Can You Take It Arun Shourie?

Arun Shourie speaks to Madhu Trehan on “being sacrificed” by Ramnath Goenka, fatwas and kaafirs, the Manu Smriti and the need for a Hindu soul with an Islamic body, the culture of appeasement, Modi and the “coup against Vajpayee”, BJP not being a particularly religious party and more.

Arun Shourie speaks to Madhu Trehan on “being sacrificed” by Ramnath Goenka, fatwas and kaafirs, the Manu Smriti and the need for a Hindu soul with an Islamic body, the culture of appeasement, Modi and the “coup against Vajpayee”, BJP not being a particularly religious party and more

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  • Raghav

    Arun has had a profound influence on a generation of journalists and readers, in addition to the body politic. He made VP Singh and destroyed him evenhandedly. Despite being a World Bank economist, he never spoke on economic issues and financial policy. He pursued and persecuted Ambanis while at IE,but became their votary when made a Minister,this remains a mystery.His books are scholarly and well researched, his columns are very widely read, of late, he is low key. He has been courageous enough to expose Islamic fundamentalism, and a Hindutva promoter. I have greatest admiration for this man.Such a good man of highest integrity who has lead such an eventful life,his personal life has been a tragedy,full of misfortune and suffering of his son and wife.A soft spoken man with “clean Brahminical looks” has hard and aggressive outlook when it comes to fighting injustice.Internet Hindu is an avatar of Arun Shourie!His advce to internet Hindus and youngsters is very valuable.

    Syed Shahabuddin was a big hero of Muslims, where is he today?

    Arun is a great thinker. This is one of the best discussions, I am sure Madhu must have found it so satisfying and stimulating.

  • Smita

    paay lagoon, Shourieji.

    There are few icons left to look up to today. You are one of them.

    Thanks for the interview, Ms Trehan.

  • Real good interview, almost beautiful. However, it seems, Arun does not know HIndu greats and traditions beyond Gandhi,Arvind,Vivekanand, Raman maharshi and Dayanand Sarasvati. Scratch little more, it must be done, you find Surdas, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Shankarcharya, Meera, Goswami’s of Vrindavan and Jagadguru’s. Go further deeper, Ram,Krishna. You can keep diving deep and keep finding gems only in Hindu traditions.

    • Aware Indian

      1. The discussions were regarding recent Hindu reformers in the modern era.
      2. In any case, this was not a contest where one has to recount as many Hindu philosophical leaders as possible. Don’t worry, if it was, he would have still beaten you easily.

  • please provide the transcript of this interview

  • Dhruv

    I am sorry but it’s disheartening to see all the comments below laced with religious fundamentalism subtly or outright or both. As much as Arun Shourie talks about religion and faith he is looking at the larger picture of Secularism. Focus on the larger picture and the ratio of his argument as a whole than simply picking up random facts separately.

    On the other hand, it’s a great interview. I came across ‘newslaundry’ only today and Madhu ma’am RESPECT. I hope you visit faculties of Journalism and inspire students like me because the young breed of journalists of our generation needs someone like you to inspire.

    • Smita

      Mr Dhruv,
      Sorry for intruding. I am taking the liberty of addressing you because you say you are a student of journalism, and journalists must not look at all things religious as being fundamentalist in nature.

      The clash of ideologies is very real in the world we live in today. To seek the root cause of discord, one goes back to the ideologies that drive different communities to be what they are. It is necessary to discuss these, instead of pushing them under the carpet.

      It is a tragedy in India that we shy away from plainspeak.

      • Dhruv

        Dear Smita,

        I guess I agree with you. My generation (at least my peer group) hates talking about politics, or religious ideologies or terrorism for the sheer cynicism coupled with disgust towards these subjects for the reasons well known to all of us. But yes, we need to speak and probe all of this and understand their ideologies and at the same time not affiliate or confine our views to any particular ideology.

