|Politicians & Literature|
Ambika Chaudhary | 56 | Uttar Pradesh
MLA, Samajwadi Party
ONE OF THE most popular epic poems by Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, Rashmirathi (Charioteer of the Sun), tells the tragic story of Karna from the Mahabharata. The work has a timeless relevance and is a must-read. The way Dinkar portrayed him changed my way of looking at things in society and public affairs forever.
Karna, a person of impeccable integrity and a great warrior was subject to ridicule and hate, even by the Pandava clan, only because he was brought up in a low-caste Shudra family. This book helped me identify the issues in present-day politics and affirmed my faith in my political ideology, as well as strengthening my resolve to fight injustice.
I have read almost all the books of Munshi Premchand. I recently finished reading Swami Adgadanand’s Yatarth Gita, which changed my understanding of the book’s philosophy, as well as Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. I also read Sarita Sharma, a renowned Hindi poet.
I have never been much interested in political biographies, but I found a collection of the letters of former MP Shankar Dayal Singh a very compelling read.
Rajniti Meri Preyasi (Politics My Fiancée), is another interesting book I read a few years ago.
I never read Karl Marx, but I read Lohia, Gandhi and Bill Clinton. I read The Pilgrim’s Progress and the scriptures of all religions. Prem rasa, or the ‘essence of love’ has always fascinated me most. I have the firm belief that it is love that is universal, not war. I have read Shakespeare, Keats and Shelley, though I have never been a regular student of English literature.
I also have a keen interest in folk songs. Sadly, these songs are seldom sung nowadays. Even the womenfolk in villages do not sing those songs — meant for auspicious occasions like childbirth and weddings — any longer. I remember them clearly and am trying to conserve them. One of my close friends is helping me in recording all those songs.
It is a must for politicians to read. If you want to excel in political life by the grace of god or some political mentor, then you need not read anything at all, but if you want to move ahead through entrepreneurship and skill, there is no alternative to reading and keeping yourself informed. You can achieve this only if you have the habit of reading.
Whatever you read, whether it’s prose or poetry, fiction or non-fiction, it’s one investment that never goes waste. It’s like the law of conservation of energy. The energy is never wasted or destroyed, only changes its form. What you read helps you in one field or the other at some point of time.
Whatever little knowledge and understanding I derived from reading helps me in daily life, particularly in disposing the problems of the common people in my constituency. It helps me draw inferences and conclusions when I relate the problem at hand with the profile of some character from literature or mythology, their inner contradictions and their conduct.