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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Gandhiji read and re-read

Newspaper readers have of late been barraged with extensive passages from Mahatma Gandhi’s Collected Works, and in many instalments.

It reminds me of former British Prime Minister Arthur Balfour’s aside on the publication of yet another book by Winston Churchill: “I hear that Winston has written a big book about himself and called it The World Crisis.”*


* quoted in Burying Caesar: The Churchill-Chamberlain Rivalry by Graham Stewart. The Overlook Press, Woodstock and New York, 2001, page 40.


Arun said...

It seems Swapan is hellbent on taking on Shourie!

Anonymous said...

Like many literate Indians, I have been an admirer of you both for a long time (and personally came ot know AS) but this public muck-racking is very sad. Instead of putting our energies and limited sources on fighting opponents, they are busy with settling personal scores or destroying each other. No wonder Chinese / Pakistanis / Americanos and their local mansabdars - Sonia, Rahul and Fake Singh Dhongi - have become so bold and arrogant on strategic and national security issues.

Anonymous said...

If Gandhiji readers shared a drink at the press club, Mr Dasgupta would see them in a new light. What the other is is an annoying reminder of what one isn't.

Anonymous said...

Come on guys! Stop taking on each other! There is an ideological battle to waged thro the pen.

india15august said...

Bolt from Bihar

In the May general Elections, Bihar stood as a rock with the BJP - JDU alliance, giving them 31 out of 40 seats in the Lok Sabha. Yesterday, results of by-elections for 18 seats in the assembly saw Nitish suffer a major setback. His alliance with the BJP won 5 seats as against 8 won by Lalu Yadav - Paswan alliance. This is a complete turn around in just four months.

JDU - BJP is now making the classic mistake of blaming the defeat to 'local factors'. This is an ostritch like approach, which ignores the main issues.

First, The JDU has become a rest house (Sarai) for all members of the RJD - Mr Lalu Yadav's party. Nitish keeps on admitting all and sundry who are shifting from the other camp. The JDU is becoming a sanitised version of the RJD - the same people except Mr Yadav. People may have decided to vote for the 'real' thing, rather than an imitation.

Second, Good governance was the mainstay of the JDU-BJP campaign. This is not a political philosophy. Good governance is part of the basic duties of a political outfit. What is the big deal?

Third, most important, the Lok Sabha victory resulted in arrogance among the JDU-BJP leaders. This is political suicide. The people quickly show you your place if you are arrogant. Politicians are usually surprised to find that the purpose of politics is to serve the people, not vice versa.

The people of India are wise. In May 2009, they rejected the LKA led BJP alliance in MP, Uttarakhand and Gujarat. In the by-elections they have voted for th respective BJP led govts. Because, they did not appreciate the high and might airs of the central leadership, but accept the down to earth approach of the state leaders. This is a lesson that Sonia Gandhi has understood very clearly. No airs, no arrogance, dedication towards serving the people. This is a lesson that Atal Behari Vajpayee never needed, because he was made that way - simple, humble, caring for the people of India.

I blog on the BJP at

Anonymous said...

I dont understand whats the beef between two Journos that I admire. Right wing journos are very rare in leftist polluted Indian media. its sad is all.

Anonymous said...

This is rich coming from someone who quite recently wrote a lengthy rejoinder to Kamal Sandesh editorial jumping to the conclusion that it targeted him, whereas in matter of fact it was directed against the avid Gandhiji reader!

Even if assuming for argument's sake that Shourie is doing nothing more than vent his personal angst, his is an argument that resonates well with many of BJP's thinking, caring middle-class supporters. They want change and they want it now. Your own personal relationships have blinded you to the fact that most rational people smell a rat when individuals responsible for a colossal failure get *rewarded*. It was you who wrote not long ago that perceptions matter even when they are based on erroneous premises. From there to burying one's head in the sand is quite a journey.

bjp_supporter said...

The medium of blog might make snide remarks passable too. But a snide remark is still a snide remark.

The operative part of Shourie's article in which he has quoted Gandhiji is this - that RSS chief belied the expectations in several quarters that he would disapprove of Shourie's comments and thus set the stage for the 'leadership' to expel him.

No point in trying to prepare the ground for 'excellent politicians' like Jaitley or Sushma. BJP can still be the party with a difference. Increasingly, particularly with the RSS chief's comments, it looks like there is a chance for that.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Advani, Jaitley & Co will destroy whatever little reputation is left of Naitonal BJP!

Swabhimaan said...

Shourie is wrong when he raises the questions you too have raised? Is that what you mean Swapan?

Why are you hell bent on lowering your esteem?

Arun Italics said...

Maan! Too many Aruns here. So I am changing my ID.

I grew up as a fan of Arun Shourie, but realized that such extreme positions and intolerance will turn into a liability for his party and we are seeing it. He is the Arundhati Roy of the right, as someone rightly said.

Srinvias said...

Shame on you Swapan Das Gupta for sneaky barbs at a man like Shourie. Atleast Shourie writes signed pieces and is direct unlike the useless Jaitley, who "plants" stories against colleagues.

mpanj said...


please refrain from this public bickering. What purpose does it serve?

If two stalwarts of India's conservative movement sink to this level, what right does anyone have to point fingers at your counterparts on the left.

If you have a problem with Shourieji, pick up the phone and confront him. Do it in private.

Please dont turn this into a tamasha.

Shourieji's lifelong scarifices place him in a league of his own. There are few individuals currently in public life who can measure up to him.

Also, his 'non-aligned' status in the current power struggle, makes him a formidable opponent, if you choose take that route.