        As far as the comments being fundamentalist or extremist subtly or outright ad I put it earlier, one instance is Raghav’s comment ‘A soft spoken man with “clean Brahminical looks” has hard and aggressive outlook when it comes to fighting injustice.’ – What does this mean? Are we still affiliating Brahmins as elite and somebody to be sucked upon? It has an undertone of castiesm and this is just one example. So hard aggressive outlook is not a trait of Hindu otherwise but to be learnt to combat a Muslim? Where are we really heading?

        • At the risk of sounding patriarchal, Druv, if you believe in glamour as part of Journalistic world and that attracted you ……than it would wear away soon, but in case as you say my generation “ hates talking about politics, or religious ideologies or terrorism for the sheer cynicism coupled with disgust towards these subjects for the reasons well known to all of us” perhaps you are doing harm to the profession.
          Unless someone knows all points of view on the subject, his or her writing would be subjected to the stressful scrutiny , either one defends logically with supporting data or goes emotionally tangent and would look like a fool ! The Metaphor used by Raghav has to be understood in the right context. Your last line is Greek & Latin to me and is out of context . Bye the way the person whom you addressed
          your reply is a journalist with a national daily

          • Smita

            Mr Nikam, good to see you here. I enjoy reading your comments and observations.

            Small clarification is in order: I am not a full time journo, though I have been published in a few national dailies. I don’t write much these days. I have lost the zest. Also, there is very little space for freelancers. Regular staff and columnists-with-recognisable-names take up what is left over from the sold space 🙂

        • Smita


          I have been a lecturer in a journalism school, and much to my dismay, I did observe this disconnect of the aspiring young journalists with the country’s politics, religion, terrorism, quest for truth. Every child in class seems to be brainwashed by Times of India – especially Bombay Times :). They have very pat opinions on everything, and the indoctrination-by-‘liberal’ English media is their most distinguishing feature!Their understanding of the country, its ethos, its clashes, its festering sores, its paradoxes, its culture and its tradition, its religious underpinnings — it is just not there, nor is there any desire among the young ones to fill their knowledge gaps.

          Is it possible to be a good journalist without this context? Don’t you think it is politics, ideology and terrorism that future journalists should be discussing animatedly in canteen over endless cups of chai, instead of the next inter-college festival, pop stars, and English movies? Colleges unleash these BMM students upon the country who then come up with half-baked articles like… um, well, let it be. There is one on NL itself 🙂

          Of course, you are young. I would observe Mr Raghav’s comment in a different, less judgmental way. Hard aggressive outlook has traditionally not been the way of a Hindu, at least, not a Hindu who is highly educated, erudite, secular, always in the public eye, is in journalism, and is much respected. So it is a break from stereotype, and a refreshing one. That’s how Mr Raghav’s comment is to be decoded. The caste bit is extraneous. Of course, Mr Raghav may be right or wrong in his assessment of Mr Shourie.

          Anyway – I have stopped teaching now, but I could not resist the urge to lecture to a student. All the best, Dhruv, for your journalistic career. :)))

        • Smita is right about Raghav. “Clean Brahminical looks” was the term used by Khushwant Singh to describe Shourie which made him famous. You are too young to know about it.Shourie of course is not a Brahmin and it’s irrelevant anyway.

          Arun is such a soft spoken, polite and modest person, yet when it comes to some topics like Pakistan’s belligerence etc. his views are so violent and aggressive,it’s quite contrast!

        • GuruM

          In journalism esp. influenced by the left-ist ideology there is a lot of terminology/buzz-words that are bandied in an almost programmed way. Typically this is done like this…

          1) Listen to the words of the other person’s sentences
          2) Do they fit into my ideology

          a) They don’t – find an appropriate label to dismiss the person

          b) They do – label him as an enlightened person who understands the world (your world).
          In either case start gushing even more terminology to show how much you disagree(agree) with him/her.

          Please learn to look past the labels at the root of the ideas and events instead. Labelling someone as ‘X’ or ‘Y’ is an easy way to dismiss them. It also means you lose out on a valuable chance to actually learn something valuable using dialogue (rather than 2 people engaging in serial monologue).

