The Commissioner For Lost Causes
Author: Arun Shourie
The work done by Arun Shourie and his colleagues rocked institutions and governments: the freeing of 40,000 undertrials; revealing the Bhagalpur blindings; purchasing Kamla; dislodging a ‘Sultan’; foiling ‘strikes’; controverting Judges; battling privilege motions; courting contempt of court charges; nailing corruption, forgeries, lies, and the opportunism of rulers; uncovering suppressed reports… What lay behind these and the consequences that followed?
A comprehensive account of dramatic incidents like getting governments to swallow legislation against the press, unseating of chief ministers, a prime minister unspooling himself even as manoeuvres to unseat him are scotched, a deputy prime minister trying to dislodge colleagues with fabricated documents, people’s movements ending up as rivulets in the sand, The Commissioner for Lost Causes discusses Shourie’s innings, the calumny hurled at him, his dismissal, and his being recalled and removed again.
Delicious tales of characters from the noble to the colourful to the short-sighted to outright bounders: from JP, to a president, to prime ministers, a deputy prime minister, chief ministers, a conman, indignant editors, and of course a great warrior, the press baron, feature in this honest retelling of the life of Arun Shourie, the writer, former editor and minister who was acclaimed as one of the fifty ‘World Press Freedom Heroes’.