|Politicians & Literature|
Ajit Jogi | 66 | Chhattisgarh
Former Chief Minister, Congress
A BOOK I FIND fascinating is the Baburnama, penned by Babur, the founder of the Mughal empire. Having lost his father at the age of 12, his grandmother dressed him up in the king’s robes and thrust a sword into his hands. From then till the day he died, Babur was constantly engaged in wars. Baburnama is replete with fascinating incidents. Babur invaded India in 1526, but he died soon after, in 1530. But in that brief period, he came to be a keen observer of Indian society and its customs.
Few know that Babur had a male lover called Baburi. In his memoir, Babur admits that he wandered among the jungles in his quest to win Baburi. For a king to admit such a thing is remarkably honest. The other thing that I admire about Babur is that although he was a scholar in Persian, he was equally well versed in his local language, Chughtai.
Another writer I have long admired is Kabir. He was equally critical of the shortcomings of Hinduism and Islam. He resented the stale and communal traditions of his time. That’s the kind of passion that is missing among writers today.
Even though I have been an admirer of My Experiments with Truth, I don’t consider the Gandhian way of life to be an ideal. Reading him, one gets the impression that Gandhi was anti-modernist.
We may be living in the age of Twitter, but I don’t think it can be a substitute for the written word. Books help us become better human beings; they shape and expand our vision for humanity. I’m glad there’s a healthy competition between my son and me when it comes to finishing books.