Friday, November 1, 2013

Arun Shourie

Born 2 November 1941

Arun Shourie was a minister in Central Cabinet.  He served as an economist with the World Bank (1968–72 and 1975–77), a consultant to the Planning Commission, India, editor of the Indian Express and Times of India and a minister in the government of India (1998–2004).

Arun Shourie was born in Jalandar, India.  He studied at Modern School, Barakhamba and St. Stephen's in Delhi. He obtained his doctorate in Economics from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University in the United States.

As executive Editor of Indian Express, in , he uncovered corruption in the highest echelons of the government and exposed several major scandals, including what has been dubbed “India’s Watergate.” Shourie started a one-man crusade in 1981 against Abdul Rehman Antulay, the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra State, who allegedly extorted millions of dollars from businesses dependent on state resources and put the money in a private trust named after Indira Gandhi. The story caused the eventual resignation of the chief minister and great embarrassment to Gandhi and her ruling Congress Party.

Between 1982 and 1986, Shourie wrote for various newspapers and magazines, at the same time as being General Secretary of the People's Union for Civil Liberties. He was appointed executive editor of the Times of India in 1986 but was lured back to the Indian Express by Goenka in 1987. Shourie launched an attack on then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi over the Bofors howitzer gun purchase scandal. This contributed to Rajiv Gandhi's defeat in the subsequent parliamentary elections.

Among the many battles Shourie fought for press freedom, perhaps the most famous was his crusade against the government’s proposal in 1988 to introduce a defamation bill. It was widely perceived that the bill had been introduced with unusual speed in the Parliament in an attempt to muzzle the Indian Express, and the entire media community joined Shourie and the Indian Express in condemning the move.

After 1990, he devoted his energy to writing books and regular columns, which appeared in different languages in 30 newspapers across India. In 2000, he was named as one of the International Press Institute's 50 World Press Freedom Heroes of the past 50 years.

Shourie is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He has been a member of the Rajya Sabha and also held the office of the Minister of Disinvestment, Communication and Information Technology in the Government of India under Atal Bihari Vajpayee's prime ministership. As Disinvestment Minister, he led the sale of Maruti, VSNL, Hindustan Zinc among others.  In a poll of India’s top 100 CEOs in February 2004, he was ranked the most outstanding minister of Mr.Vajpayee’s government.

Arun Shourie has written about 26 books. His writings have gained him a considerable following in Hindu nationalist circles, as well as several national and international honours. Among these are the Padma Bhushan, the Magsaysay Award, the Dadabhai Naoroji Award, the Astor Award, the K.S. Hegde Award and the International Editor of the Year Award and The Freedom to Publish Award.

In A Secular Agenda (1997, ISBN 81-900199-3-7), Shourie discusses various problems faced by India due to minority appeasement and pseudo-secularism practiced by the Indian politicians. The book starts with a discourse on the definition of a nation. He cites examples of other nations in Europe to counter the arguments of people who do not consider India as one nation due to its different languages and religions. He argues for a Uniform Civil Code in the book and the abolition of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. He also discusses the problem related to infiltration from Bangladesh and the inability of the Indian government to solve it.

Eminent Historians: Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud (1998, ISBN 81-900199-8-8) discusses the NCERT controversy in Indian politics and attacks Marxist historiography. Shourie asserts that Marxist historians have controlled and misused important institutions like the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), the National Council of Educational Research Training (NCERT) and a large part of academia and the media. He criticizes well-known historians like Romila Thapar and Irfan Habib. Shourie argues that Marxist historians have white-washed the records of rulers like Mahmud of Ghazni and Aurangzeb. Shourie presents examples to further his argument of how many of these text books describe in great detail foreign personalities like Karl Marx or Joseph Stalin, while they often barely mention important figures of India or of the Indian states. Shourie writes that this is in contrast to Russian Marxist text books. The standard Soviet work A History of India (1973) is according to Shourie much more objective and truthful than the history books written by the Indian Marxists.



Arun Shourie Online Content

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