A fine balance

A quick internet check on National General Secretary of the Janata Dal (United) Pavan K Varma shows he has almost always held important government portfolios. And yet, he has had the time to write around a dozen books, apart from translations of Hindi and Urdu poems.

At 66, Pavan is as busy as ever. He was in the city for the launch of his latest book, Chanakya’s View: Understanding India in Transition. A work of non-fiction, the book looks at the challenges confronting India today.

A fine balance

“I write during the crevices of the day,” says Pavan, who either writes into the night or gets up at the crack of dawn to give form to his thoughts.

“I don’t find it difficult or unusual because I love what I do. Anyone who says they don’t have time to do what they love is lying,” he says, adding he is able to achieve this fine balance due to a certain compartmentalization of time and the discipline of time management.

An avid golfer and yoga practitioner who loves poetry and listening to Indian classical music, the author believes a day has 28 hours and that everyone should cultivate a hobby and a sport, “Otherwise you become somewhat monotonous and predictable.”

How would Chanakya perceive this day and age? “He would welcome the democratization of the debate. The conventional view of him being either ruthless or authoritarian, is not borne out by historical fact. If you read the Arthashastra, Chanakya comes to a point of view after admitting to other points of view and follows a course of action based on the light of other views.”

“However, while he would welcome the democratization of dialogue, he would not lose his fixity of focus or clarity of vision. That was his chief marker, that’s what set him apart,” believes Pavan.

“He achieved so much in one life — unseated an unpopular king, groomed another, threw out the Greeks, built an empire that was one of the largest India has seen — all because he had a clarity of vision.

“In today’s world, he would welcome the diversity of opinion, be contemptuous of illiterate ones and critical of illiterate bigotry that is often in evidence. Above the cacophony, he would try to seek a clarity of vision to take him towards the goal which in our context, certainly is democracy, secularism, economic progress with equity and growth with justice.”

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 10:35:08 AM |

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