Wednesday, June 04, 2008

deconstructing arun shourie

This led to this, and now we're here! What started it all was this article by the rabble rouser this post seeks to analyze.

Let us begin by refuting shourie's article point by point:

There are many reasons why someone would mock anyone else's "secular credentials". From the simple of jealousy that stems from feeling inferior in comparision, to the more sinister attempt to influence by the power of suggestion. What is important to note is that the latter stems from an insecurity of losing one's identity. Anyway, mocking a virtue doesn't make it any less of a virtue.

shourie's tendency to ramble makes it difficult to deal with his essay point by point. If you read it you will appreciate the effort I had to make to stay on track.

Hindutva in it's current form is not different from the Taliban's brand of Islam or for that matter any other totalitarian, violent approach.

shourie's meandered about for miles before finally summarizing that Hinduism gives it's followers the Violence go ahead. Yet he keeps referring to a difference that he doesn't seem to demonstrate clearly. Actually Mohammed too gave his followers the battle go ahead when there was no other way out. So there is similarity in the teachings. But shourie is no expert on either religion & must not be taken seriously. People devote entire lives to the study of religion, yet do not overcome the very basic language & contextual barriers so intrinsic to an in-depth understanding of any literature in a foreign language, let alone religion!

shourie is actually an expert at manipulation. He paints a picture of an India ruled savagely by non-Hindu rulers for thousands of years! He very conveniently forgets that across North & South India, the rulers were primarily Hindu by religion. Even under Mughal rule, there were Hindu Kings in other parts of the country. As for savagery, I suppose the savagery of battle in the Mahabharat, at Kalinga, and the patricide that Hindu kings (how I hate myself for having to use this term!) indulged in are meant to be forgotten because of the fact that they happened on what he considers "his side". As for the peaceful, unifying rule of Akbar, the progress in art & culture that India still lays claim to, that needs to be kept a well hidden secret. Typical RSS-BJP type misrepresentation of facts, doctoring of history & propaganda! Not expected of an arun shourie, but what the hell, the man's human!

He forgets conveniently that India has been primarily Hindu ruled, except for the Mughal period. Even in modern day India, no Muslim/Christian/Jewish/Parsi/Jain/Buddhist/Sikh/etc political party has come to power. The rulers have been Hindus. But wait... these aren't shourie's Hindus.. these are the despicable secular Hindus; the kind that have caused the downfall of the great Hindu state of India! The ones who're better dead than alive! Which is what explains why people like Gandhiji, Indira, Rajiv etc. kept getting assassinated, while their leaders continue to die of old age!

shourie's fogginess vis a vis the Palestinian-Arab religions as he puts it (he could just have used the generally accepted term Abrahamic!) is evident in his "exclusivist" statement! The truth is that Christianity recognizes Moses as a prophet, and Islam acknowledges both Moses & Jesus as preceding prophets. If he'd have read the Quran, he'd have known that Adam, Abraham, Noah and many others are also acknowledged as prophets.

Forget reading the Quran, even if he'd watched "The Message", he'd have learnt that the early Muslims took shelter with Christian kings of neighbouring areas. This shelter was granted to them when verses from the Quran were recited, clearly proving Jesus to be a prophet of both religions!

But shourie doesn't want you to know that! Assuming that he knows that himself, that is!

shourie also skilfully tries to dodge the Khajuraho question in response to the MF Husain argument. If it was OK for artisans to depict Gods & Goddesses in naked, thrusting glory then! on temple walls if you please! how come it isn't OK for Husain to depict them thus in his paintings?

Instead he tries to turn the argument to Husain's never having painted the "icons of Islam". He knows only too well that there are no icons in Islam. It is forbidden to paint or sculpt the prophet or his family lest Islam's message too gets lost among another idol worshipping mass of humanity!

At this point it is wholly clear that shourie's piece is not meant for the discerning reader. It is unmitigatedly targeted at further inciting newly English literate RSS sympathisers. It is a dangerous piece of writing & in an ideal scenario shourie would be in jail for acting against the interests of peace in our country! What is surprising is that the Indian Express chose not to see it like that!

More examples of his attempts to incite are here:

What does shourie mean by "serve as a warning to all who keep pushing Hindus around"? WHO is pushing Hindus around in a country where they're the dominant majority???

Or by "... Gandhiji’s incontestable greatness and the fact that it was so evidently rooted in his devotion to our religion... "? Our religion? Is he talking from a Hindu standpoint here? Or is he insinuating that the religion of India is Hinduism?

It doesn't matter. He is talking rubbish!

Now on to the deconstruction that I spoke of.

arun shourie was probably one of India's bravest journalists. All this happened while I was very young, but I have updated myself on shourie through that (often unreliable) source called Wikipedia.

shourie was with the Indian Express. A newspaper I respect. It was unafraid to speak the truth, it set benchmarks in investigative, truth-be-told journalism; what journalism should be. shourie was during his time with them, probably the biggest exponent of these values. so what happened then? how did he become the malicious rumour mongering arun shourie of today?

Well.. it so happened that the I.E. & shourie took on the ruling Congress party at that time & won a few crucial rounds. It was a laudable effort, they even succeeded in forcing AR Antulay's resignation on corruption charges! Unfortunately, they became victims of a witch-hunt, once the Congress came back to power, post the emergency debacle. Interestingly, the party that had briefly replaced them failed miserably.

I am inclined to believe that I.E. & shourie had no vested interests in their campaign, and that what followed was very unfair.

The pressure on I.E.'s owners it is said, forced them to give shourie the sack. You can imagine how traumatizing that must have been for an honest, eager journalist!

They didn't just take his job away from him. They took his career away from him!

I believe that something inside shourie snapped. he began hating everything that the Congress stood for. Even things like secularism!

he went from truthful journalist to shameless rumour monger!

I believe that for shourie, it isn't about national or even Hindu interest. It is about personal vendetta.

What he doesn't realize is that by becoming what he has, he let that handful of crooked elements in the Congress party win! he has become a caricature of what he once was, he has lost his credibility, he has let his detractors win. They wanted to finish him off. And they have succeeded.

Attempted Crosspost


  1. Iconoclast,
    Insightful; well spoken.
    Sometimes, it is a disadvantage to be a majority, especially if you're not well read, or well informed. What happens to the minority is that they get the necessary exposure to the minority as well as the majority cultures, by & large (because they are born in one, & surrounded by the other), but the majority are totally in the dark about the beauties of a minority culture which has stood the test of time, because of their lack of exposure to it, unless they make a special effort to experience it... to say, 'Surely there must be something good in it, if it is attracting so many...etc.'

  2. Good post overall! Maybe a trifle too long though!

    :-) !

  3. y,



    Thank You. Compliments from a former critic mean a whole lot.
    Couldn't help making it long. The subject & nature of the post was such. The original article that needed refuting was even longer...!


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