Arun Shourie (born 1941) is among India's best known and controversial commentators on current and political affairs. He backs his distinctive writing and his conscientiously independent perspective with rigorous analysis and meticulous research.
Born in Jalandhar, Punjab, India, he studied at Modern School and St. Stephen's College in Delhi. He obtained his doctorate in Economics from Syracuse University in the United States. He has been an economist with the World Bank, a consultant to the Planning Commission, India and editor of the Indian Express (a leading Indian newspaper).
In a series of remarkable exposés, many of which he wrote himself, Shourie and the Indian Express uncovered corruption in the highest echelons of the government and exposed several major scandals of the era, including what has been dubbed “India’s Watergate.”Shourie started a one-man crusade in 1981 against Abdul Rahman Antulay, the chief minister of Maharashtra State, who 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 state governor, the highest-ranking official in India ever forced from office by newspaper reporting, and great embarrassment to Gandhi and her ruling Congress Party.Shourie’s exposés resulted in a prolonged labor dispute at the Bombay offices of the Indian Express, where a labor organizer with ties to Antulay encouraged workers to strike for a minimum wage double than what was paid at any other newspaper in India. It also resulted in a government crackdown that included a host of legal cases launched against the Indian Express by various agencies. In 1982, Goenka fired Shourie as a result of continued government pressure.Between 1982 and 1986, Shourie wrote for various newspapers and magazines. 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 lauched a staunch attack on then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi over the Bofors howitzer gun purcahse scandal. This in someways led to Mr. Gandhi's defeat in the next 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 Parliament in an attempt to muzzle the Indian Express, and the entire media community joined Shourie and the Indian Express in condemning the move.At one stage, there were 300 cases filed by the government against the Indian Express, and credit supply from banks was cut off. Shourie, however, continued his battle against government corruption until 1990, when differences on editorial policy forced him to resign from the Indian Express. The differences involved Shourie's opposition to the implementation of Mandal Commission Report, which gave reservations for Other Backward Castes (OBCs) and were intiated by then Prime Minister V.P. Singh's government. After that, he devoted his energy to writing books and regular columns, which appeared in different languages in 30 newspapers across India.
Shourie has definite rightist leaning and is considered close to the Rashtriya Swamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) ideology.
His writings have gained him a vast following around the country, as well as several national and international honours. Among these are the Padma Bhushan, the Magasaysay Award, the Dadabhai Naoroji Award, the Astor Award, the K.S. Hegde Award and the International Editor of the Year Award. The Federation of Indian Publishers recently conferred The Freedom to Publish Award on him.
Arun Shourie has been a member of the Rajya Sabha and also held the office of the Minister of Dis-investment, Communication and Information Technology in the Government of India under Atal Bihari Vajpayee's prime ministership.
He has written 15 books which include "Worshiping False Gods", "Eminent Historians - Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud", "Missionaries in India" and "The World of Fatwas" among others.
His book The World of Fatwas deals with Islam and Worshipping False God on modern day Dalit icon Dr. Ambedkar.
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