It’s rather painful to see the fall of Arun Shourie when the man has decided to not stop until he hits the abyss. To see him standing in solidarity with the people whom he opposed throughout his life is the testimony of the fall of a man. His tale is also a learning lesson for most of the people, which is to retire from public life at right age because nobody knows the idiosyncrasies of the old man.
Arun Shourie has been one among the most prominent thinkers of the Hindu revivalist movement, and what makes him more courageous is the fact that he dared to take a completely different turn in journalism which is characterized by group thinking and ideological differentiation. Who could have thought that there will be an editor who will have the audacity to publish the entire book such as ‘Hindu Temples and What Happened to Them’ as a series of articles in Indian Express? It’s no doubt that the man was less a committed Hindu as his little known book ‘Hinduism: Essence and Consequences’ is essentially a criticism of Hinduism from a rational humanist perspective, but he lived in those tumultuous times when Hindu side was rendered intellectually defunct in public discourse and he showed exemplary courage in advocating the arguments from our side.
He criticized every other element of which was dear to Indian secularist primarily Islam, Marxism, Christianity, and Ambedkar while defending the resurgent Hindu activism. It’s no surprise that when Arun Shourie was finally given a ministerial birth, the secularists were relieved that they will not have to worry about Arun Shourie’s weekly columns.
Whatever political differences he developed with Modi or not is immaterial as joining the chorus of enemies out of vanity or for whatever known reason is simply incomprehensible. The man was a jewel but has reduced himself as the crude product of alchemy at such old age. Arun Shourie was a hero but he lived too long to die as a villain. I still can’t fathom that he will publicly call Mamta Banerjee ‘Bengal ki Sherni’ but then, humans have always been a mystery and Arun Shourie is no exception.
But entire fault cannot be imposed on Arun Shourie alone. If the BJP government couldn’t utilize such a gem who was able to single-handedly fight all ideological rivals, then it’s indeed their major error. But, what the Arun Shourie episode brings to the fore, is that even people of highest values and stature can indeed fall, and even place personal ego and interests, above that of the society and country.