun Shourie containing nearly six hundred solid pages and has as many as 29 chapters but the crux of almost the entire book is the self-glorification or self-eulogy of the writer. The credit must certainly be given to a person like Shourie, who despite no training or experience in journalism, managed to be foisted as a senior /executive editor on a dedicated team of journalists by being a member of the elite club of the Lutyens Delhi. He was brought to the Indian Express because of his proximity and high connections with powerful people. Lala Ji gave him full freedom to publish lengthy reports taken directly from the official files. Some of them were passed on to him by Lallaji himself and some of them were obtained from his sources. Those reports might not have been able to any interest to the common people, but they were enough to set the government(s) on fire. Shourie has also had the knack of appropriating the stories of his reporters, which got his ego massaged.
Arun Shourie has painted Lala Ji with a black brush time and again in the book, but Lalaji was no less clever than him. He also used Arun Shourie as a hack, wherever it was needed. Lalaji used to shower choicest abuses on his adversaries and editors, as was his wont, and Shourie has reproduced them as they were hurled. Shourie’s selfishness to outshine other senior editors and journalists by becoming the eyes and ears of Lalaji is visible in all the chapters.
Arun Shourie has always been anti-worker. He has discussed the two strikes of workers: one in Bombay (now Mumbai), which was organised under the leadership of the late Dr Datta Samant and the other in Delhi in the year 1987. He has not discussed at all the working conditions or the demands of the employees but has made all-out efforts to blame the strikers. During both the strikes, Shourie played the role of a shameless strike breaker. What could be more reprehensible for a so-called intellectual like Shourie to invest his time and energy in breaking the strikes than suggesting any respectable solution? He identified fifth columnists among journalists who were/are dime a dozen and black
sheep among workers by luring them with various blandishments. He has taken umbrage that why the employees of other newspapers came forward to help the striking workers of Indian Workers in Delhi. This shows the colossal ignorance of the person about the Trade Unions, where the unity of other workers is not only fully justified but the real Mantra of the movement.
Lo and behold! Shourie after being kicked from the shop of the Lalaji developed his proximity with politicians but feigns ignorance about the shenanigans of politics. He tries to his readers to believe that the Membership of the Rajya Sabha was given to him on a platter, although he was reluctant to accept it. His description of the offer, election to the Rajya Sabha and later the ministership is economical with the truth.
Shourie has praised the judiciary and the judges only when it suited him. So long judiciary and the judges helped him and Lalaji in achieving their goals, they were alright but when it did not suit, he did not hesitate in turning against them. Lalaji and Shourie virtually converted their newspaper into a journalistic harlotry and a tool of blackmailing. Anybody who went against them, be it a worker, a journalist, a politician or a trade unionist was tarred with a bad name to hang him with heaps of ignominy.
Just as Rajiv Gandhi was brought to heels on the issue of Bofors guns with the help of some politicians, Arun Shourie and his ilk tried to blackmail Narendra Modi by using the Rafael fighter planes to get the pounds of flesh. But Arun Shourie and his cohorts like Prashant Bhushan and Yashwant Sinha had to eat humble pie as they did not get support from anywhere. Arun Shourie and his company forgot that Narendra Modi was made of different mettle, who cannot be blackmailed because of his squeaky-clean politics. That is the reason Shourie, and others got rebuffed by the judiciary and the CAG. Now Arun Shourie’s words are taken with a pinch of salt because his true colours have been known to everybody.
Coming again about the book, it will be a sheer waste of time in going through this worthless tome. The book is an example of hollowness. It looks like the writer is unaware of the fact that self-praise is no recommendation.