Lifestyle Books and Art 29 Jan 2017 Hyderabad Literary F ...

Hyderabad Literary Fest: Follow the leader

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | CHRISTOPHER ISAAC
Published Jan 29, 2017, 12:11 am IST
Updated Jan 29, 2017, 12:12 am IST
Day 2 of the Hyderabad Literary fest helped bring a more enlightened discourse among citizens.
When a person’s childhood starts getting rewritten, from infanthood; when his silly rhymes are flaunted as high poetry... when his views become the answer to everything, then you must wake up  — Arun Shourie, author
 When a person’s childhood starts getting rewritten, from infanthood; when his silly rhymes are flaunted as high poetry... when his views become the answer to everything, then you must wake up — Arun Shourie, author

Former journalist and politician Arun Shourie took stage to open the second day of the Hyderabad Literary Fest on Saturday morning, for his plenary session ‘Lessons For Leaders and Followers’ — that also happened to be the theme of the book he’s writing next, his 28th. Clarifying at the start that he wasn’t only referring to the current governments in power, Arun spoke about what followers need to keep in mind when choosing their leaders. “The first lesson for us followers is that for our own reputation, it is safer in India to oppose rulers than support them. If you warn people about what the leaders might do (wrong), people will listen to you. But if you support leaders, they’ll always let you down. It’s safer to oppose and warn, than to support and idealise,” he said. Commitment to truth is another criterion to look at, he said. “For instance, the current prime minister had announced that within a year, he would bring a law that if there was a case involving a minister or member of parliament — a legislator — then the trial must be concluded within one year. That’s a wonderful thing. But have you heard of anything being done with that regard?” questioned Arun.

He also warned about the deifying of leaders, especially when their histories are rewritten: “When a person’s childhood starts getting rewritten, from infanthood; when silly rhymes are flaunted as high poetry; when little skirmishes begin to be projected as great battles; when every caravan raid is written up as a great war; when clichés are written up as ideologies and great books; when his views become the answer to everything, then you must wake up.”

 

Arun also warned against trusting someone who only promises what you want: “Always keep your own motives under scrutiny — if you support someone because you want something, you are in their thrall. Only when you want nothing that he or she can give, then you will be independent.”

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