Interview with Arun Tiwari & Kamlesh Yagnik, Authors Of "Diamonds Are Forever, So Are Morals"
on Jun 27, 2022
Arun Tiwari is former Missile Scientist and pupil of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.
Kamlesh Yagnik is an Energy Engineer and President at Sarvajanik University in Surat.
Frontlist: Why did you choose the title "Diamonds Are Forever, So Are Morals" for your autobiography of Govind Dholakia?
Arun & Kamlesh: Diamonds are natural. They emerged from the bottom-most earth as carbon processed over millions of years. Morals are also products of eternal wisdom. They are universal and have guided mankind as it evolved from hunter-gatherers to modern man. Since Govind Kaka made a career in Diamonds and lived life by eternal morals, that must be the title of his biography. Of course, the title carries a powerful clue to the famous 1971 James Bond film, but that is unintentional.
What made you decide to write an autobiography on Govind Dholakia, and what was the most exciting part of the process?
Arun & Kamlesh: Knowing him over years, love for him and seeing him as the testimony of the possibility of an ordinary man turning billionaire by hard work and steadfast enterprise. Both the authors are indeed his ‘fans’ and he treated them as his friends for decades. The lockdown period during the COVID-19 pandemic and popularization of Zoom calls facilitated hours of discussion about his life. This has been converted into notes by the authors and the manuscript is built up on that. Both the authors have become in the process of writing this book people who conversed with Govind Kaka most in his lifetime.
An autobiography is vulnerable to several dangers, such as narcissism, boastfulness, and moral insensitivity to one’s family and friends. Have you been able to avoid it? If yes, then how?
Arun & Kamlesh: These dangers are products of the ego of the protagonist. Once that is absent, things become simple. Govind Kaka is a very transparent person and neither hides his faults or shortcomings nor does he manufacture a false narrative. The way he described the simple ways and chances he took in business, had a magic-like fragrance of a flower or the flavour of ripe fruit. No effort indeed was needed to write something out of the way that he told us. This narrative becomes a book rather effortlessly as the Tapi River drains itself into Bay of Khambhat by its own flow.
Govind Dholakia used to follow a philosophy of life or as he called Triveni of Life. What were the three basic beliefs he used to follow?
Arun & Kamlesh: Govind Kaka considers life as a confluence of Force of Nature, Providence, and Family. The three drivers for success in life are: (1) Honesty and ethics are the only valid ways to progress in life; (2) This world is governed by an unseen force that permeates everything, and nothing can escape that force; and (3) Family is a fact of life. You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them. This is Govind Kaka’s Triveni. Providence, like the invisible Sarasvati River remains always hidden. Those who are aware of this fact, handle their lives better – by being moderate in their good times and not desperate in their bad times. They accept the providence as it manifests with equanimity.
Were there any points of contention between the two authors for having different points of view on any aspect?
Arun & Kamlesh: No. The partnership was amazingly smooth, and rather than experiencing any conflict, both the authors complemented each other. One being a celebrated co-author of former President of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, and well-travelled himself brought in the wide-angle perspective, another being an educationist and social worker captured the Gujarat flavor and gave depth to the narrative. It is this breadth and depth that makes this book into the class of great books.
Frontlist: Do you think the life of “Govind Dholakia” can play an important role in influencing people?
Arun & Kamlesh: He has already influenced thousands of people. This book will last for a hundred years as it resonates with the collective consciousness of people who want to rise in their lives following the call of their hearts and are willing to do hard work. Except, perhaps Wings of Fire, the autobiography of DR APJ Abdul Kalam, no Indian book could so far succeed in that way.
Frontlist: If given a chance, which quality of Govind Dholakia would you like to adapt to yourself?
Arun & Kamlesh: Govind Kaka is a package deal. Every person is that way a bundle of traits and characteristics. Of course, his simplicity and humility are contagious. One does not remain unaffected by getting influenced by his warmth on that account. Both the authors consider him a living role model of Sthitpragya (स्थितप्रज्ञ) recorded in Shrimad Bhagavad Gita. Govind bhai is आत्मनि एव आत्मना तुष्टः, satisfied soulfully by soul itself. Both the authors truly aspire to be one like him in this respect.
Frontlist: Since Govind Dholakia was proud of his achievements but had no traces of self-glorification or boastfulness, can you tell us more about his character?
Arun & Kamlesh: He is satisfied with the way he lived his life, including his achievements, about which he is not shy. His thematic assertion of “I am nothing, but I can do everything” is profound. Like two sides of a coin, it conveys the inseparable truth of the impermanence of a mortal being and the immortal divinity that dwells inside a human being. Govind Kaka is like a parasmani, those who meet him, get transformed. This book will make it possible for a large number of people to have this opportunity to connect with his mental being.