Lalu Prasad Yadav | 64 | Bihar
MP and President, Rashtriya Janata Dal
BOOKS HAVE NOT played a particularly big role in shaping my thoughts. I don’t need to read books, people should read me! I was influenced, however, by the dohas of Surdas and Kabir when I read them as part of my Hindi curriculum. I do find autobiographies interesting, though I suspect whether people really write about their own shortcomings. In any case, I doubt most political leaders ever write their autobiographies themselves. I did read a lot while I was in jail. I read the Bhagvad Gita, Mahabharata and Sudhasagar, among others. In jail, there’s a variety of problems. Every inmate is carrying a burden of issues. Only a man who is indifferent to pretty much everything can read. You can fritter away a lifetime just reading. In the outside world, TV serials and cinema consume our time. Politicians should be extremely aware of every field if they are to serve the interests of the people. Take, for instance, the introduction of computers in India. I was critical of them; I asked whether they could draw water from a well. And now, even I understand that they are the need of the hour. You have to be cognisant of new technology, about innovations that could help the people. And reading is the best way to learn.