Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Power of Pen and Words Should be Used Wisely: Shourie

The power of pen and words whether used for appreciation or criticism should be used wisely, according to renowned journalist and author Arun Shourie.

"There is nothing wrong in criticising any book or anybody's viewpoint, but we should adopt a route of healthy criticism which reflects the other side of the argument," Shourie said at the launch of new editions of his bestsellers.

After the success of Shourie's book 'Does He Know a Mother's Heart' last year, Harper Collins launched the new editions of three of his bestsellers including World of Fatwas, Falling over Backwards and Worshipping false Gods - Ambedkar and the Facts Which Have Been Erased.

"If somebody has an argument to counter the viewpoint presented in any book, he or she should write the book reflecting the other side rather than banning books or burning books," Shourie, whose books have been celebrated, criticised and debated, said.

He added that the present era requires lengthy books that present more facts than short books which may interest the readers but provide half-knowledge. Advising the young authors, he said one should take up a subject, do rigorous research and present an avalanche of facts to the readers.

"I had read 18,000 fatwas while I was writing World of Fatwas and had written about 200 judgments of the Supreme Court in Falling over Backwards," he said.

He added that, "If I would have quoted only one verse it would have been out of context. Once I have done thorough research and garnered the facts then I feel satisfied that my job is done."

Expressing his view on Shourie's' book about fatwas, former Union Minister Arif Mohammed Khan said, "World of Fatwas has been criticised, attacked and perceived as an attack on Muslim community, whereas according to me it is an attack on the deviation which took place in Islamic history."

In his book 'World of Fatwas', Shourie has shown Shariah in action, with a mountain of fatwas as his text. He has unravelled the history of fatwas, and the implications that a faithful, rigid adherence to these Islamic judgments holds for the 'believer'. And hence for the non-believers.

His book 'Worshipping False Gods- Ambedkar and the Facts that Have Been Erased' whose decade-old cartoon of Ambedkar rocked the Parliament for days recently casts a critical look at the legend of Ambedkar who has has come to be idolised as no other political leader over the last couple of decades.

In Falling Over Backwards, Arun Shourie has pointed to the truth about reservations and has highlighted the fact that they are a sleight of hand on the part of politicians. He has also taken apart pro-reservation judgments of the Supreme Court.

Quoting Worshipping False Gods as most disturbing one among the three books, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, President, Centre for Policy Research, said, "It is the most disturbing one because other books don't entirely surprise the readers as some facts about it (the subject) are already in public domain."
FILED ON: Jul 25, 2012 15:13 IST

Monday, July 30, 2012

‘We have reached a stage of negative social critical mass’

DEBATE: The former Chief Justice of India M. N. Venkatachaliah, the former Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde, and the former Union Minister Arun Shourie at the book launch in Bangalore on Sunday. Photo: K. Murali Kumar
DEBATE: The former Chief Justice of India M. N. Venkatachaliah, the former Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde, and the former Union Minister Arun Shourie at the book launch in Bangalore on Sunday. Photo: K. Murali Kumar
New editions of Arun Shourie’s four books launched
M.N. Venkatachaliah, former Chief Justice of India, on Sunday expressed concern that the country had reached a stage of negative social critical mass that unleashes a chain of destructive reactions due to various lacunae.
“This situation is a cause of concern as we are in a stage of destructive reactions and not reasoning,” he said, while participating at the launch of new editions of four books of journalist-turned-politician Arun Shourie at a programme jointly organised by HarperCollins Publishers Indian and Jagriti here.
“We must know that children are taught in schools and educated at home. This is the problem as the parents are now not free to focus on their children at homes. The whole thing needs a relook from the educational perspective,” he said, while referring to the earlier practice of children learning about values at home.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Shourie called upon parents to teach their wards about the importance of values by setting themselves as examples.
Mr. Shourie, who shared his experiences as a writer, stressed the need for people to speak their mind irrespective of whether others approve of it or not.
Narrating how those who did not agree with his views mentioned in his books related to B.R. Ambedkar and fatwas physically assaulted him, poured tar on him, and abused him, Mr. Shourie said finally it was B.R. Ambedkar’s grandson Prakash Ambedkar who came to his rescue by telling people that the answer to [Shourie’s] book was a [another] book and not violence.
Mr. Shourie said that public discourse was dominated by people, especially politicians, who believed in nothing. “People do not believe Congress’ talks of secularism and the BJP’s Hindutva as they think that neither of these parties believe in either,” he pointed out.
Speaking on the occasion, the former Karnataka Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde advised the youth to try and understand the true meaning of world contentment. “It is not real contentment when you acquire some illegitimate wealth. This is only temporary as the next day itself you would want to acquire more. The true contentment comes only when you get something legitimately through hard work.”
The new editions of books released at the programme were Does he know a mother’s heart: how suffering refutes religions; Worshipping false gods – Ambedkar and the facts that have been erased; The work of fatwas – or the Sharia in action; and Falling over backwards – An essay of reservations and judicial populism

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