This is the link to the transcript and video of Dr. Arun Shourie’s interview with Karan Thapar recently (Oct. 28?).
Some general observations:
(1) A criticism should not be offered, as far as possible, in public, if the idea is to help the receiver learn.
(2) A criticism is not right to be offered when there is already a lot of ‘ganging up’ going on.
(3) Few people returning awards can be judged spontaneous. In hundreds? Prima-facie, it does not appear to be spontaneous but orchestrated
(4) Inconsistent application of principles or criteria for judgement weakens criticisms and dents the credibility of critics.
(5) Criticisms are better received if blended with compliments for good things done. Manish Sabharwal thinks that more labour reforms have been done in the last twelve months than in the previous forty years. Coal and Electricity messes appear to have been cleared up. Banks are a thorny situation. Economic policies that the government has followed (or, the PM has implemented) are exactly what Dr. Shourie told ET NOW that PM Modi would do, in March 2014. So, what gives?
(6) Dr. Shourie’s interview with Karan Thapar in May 12015 had more specific criticisms and was well directed. This one appeared more like a guided conversation.
(7) When Karan Thapar said, ‘PM’s deafening silence on Dadri lynching case, which truly shook the country as nothing else in the last 70 years‘ and Dr. Shourie did not correct him, the conversation or criticism was unlikely to be taken seriously.
(8) Gandhiji’s letters to Jews (or to Hitler) on the holocaust and his protests in India – what exactly is the analogy to the current situation? If there was one, I just did not get it.
(9) If neutral observers lose objectivity, then one should not be surprised that objective-minded supporters of PM Modi become his ardent sympathisers.
(10) When someone has pledged ‘Sabka Vikas’ and has not done anything – in terms of policy – to negate it, to keep calling them intolerant, is actually an incitement to intolerance. (Dr. Shourie on how media attitudes and characterisation are pushing Modi to be adamant about not doing what they want him to do. This was in April 2014).
Dr. Shourie on Dr. Manmohan Singh to Sagarika Ghose in January 2014.
None of the above is to take away my personal respect for Dr. Shourie. That remains intact. His contribution to public life in India should be viewed in totality and not based on one or two isolated interviews. In the end, we are all human and he is human.
All of us too are ‘Nimiththa Maathram Bhava’. Sometimes, however, one wonders, who the wielder of the instrument is, though!
What are the lessons in this for PM Modi? That deserves a separate post.