Arun Shourie used to be an intellectual, a journalist and a writer par excellence and then unfulfilled ambitions, age and jealousy got the better of him. The Arun Shourie we know today comes across as a senile man, the single point agenda of whose life is now baseless condemnation of Narendra Modi. The ailment that started on 26th of May 2014 has now turned into a disease of sorts. It is sad to see the man who was once synonymous with intelligence is a walking embodiment of irrationality now.
Arun Shourie’s life journey is akin to the journey of a scholar who got everything and then in the final stage of his life, threw everything away in anticipation of more.
The Post-Emergency era was a defining moment in Indian Journalism. Freedom of press was restored. Journalists were scared but hopeful. Press Censorship was lifted. And Indian Journalism was undergoing a metamorphosis. From being the adulators of the government who would write 10-page-long exaltations about Pt. Nehru and how his brand of Socialism is what the world needs, the press moved to a more critical role. And Arun Shourie was right at the forefront of this media revolution. He had returned to India with a brief stint with the world bank. Shourie’s words were scathing and his writeups powerful. Indian Express, the Media outlet that published a blank newspaper as a token of defiance against the emergency hired Shourie as an editor. Shourie, in a way pioneered the “Investigative Journalism” Movement in India.
Arun Shourie was pivotal in shredding Indira and Sanjay Gandhi’s propaganda. He exposed the Cement Scam in Maharashtra and forced Abdul Rahman Antulay, the then Maharashtra CM to resign. He was possibly the only journalist (He would be joined by Swapan Dasgupta a decade later) who would openly endorse nationalism and call left’s bluff with a remarkable consistency. He was the only journalist who had the courage to criticize Ambedkar, the holiest among the holy cows. He would talk about Ram Mandir and “eminent Historians”, a term which would go on to define the hollowness of Marxist Historians who didn’t just write agenda-driven account of Indian History but swindled money in the name of research. Shourie was so committed to his cause that he didn’t hesitate in taking on Ram Nath Goenka, when the latter tried to meddle in his editorials. Goenka was the Founder of The Indian Express and is possibly the most revered Journalist ever.
The Shourie that the right-thinking citizens of this country remember with so much respect is long gone now. What started with the rant “BJP is Congress with Cow” has culminated into “It was my biggest mistake to support Modi”. And the biggest problem here is not his criticism of PM Modi but the way he is criticizing. First of all, a man who was all-facts-no-rants has stopped caring for facts. Almost every allegation of his is a random outburst with little or no data to justify his accusations. Secondly, Shourie, the arch-nemesis of the left liberal intelligentsia of this country now speaks in their events. Why would Shourie otherwise go all out in defense of Prannoy Roy whose channel NDTV is embroiled in almost every rip-off that a TV Channel could possibly get involved in. How could a routine probe in Prannoy Roy’s finances be an attack on Press Freedom? And Why would Shourie choose to go their gathering and offer his shoulder to the very people who made a mockery of the noble profession that Journalism once was.