Book launches in five-star hotels are now de rigueur. But Jairam Ramesh, secretary in the Congress Party’s economic cell, went one better. It was a practical joke on his part, he said, to get his Kautilya Today
released at Ashoka Hotel by none other than disinvestment minister Arun Shourie. "He has written so much about the hotel," Ramesh said, tongue firmly in cheek. Shourie returned the compliment. The good thing, he said, about Kautilya Today
(a collection of Ramesh’s columns) is that it lacks "brilliant ideas". The minister and the author have something in common, apart from being pariahs in their political parties. They share a cordial dislike for "brilliant ideas", especially on disinvestment.
The formula for publishing success: tickle the vanity of a columnist by putting his columns into a book, or else, get together a quickie on the hottest...