Shourie goes to the heart of the matter

In A simple but deeply touching ceremony,Arun Shourie’s most personal book yet — about bringing up his son Aditya,who is afflicted with cerebral palsy

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: July 23, 2011 2:20:46 am

In A simple but deeply touching ceremony,Arun Shourie’s most personal book yet — about bringing up his son Aditya,who is afflicted with cerebral palsy,and about his wife Anita,who suffers from Parkinson’s — was launched in the Capital today.

In Does He know a Mother’s Heart?,the scholar,journalist and politician dissects religious scriptures to question the existence of God and gives accounts of extreme suffering and pain that he has seen personally. The first copy of the book was ceremonially handed over by Aditya,35,to his mother in a simple ceremony.

The hall at the India Habitat Centre was overflowing with academics,journalists,politicians,well wishers and family members.

In the book,Shourie asks how there could be extreme suffering if God existed and writes about his gravitation towards teachings of the Buddha.

He said the reason for the simple launch was the presence of his wife and son. “It is seldom that the hero of the book and the heroine of the book are both present,” an emotional Shourie,a former Editor in Chief of The Indian Express,said.

The launch ceremony was followed by a panel discussion,including Prasar Bharati Chairperson Mrinal Pande,academic Pratap Bhanu Mehta and political analyst Ashis Nandy.

Pande described her old association with the Shourie family and said his personal account in the book was the most moving; “he laid bare his heart in a way that is extremely rare”. “The book has so many facets and I am sure all of us will go back to it again and again. From what I can see,it is a deeply religious book.”

Nandy congratulated Shourie for his “marvellous attempt”. “It is not only the hero and heroine but you have to admire the courage of the author himself,” he said.

Mehta said it would be impossible for anyone to imagine what is would take to be part of Shourie’s family and what it has accomplished,but said that the different meanings of love drive the theological discussion in the book. “The theme of love is very central to the book,” he said.

The Express columnist said the underlining message of the book was an “extraordinary act of affirmation” by the author. “There is a complex argument but I think you can boil it down to two basic points. The first is to have the courage to live a life without illusion. The second is that if you actually live a life without illusion,you can truly come to love the world as it is,” Mehta said.

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