Print Edition - 2016-01-04  |  The Collegian

Rationalising the world

  • Surendra Prasad Chaudhary, a student of English Literature and Political Science from Tribhuvan University, is a former minister and current member of Parliament. A former lecturer at the Department of English, HK Multiple Campus, Chaudhary believes readi

Jan 4, 2016-

How did you first come to love books?

It was my father who inculcated the culture of reading in me and inspired me to collect knowledge by developing a voracious sense of reading. My father, late Ram Dayal Chaudhary, a Sanskirt scholar, did not leave any stone unturned to shape my mind and habit for reading books of my choice. I turned an eager student seeking knowledge by interacting with texts from distinct disciplines especially political science, culture,history, and literature.

What was the last book you read and how did you like it?

The two books I recently read are Whither Socialism? and Globalization and Its Discontentment, by Joseph E Stiglitz. Both of them left such an indelible impression upon me that I could not come out of the labyrinths created by globalisation. The first book focused on the relevance of social democracy required to strengthen the society. The other forecasts that if globalisation is not handled properly, it may breed anarchism in the world. Its dealing with the devastative impact that may be sparkled by globalisation left me impressed.

Which book do you want to read next and why?

I am eager to get my hands on two books by Jurgen Habermas: Between Facts and Norms, and Religion and Rationality: Essays on Reason, God and Modernity.

What is your favourite genre and why?

I love prosaic writing that incorporates themes such as politics, conflicts, resolution, philosophy, social agenda, change, and economic development. I also love to read realist fictional works at times but I prefer non-fiction as it directly communicates with people of all levels and degrees. Without being too conscious I can derive knowledge out of reading non-fiction books.

How do you select books to read?

The principles of The Frankfurt School guide me to choose books to read. The school of social theory and philosophy helps me accumulate knowledge to rationalise with the world around.

Name a book that you would or would not recommend, and why?

I would not read and recommend any book that advocates fundamentalism and fanaticism—the adoption of these conservative school of thoughts may lead humanity to fragmentation and destruction.

What is good writing for you? What would you say makes a good writer?

Writings based on facts and data in the empirical manner is good writing for me. Consistent and passionate reading and shaping ideas that abruptly come to the mind into some type of write-up makes a person good writer.

How have books affected your life?

Books have altered my normative pattern of viewing the world around

me. I have started to perceive the world critically and analytically because of my reading habits.

One book that inspired you a lot and why?

The autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi, The Story of My Experiments with Truths, and Long Walk to Freedom, by Nelson Mandela have inspired me.

Your advice for general readers?

Everyone must develop the habit of reading books. Autobiographies may be a good place to start with because they pass an insight on how to lead a meaningful life in this momentary world.

Are you planning on writing a book yourself?

Yes. I am thinking of writing a book on my life’s journey focusing on my struggles and achievements from the political course of my life.  

Anything else on books and reading that you want to add?

I believe people should be more focused towards developing a reading culture in our country. If that is done, and what is learnt is implemented, our country will grow immensely.

Published: 04-01-2016 09:14

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