          Rajiv Malhotra talks about a different way to debate by learning about the other person’s viewpoint traditionally known in India as ‘Purva Paksha’ :

    • My Dear Dhruv…..As a budding journalist your focus needs to be truth & whole truth, even if its fundamentalist view or not, to understand random facts one needs to be learned enough, if you are keen on learning you will find the random facts as facts with clear linkages ……..Good luck!

    • ram yadav

      Is it inherent or something different that people learn in journalism that makes them inherently Marxist?

  • A must watch for the secular India. Loved it.

  • Anant

    At the end of the interview, when asked to give a suggestion to the so-called ‘internet hindus’ (an abusive term by itself in my opinion) , Arun Shourie says one has to carefully learn about the others’ tradition as well as urs.

    I would like to recommend this book to the viewers as part of that study : Being Different by Rajiv Malhotra

    This interview at the Univ of Massachusetts gives u a fair idea –

    • Anant

      I’d really like to thank the interviewer for introducing Arun Shourie to me. Ive been hearing his name forever but had no idea who he is, what he did. Thanks again

    • Smita

      watched the interview, anant. Thanks for the intro, looks like an interesting book. Will place an order on Flipkart right away, if it is available.

    • I watched many videos of Rajiv Malhotra and read about his book Being Different. Rajiv’s hypothesis is brilliant, he has done great job. I have ordered the book, am waiting to read it.

    • HM

      Anant – Thanks for posting this link – I must say I have not yet come across something so interesting and eye-opening on the net.

    • GuruM

      Note: You can skip past the sleepy introductions to the point (1:30) where Rajiv Malhotra talks about very interesting ideas and issues.

  • Bhaskar

    Madhu on a completly different line. what is your problem with Baba Ramdev why are you so cynical about him. (Just saw you on times)

  • Satyam Sharma

    Excellent interview, there was *not one* thing that Arun Shourie said, that I could even remotely disagree with. Regarding Madhu’s questions and responses (though I know she could sometimes purposefully ask questions that are “factually incorrect” or “provocative” for the sake of a deeper and better interview):

    1. The bit about Narendra Modi possibly having dealt with the Godhra train-burning incident differently is profoundly naive. The suggestion of “instant justice” is in itself immature (as also unrealistic). We have, thankfully, a good justice system in this country where “summary trials” and “next-day executions” do not (and cannot) occur. In any case, is Madhu seriously suggesting that the conspirators of the mob that burnt down the Sabarmati express would not have denied their role (or alleged an “accident” inside the carriage, as the Congress and UPA allies like Laloo later did propagandize) and avoided the law by hook or by crook? Look no further than Ajmal Kasab — the 26/11 attacks with 300 fatalities could be called more dastardly and devastating than the burning alive of 60 pilgrims returning from Ayodhya, and we also have CCTV evidence, 100s of irrefutable proofs and a solid case against him, and yet the justice system of this country has not been able to hang him for 4 years! Then what is she talking about Modi being able to hang the Godhra conspirators “publicly” (which would have been illegal, by the way) in a matter of days?!

    2. Regarding the post-Godhra riots and (two-sided) mob violence, Shourie’s answers were perfect. Don’t forget, that region has had a long history of communal tensions and riots. But even if that was any other part of India, it is highly unlikely that a provocation as blatant and flagrant as the Sabarmati burning would have gone unnoticed or without retaliation. Riots are tragedies and societal screw-ups, yes, but one cannot just close one’s eyes and assume they do not exist. Liberal and peaceful (“general” traits attributed to Indians) persons like you and me are not the only ones that inhabit this planet.

    3. Madhu, *please* stop giving credence/popularity to Sagarika Ghose’s shallow, nonsensical and offensive term “Internet Hindu”. If Sagarika Ghose were ever to meet me and discuss a few of her pet subjects (she doesn’t have many things she can talk about anyway) I am quite certain she would categorize me as one “IH” as well. But I am not even what she would normally call a “Hindu” (well, at least not in the religious or narrow sense) in the first place! Also, stop overplaying caustic behaviour on Twitter by acting the victim. “IHs” (who, as I said, probably ain’t even all “Hindu”) are just the confident and aggressive young Indians who are no longer cowed down by pseudo-secularists who have controlled India’s politics in a tight irongrip for 50 years since independence.

