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Who Wrote My Destiny? Book Release Function

Synopsis of Who Wrote My Destiny? An authorised biography of Mr. Sushilkumar Shinde

Henry Ford, one of the leading Industrialists from United States of America said:
"If you think 'you can', if you think 'you can't' both are equally right because 'can' and 'can't' are your faith that guides you till your last breath. Rabindranath Tagore, Nobel Prize winner added a new dimension to the science of faith, said: "Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark." The book 'Who Wrote My Destiny' encompasses the faith of 'I CAN' and 'Self Belief'.

During an informal chat with Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission who read this biography asked me why I had chosen Mr. Sushilkumar Shinde as the subject and not anyone else. Having answered such similar queries to many, I coolly responded to him that I would love to write a biography of a person who is from the untouchable, the poor, a man who was literally in the street for everything, a school dropout, a pilferer, a boy groomed under single parenting, a person who joined night school while working as home servant, an individual who continued to work and study till graduation and above all travelled a path of 'I CAN' faith and achieved what most of us could not. I also said that I haven't come across such personality so far and if he could suggest I don't mind writing one more biography. Mr. Ahluwalia affirmatively smiled and said: "you are right" and further he handed over me the letter which reads: "Who Wrote My Destiny, an authorised biography of Shri Sushilkumar Shinde.... is a fascinating story of how a young boy of humble origins took the destiny into his own hands and became Chief Minister of Maharashtra and Union Cabinet Minister. I hope Shinde's rise to political prominence documented in this book will inspire many others from non-privileged backgrounds to attempt what looks impossible."

"Who Wrote My Destiny", is a semi-biographical account of the life and times of Mr. Sushilkumar Shinde. Beginning with his birth in a poverty-ridden Dalit family in Solapur, the narrative portrays how a destitute Dalit rose to dizzy heights of power and fame, spanning more than six decades. The journey of this boy from Dhor Galli to New Delhi forms the substance of this book.
It is the story, told in a realistic mode, of a man who has waged a relentless struggle against adverse circumstances, who slipped into a life of abject poverty, from a state of relative affluence and faced untold suffering, countenancing life with courage, determination and an indomitable will to triumph over insurmountable obstacles. The death of his father, being a single child, deprivation of socio-economic support, discontinuation of study and innumerable political setbacks. It shows us how an individual, belonging to the lowest stratum of the social order in this country, can achieve not only success but also make an enduring and everlasting contribution to society, if he sets his heart and soul to it.

The narrative maps Mr.Shinde's entire life—from his early childhood years, how he was forced to become a school drop-out as a ten year-old, his years as a child worker donning a host of roles- factory worker, domestic help, lantern-bearer (for wedding processions), shop assistant and errand boy, among others. Mr.Shinde's efforts to get himself educated in a night-school while working in the day, his attempts to pursue collegiate education and chart a career for himself, are described at some length. His positive thinking, his refusal to take things lying down or become a passive bystander are attributes that underscore Mr.Shinde's success story. Inherent in him and germane to his personality is the capacity to take risks as demonstrated time after time in his life, from a very early age. It could well be said that necessity and hardship brought out his inner strength to the fore and spurred him on to success.

Each phase in Mr. Shinde's life signifies a point of growth in psychological, emotional and intellectual terms and opens new windows of opportunity-the period when he became a boy-peon, peon and a clerk at a court, a Sub-Inspector of Police and later, turned into a lawyer, after having been denied a ticket to the state assembly, for which he quit his Sub Inspector's post- owing to a strange quirk of political fortunes. Marred by a series of failures, setbacks and misfortunes, Mr. Shinde's life is much like that of his idol, Abraham Lincoln, in the way that each failure became something of a stepping-stone in his life and a lesson to learn from.

In a sense, it is a story of the impossible and the unreal becoming possible and real -the tale of a young man whose blood and breath chanted the one and only mantra " I can " - to achieve something special against all odds. He was neither disheartened nor disillusioned when misfortune after misfortune befell him. The young Shinde faced the ordeals of life with grit and courage. Every chapter, preceded by popular quotes, underscores how self-esteem and self-confidence armed him to overcome anything, illustrated by a wide range of instances from his life.

The book also takes us through the entire journey of Mr. Shinde's life, describing essential events which are of socio-political importance, such as his stint as Finance Minister of Maharashtra for eight long years, his days as Chief Minister, his contribution as Minister of Finance, Sports, Urban Development, President, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee, General Secretary of the Indian National Congress, Congress Working Committee member, Governor and Union Minister. Mr. Shinde's growth, as an individual and as a politician, is described with interesting snippets and reminiscences. Each step on the socio-political ladder of Mr. Shinde's ascent is marked by interesting events and gripping memories of overcoming struggles adding to the richness of the layered narrative.

Mr. Shinde's personality embedded with tolerance of problems and situations singles him out in times in which violence is on the rise, and is increasingly being used for the resolution of conflicts. The book describes, an event, how, as a boy, he was reproached by the members of a community, belonging to the so-called 'upper-castes', for bathing in a pond, meant to be 'their' preserve. He left quietly after apologizing to them for having hurt their sentiments. When asked recently as to how he would react today to such a situation, Mr. Shinde responded that as a Gandhian, he would have behaved no differently, because he believes wholeheartedly in the idea that people can be won over by love and non-violence. In another such instance, he refused to pursue a case of assault against his political adversaries who tried to attack him. Mr. Shinde says that while he does not approve of their means, he too does not believe in trying to score a political point through punishing them.
The biography is a factual account of an impoverished Dalit individual rising from abysmal depths of indigence and poverty, overcoming prejudices and deep-rooted socio-economic hurdles, struggling against tremendous odds to rise above barriers of caste, creed and religion, waging a crusade against entrenched socio-political practices and forces, turning failure after failure in a long political journey into success and using it as a stepping stone to the next point of growth and evolution with a bang , and thus inspiring all those who hail from similar socio-economic background. The complete absence of caste prejudices, the willingness to learn and evolve as an individual and the eagerness to make a mark are characteristic traits of Mr. Shinde's personality which are revealed during the course of the narrative.

Above all, the technique of winning life pervades the entire book.

(P.R.SUBAS CHANDRAN)

Who Wrote My Destiny? An authorised biography of Mr. Sushilkumar Shinde - Book Release Function
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