|Politicians & Literature|
Prithviraj Chavan | 66 | Maharashtra
Chief Minister, Congress
GROWING UP IN a small village in Maharashtra, television and radio were a big deal for us, so most of us had to contend with the books available in the libraries. Today’s children don’t read, they would rather watch the film version of the book. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I think our generation truly enjoyed the pleasures of reading. As a child, I was fascinated by Sherlock Holmes and other thrillers. Getting the latest edition of Tarzan used to be a joyous occasion for us.
As an engineering student, I found myself fascinated with books related to science, technology and health. I would read a great deal of Marathi novels too, though the ideological ones never really found their way to my bookshelf. I was always the sci-fi addict. Later, I found myself reading a great deal of books on economics, travel and innovation. I was particularly fond of books that dealt with the histories of civilisations, not just India, but across the world. It was also around this time that I read Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, one of the best works of literature about World War II, in my opinion.
Another writer who has always been a favourite is Charles Dickens, and The Tale of Two Cities still finds a place in my reading list for its beautifully nuanced characters. Dickens and Shakespeare always provided a refuge for me whenever I needed solace from the rigours of my engineering curriculum.
I will be honest and won’t spout ideological and spiritual books as having been an influence in my formative years, because they were not. However memoirs like Gandhiji’s My Experiments with Truth did help me get an understanding of politics and the life of the great man.