    4. Also, what does the above “aggressive Indian” (or “Internet Hindu”) have to do with crimes against women, molestations, Khaps or honour killings? The media has been mischieviously hiding and mischaracterizing several details recently. Take that recent case of the Baghpat village that banned women from using mobile phones or going out alone with male relative escorts, that the media mischaracterized as a “Khap decree” — but Asaara is neither a Jat village nor does it have any Khap in the first place! It was just a clear-cut case of the village men trying to impose Shariah on their womenfolk. In any case, as Shourie replied, it is obviously necessary to delink the crime from the criminal’s religion, unless there is an above-normal correlation between that crime and that religion.

    5. Kuldip Nayar? Seriously? Oh please, come on! But I would give the benefit of the doubt to Madhu here that she took that old fool’s name just because she was trying to extract some kind of response from Shourie that he ultimately gave 🙂

    6. Did Madhu really allege that the *BJP* “uses” religion and brought it into India’s politics?! This has to be the joke of the century! And again, I am sure Madhu herself knows that the *Congress* has been blatantly communal (and a cynical “user” of religious identity) since even before independence! Anyway, yet again, Shourie’s response was brilliant. The BJP is *not* a communal party, but one that has had enough of the *other* parties’ communalism and minority-appeasement (that is nowadays dressed up and passed around as “secularism” in India).

    • Satyam Sharma

      BTW, I have only mentioned the questions I found *disagreeable*. I found almost everything said by Shourie in this interview perfectly agreeable … except perhaps for his shying away from defining “Hindutva”. My understanding and definition of that word would be how the Supreme Court of India defined “Hindutva” in its 1995 judgement, and what it had to say about it.

      The first half of the interview about Shourie’s experiences at IE (a newspaper that has now come to a sorry state under Shekhar Gupta), and the discussions and his views about Islam and Manu Smriti were really good. The last few minutes were also definitely insightful and enriching. Overall, great interview 🙂

    • I am no admirer of Sagarika, but for once, she is right; indeed there is a specie as “Internet Hindu- IH”. I have been a websurfer right from early 90’s when Indians weren’t so active on internet as overseas Pakistanis were.On most of websites, and videos,( many of them about India & Indians/Hindus etc). Muslims ( Most of them Pakistanis) started posting very offensive comments about Hindus,Hinduism and India. This made many Indian surfers indignant and they started retorting and giving it back in equally aggressive manner. This gave birth to the phenomenon of Internet Hindu, proud Indians who would not let any offensive comment posted by any Non-Indian/Pakistani/Anti-Hindu web surfer go unreplied/uncontested.

      Now you can see the trend on the entire gamut of Internet and Social media, an awakened Indian/Hindu who doesn’t tolerate anyone posting offensive comments about India or Hindus without retorting/rebutting in strongest possible language, sometimes downright tasteless, offensive manner.

    • Indian

      Very well said

  • Karan Mohanty

    A few thoughts

    I think the interview reinforces
    Arun Shourie’s standing as a man of reason.

    However, there are a few
    questions which I thought the interviewer, Madhu Trehan could perhaps answer.

    i. An
    inordinate amount of time, close to 25 minutes, was spent on discussing the
    fatwas. Don’t you think a little niggardliness would have been useful when it
    was quite evident, in the first few minutes itself, that these fatwas were ridiculous
    and at most times humanly impossible?

    ii. In
    the course of your interview you used the words Hindu and Indian
    interchangeably on around four occasions. Do you think the ideal Indian has to
    be necessarily Hindu (preferably high caste)?

    asked Arun Shourie, “How can we bring about deeper loyalty in Muslims where
    country comes before religion?” Assuming this was true; would you consider elucidating
    as to how you came up with such a conclusion or inference?



    Simply Brilliant!

  • TheAtheist

    Not very surprising that this is one of the few videos that does not have a cheeky, derisive caption. Newslaundry folks seem to be on payroll of BJP.