Even RSS would have to think twice before challenging him.

zoomindianmedia said...


Conservatives need not necessarily be offended by comparison to Churchill, who had some qualities not necessarily considered undesirable.

And remember ground realities resulted in Churchill replacing Chamberlain!

Is it your intention to flatter Shourie?

Most of us in the Right wont disagree with Shourie's position to clean up BJP augean stables fast.

Karna said...

When one doesn't have arguments, one resorts to satire, oblique references and character assassination.

I used to have high regards for Swapan, not any more. I am going to cut down my time on this blog.

Pandit said...

Stupendous article on Cattlegate in the Pioneer!!

Chatterati will say Tharoor too good for Indian Politics. You and I will say Indian Politics too good for Tharoor.

After leaving the UN, he should have stuck to speaking and writing activites. He has one flaw, but the 1 fatal flaw which affects all celebrities - relentless self-aggrandizement.

Some tweets are plain offensive - talking about boring meetings with ministers from other countries. For crying out loud, he is supposedly representing India in the meeting, he cant be yawning thru it, far less publicly call his counterpart a bore.

Strange to see Chatterati calling him 'new breed of politicians'. He is as much a politician as Govinda, Vinod Sharma, Vijay Mallya etc - using fame achieved in other fields to get political power.

And anyway, by all accounts he did his share of dirty politics to get elected - cut a deal with the CPI(M) against the CPI candidate who was his opponent (local CPI(M) leaders supported him, Prakash Karat refused to campaign in his constituency). Perhaps even cut a deal with BJP - in 2004 BJP candidate got 29% vote, if same candidate was put up Tharoor would have lost.

To his credit, he has never once said anything sycophantic about the Congress Party - the main reason Congressmen dont like him.

It will be good for the country, but even better for Shashi if he were to quit politics and return to speaking & writing.

Samudra said...

Guys, go easy on Swapan. Swapan has made his points in a civil way.

Arun Shourie might have made some valid points. But the language and tenor does not appear very inspiring. What's with Humpty Dumpty and Alice in Blunderland etc. Seems like a cantankerous old man. The same points can be made in a better fashion without resorting to name calling.

Anonymous said...

Please Swapan da!, please, don't fight Shourieji. I respect you both and would hate to side with one or the other.

Anonymous said...

I am disappointed with Swapan for this snide remark against Arun Shourie. Shourie has put his career on the line many times for the sake of the right thing. I think most people have full faith in his integrity and his sincerity.

Anonymous said...

Many rightwingers have many a time strongly expressed the resentment that the BJP does a shoddy job of dealing with a hostile media. "Why the defensiveness? Why don't you give it back good?" was the question often asked.

The recent squabbles have thrown up a revelation about several BJP leaders who the party's supporters once held in high esteem: they have feet of clay. Hence a random thought: does these leaders' reticence to go aggressive against the media stem from awareness of skeletons in their own cupboard? I mean, the media is at any rate in the Congress's pocket and a venal media wields the power of blackmail, so why invite more trouble?

The thought occurs because of the realization, in hind sight, that Shourie was the only man who never minced words in his dealings with "journalists". I recall that in the run up to May elections, he called out media outfits by name -- particularly NDTV -- and pretty much directly suggested that they were batting for the Congress. He would routinely turn tables on talking pundits in TV shows. You could almost sense the trepidation with which some of them addressed him.

Gandhi was quoted extensively to make the point that character and conduct do matter in the final analysis. Swapan maybe unimpressed, but putting two and two together, I'm convinced.

Anonymous said...

I'm reposting my comment b'coz I feel I posted it on wrong blog.

I've been noticing this for quite a while but I didn't say anything abt it b'coz I felt I might be wrong. But now I'll say b'coz I'm dead sure I'm right and I'm also sure old reader would also agree with me on this that whenever newsplanter Swapan Dasgupta is encountered with persistent harsh comments on his blog he quickly starts new blog to distract attention or to digress topic. Normally he doesn't get the TIME to update his blog for weeks. But this time he was caught right handed b'coz this time started new blog on a topic in which nobody is interested. Advani is a history and we all pray he goes to his Jinna at the earliest. What this man with no credibility say isn't a matter of debate. Peroid

On ur diatribe at Shourie:

Unlike u I don't pretend so I'd candidly admit that I'm a Shourie fanboy. But that does't mean I support him blindly like u does in case of UR jaitly. So pls don't take my view as emotional outburst of a fan. I'm a man devoid of emotions.

So I agree with what u said in ur blog abt his pathetic work.I'm also not happy with boring work by my icon, certainly not with his praise of coward Gandhi, but still I feel it's well within in his right to write abt the topic he likes. We can't impose our choice on him and certainly can't take potshot at him b'coz of other Khunnus (Hindi word)-- I mean u believe he brought dispute to ur name by taking name of six unidentified journalist in NDTV interview.

Keeping ur of late behavior in mind I can only compare u with aag-lagaou bahus of star plus. So from now on u r egoist, aag-lagaou Dasgupta for me. Pata nahi aap har cheez dil pe kyu lete ho, Kanchan da toh kabhi nahi lete! Kanchan da never though that piece on Kamal Sandesh is directed at him after all he's also a journo. Aapko kuch zyada hi dikkat hoti hai. Ur behavior also validates the anecdote which one member of BJP cadre once told me. He said it not netas who fight personally it's chhutbhaiyas and their supporters who CREATES fight and egos between netas. I guess u r also doing the same work in BJP. Don't think u'll allow my post to publish.