A weekend with a mood to read led me to the Reliance Time out and as I sifted through the tempting tomes placed neatly, many a treasured gem tempted me with their competition for my attention. Guha's Makers of modern India was the first one which my hands picked up to find different viewpoints of esteemed personae. Amongst them were some of the irresistible pieces of vision of the veteran Rajaji. His simple prose of Bharatiya vidya Bhavan in the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata were quite a contrast to his eloquence in these pieces which convincingly refuted many of the illustrious persons such as Gandhi, Nehry among others.
Even as I was planning to pick this one, my eyes wandered to the shelf of Indian writers wherein was perched a enticingly titled paper book. As I see it proclaimed L K Advani. The need to see something from his viewpoint for a mercurial leader was one while the fact that it was a collection of his blogs was as much revealing. Touching moments with rarely cliched language revealed an unknown facet of this towering personality who is raring to go on another yatra. The material in the book made one aware of the "Never say Die" approach of this man. As I was making my mind not to conclude any matter dismissively, a book by Malvankar on the Assassins of Gandhi caught my attention.
This book sent the one by Advani to the shelf while it perched itself in my hands. The first chapter of partition was gripping and took me to the days when I had reeled under the pains of Train to Pakistan or the sorrows brought out on the small screen in Buniyaad. The conflict of opinions of Gandhi , Madanlal, Apte, Nehru, Patel, Jinnah and Godse were all there. Strong willed men pushing the destiny of not only their persons or followers but of peoples who were unknown. Each of them had a viewpoint. Each was right to himself but pray did anyone display the empathy required?
Three books with viewpoints of persons who shook the world by their actions. They were strong willed and went by their viewpoints. I understood their viewpoints but differed on them at varying points to varying degrees. Empanthise I did but disagreed. Strolling out, I asked to myself, is empathy a virtue, a vice or a sign of weakness?