  • mirza baig

    Islam is not a blind faith @madhu please buy a copy of quran and read. and its also not religion its a way of life

    • ram yadav

      ohh way of life? Well that too those maulvis of India, pakistan, kashmir and Saudi arabia. Also tell them to allow other religious things in country except islam. And do come back but only when there is a temple in saudi arabia.

  • This is the best ever interview on this website. In future, a better interview can happen only if Mr. Arun Shourie is interviewed again. 🙂

  • : My blog post; Book review, Matters of Discretion by I K Gujral

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  • Abhishek D

    Clearly you do not understand Hindutva, I’d recommend reading more on it before feeling ‘excluded’. The idea essentially is entire India(Hindu or non-Hindu) share a cultural ethos beyond religious lines. Do you claim Christianity followed in India is exactly the same that is being followed in Europe? Its not, it has been adapted according to “Hindu” sentiments. That is exactly the point Arun makes, most Indian Christians and Muslims are automatically “Hindu” while exclusive religion cannot allow such pluralism. Hinduism is not dogma, its like a palette of hues, even contradictory where in one choosing what one likes(Ergo the tour guide analogy). By that definition you should question yourself whether you feel like Hindu or not. Once again, there is no proselytizing/baptism ceremony, you just feel a Hindu and you are one. Its really that simple.

  • Arjun Narayanan

    Please provide the transcript as well. it is a wonderful interview and really helps those who might not have read some of Arun’s books. At least in my case, I must say this interview has motivated me to buy his book. What Madhu has done here is engaging in a dialogue (samvaad) as opposed to mindless grilling. Something constructive has come out of it., Regardless of the personal opinion of Madhu and Arun, it gives some food for thought to everyone, of every faith.

  • Arjun Narayanan

    Dear Noella, I understand the concerns you are referring to. But even s judgement of the Supreme Court refers to Hinduism, not as a religion, but as a civilization. Hindu is the term used to anyone who lives and is a part of the civilization that has flourished for many millenia around the Sindhu river, which includes people of many faiths. When such is the case, what they mean by hindutva is inclusive of all who live here and Hinduism is not a uniform religion; there are multiple faiths within it and they are not eligible to be called a uniform religion. The internet Hindus should definitely be not taken seriously. I think they forget that Hindutva does not mean India for Hindus of a particular faith, it is just another way of defining secularism.

  • Arjun Narayanan

    I’m not sure if the BJP members themselves remember it. But their ideology is based on what has been described by Deen Dayal Upadhyay (the fountainhead of BJP’s philosophy) as Integral Humanism. I suggest you have a look when time permits. it will give you a fairer idea of what Hindutva is about. It is less about religion and more about Humanism

  • completly changed my View about MRS Tirhan , Half of the interview was dedicated to Fatwa , As if the purpose of interview was to Reform Indian Muslims, Than comments like how to get loyalty from Muslims ( How you reached there , Is it not the country of Muslims also) and this so called Journalist Madu Tirhan didnot ask Arun’s malesious compaing against Mr Antule , who lost his CM post because of Aruns false propaganda and got his name cleared from Supreme Court . this so called journalist didnot ask the etical position of Arun as Minister , did not ask his relationship with leading corporate houses , All in all Compare to madhu Tirhan ,Arnab Goswami looks like a hero now

    • ram yadav

      This is the main problem with muslims. They don’t want to reform. Madhu talked about fatwas because Shorie used to write about these things religious fundamentalism and similar things. And the loyalty bit. Surely you have your views about loyalty but ask any other religion other than muslims and ask them the same question of loyalty you will surely get different answer. Loyalty to nation must be supreme and muslims certainly by intitutionalized brainwashing of Islam does not permit that. Ullema rules the brainwashed brain of 95 percent muslims except some like salman rushdie. When muslims feel cringe to sing vande matram, what else people have to suppose? If it was Advani’s rath yatra time and any muslim who would have said it then you don’t know what could have happened.

  • Amazing stuff! one of the best things I have gone through on internet.

  • Hershal

    Around 25 mins into the interview, Madhu “we the hindus” were passive. And then immediately says Indians became aggressive. Both the statements were political mistakes.

  • GP

    What an amazing interview…by far the best in this series…..I wish Arun Shourie becomes the culture and tourism minister and really helps in spreading the true spirit of this great religion called hinduism….such amazing insight…..and glad he took the names of great souls such as Vivekananda, Paramhansa, Ramana etc…..and great questions by Madhu….especially the last one about Arun Shourie’s advice to the so called Internet Hindu’s…I think news laundry should repost some these gems from its archives…specially on FB

  • Porus

    The point where Madhu mentions Internet Hindus and then goes on to relate it with rapes and violence in India was utter nonsense. The lady’s observation is erroneous because twitter as an internet social platform is angry place in general. Its not just Hindus and its not just India. You’ll get aggressive and abusive Internet users across all segments of society in all countries. To relate IH to violence against women is preposterous and can be implied only by journalists with a non thinking brain, of which there is no dearth in today’s India. Has any one done any research on rapes in India? How many convicted rapists are internet users and how many express their views on Hinduism on social media? In fact most of them are from lower strata of society with little to no access to internet and their exposure to net is mostly limited to porn.

    I respect liberal views that are contrary to mine but facts are sacrosanct in any discussion and without them the opinions won’t stand any scrutiny. It is because of instances like this that Hindus are maligned for no fault of theirs, which only adds to their anger and swells ranks of Internet Hindus.

    I am a proud Internet Hindu.

    • Ramanna

      One of the biggest faults of “internet hindus” is to not live the tradition. Loved the entire interview, but especially the last bit.

      I really wish people who abuse would pick up Ramana’s book which are available for free on the net, or for that matter listen to Chinmayananji’s lectures on youtube.
      If Ramana would be alive today, the conversation would perhaps be –

      IH : “I am a proud Internet Hindu.”
      Ramana : “who” is proud ?
      IH : “I am”.

      Ramana : Who is that “I” ?

      And then the courageous ones would go into contemplation. The cowards would come out and abuse others around them..

  • Vaibhav Gupta

    Although i have watched half of the interview it looked to me as if the small kid alias Madhu Tehran is seeking answers to the various questions, doubts which arouse from the various material she read of Arun Shourie and indeed she behaves like an anxious kid seeking out for answers and patiently listening to what his teacher has to speak to her. Nice interview indeed. Thanks Madhu.

    • GuruM

      Reading Mr. Shourie’s books has that kind of impact.
      I wouldn’t fault Madhu Trehan for coming across like that esp. since she’d be knowing him and his track record personally And professionally. When you realise the depth of the person one can’t help but become like a student sitting at the feet of a master journalist. We need more people like Mr. Shourie to give us a breadth and depth-wise look at our own country. Time well spent instead of watching TV debates that are low on quality and high on volume (decibel-wise as well as quantity-wise).

      • Vaibhav Gupta

        Well Said Guru and that’s the reason we all like Madhu. She is profoundly bringing out the sensible talks which can help us enrich our knowledge.

        • GuruM

          I also found “Aap Ki Adaalat” videos to be quite good as the invitee is given a free hand to answer their critics. The focus is more on what the guest has to say rather than the views of the host. Also each video is nearly an hour long.

  • NaMo Vision

    At min 35, Madhu suggests that its Internet Hindus that go around molesting women and indulging in petty crimes. i guess after Tejpal’s sexual asaault of a colleague, she will say all journalists are rapists. Her biases are so obvious in this…

  • Sachin S

    Congratulations @madhutrehan, a feather in your cap, great interview – Kudos!

  • Sahana

    I think this qualifies for one of the best interviews I have ever watched on net. I love the way you conduct your interviews Madhu. May be along with Newslaundry you should also start a teaching centre for journalists to train them( including senior journalists & editors) in the art of interviewing. Many of them don’t even mouth the questions properly and are cringe worthy.
    I have subscribed for newslaundry. I still don’t like the quality of your written articles but your videos are excellent.
    Interview with Kanchan Gupta was a little unsatisfying. It had so much flow and was very engaging. I understand the limitations though. All in all, great work Newslaundry!!