To counter ‘saffronisation’, Nitish Kumar to woo intellectuals

Nitish Kumar is being projected by his supporters as the face of Opposition unity against Prime Minister Narenda Modi.

Written by Anand Mishra | New Delhi | Updated: July 26, 2016 8:26 am
narendra modi, modi, nitish kumar, bjp, rss, saffornisation, bihar chief minister, bihar, UP assembly polls, uttar pradesh polls, uttar pradesh elections, 2017 assembly polls, uttar pradesh, india news The proposed conferences come at a time when Nitish is actively campaigning against the BJP in UP amid a buzz about his larger role as an Opposition candidate for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. (source: File/PTI)

SEEKING to widen his political footprint beyond Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will attend conferences of “intellectuals” across the nation to counter RSS’s alleged attempts to “saffronise” academia and institutions.

Sources told The Indian Express that plans are on to hold such conferences in Delhi, Patna, Jaipur and a location in Kerala — a similar event in poll-bound UP cannot be ruled out.

It’s for the first time that Nitish, who is being projected by his supporters as the face of Opposition unity against Prime Minister Narenda Modi, is planning to engage with non-right wing intelligentsia on this scale.

The proposed conferences come at a time when Nitish is actively campaigning against the BJP in UP amid a buzz about his larger role as an Opposition candidate for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

JD(U) general secretary K C Tyagi, however, ruled out any link between the UP polls and the outreach programme.

Plans for the conference got concrete shape after a three-hour brainstorming session on July 19 involving Nitish and a dozen authors and activists, some of whom had actively raised the issue of “intolerance” and had pioneered the “award wapasi” campaign.

Among those who attended were Ashok Vajpeyi and Manglesh Dabral, who had returned their Sahitya Akademi awards at the height of the intolerance debate.

Editor-author Om Thanvi, Vishnu Nagar, Priyadarshan, Apoorvanand, Purushottam Agrawal, Suresh Sharma, critic and literary historian Rakshanda Jalil and journalist-activist Seema Mustafa were also present.

At the meeting, authors and activists voiced concern over the “saffronisation” of various institutions, such as the Nehru Museum, and attempts to “change” the educational syllabus in BJP-ruled Rajasthan. Sources said Nitish assured the participants that he was “alert” and would not allow any such change in Bihar.

The participants also decided to organise programmes to highlight the works of authors like progressive humanist poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, radical poet Nagarjun and noted ghazal poet Shaad Azimabadi, all from Bihar.

“Authors like these represent our composite culture. We need to take their work to people and present a counter-narrative,” sources quoted one of the participants as telling Nitish.

Participants voiced concern over “Sangh-inspired individuals taking over institutions” and underlined the need to launch a “comprehensive campaign” against it. Nitish agreed to participate in all such conferences to be organised by the “progressive” authors mostly with Left leanings, the sources said.

“It will be first such campaign in which a senior politician will engage with writers and intellectuals on such a large scale. Earlier, Jayaprakash Narayan and Ram Manohar Lohia used to do it. Even VP Singh carried it forward to some extent,” Tyagi claimed.

The meeting and plans are being seen a move by Nitish to scale up his “Sangh Mukt Bharat” line.

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  1. R
    Jul 26, 2016 at 7:16 am
    Modi's RSS BJPs time is numbered. Next elections he will barely win 25;br/gt;lt;br/gt;RSS BJP = SCAMS, MURDERS, TERRORISM and COMMUNALISM lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;RSS BJPs JUNGLE RAJ EXPOSEDlt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;RIOTS and ADMINISTRATION FAILURE:lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Riots in haryana -ruled by rss bjplt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Riots in Gujarat - ruled by rss bjplt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Riots in Kashmir - ruled by rss bjplt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Dalit riots in Gujarat - ruled RSS BJPlt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Drug epidemic in Punjab - ruled by rss bjp lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;SCAMS AND CORRUPTION:lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Vyapam scam in RSS BJPs Madhya;br/gt;lt;br/gt;60 people killed by RSS BJP to cover up their vyapam;br/gt;lt;br/gt;RSS BJP MP Vijay mallya ran away with 9000;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Modi's KG Basin scam cost us 20,000;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Rss bjp minister Khadse investigated for aming 10,000;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Rss bjp minister Khadse investigated for his phone calls with;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Gujarat BJP CMs daughter got land for petty;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Sushma swaraj let her family friend Lalit Modi get;br/gt;lt;br/gt;ECONOMY :lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;All key economic indicators are;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Even U.S has said our GDP numbers are embellished. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;50% of our GDP is unattributable. who will trust you, if you can't justify 50% of your accounting? lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Dal is 3 times the price it was under;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Rupee is weaker than it was under;br/gt;lt;br/gt;DALITS :lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;RSS BJPs insutionalised hatred for dalits has resulted in numerous attacks in dalits by their organizations - lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Rohit Vemula, lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Dalits attacks in Gujarat by RSS lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Dalit attacks in Karnataka by RSSlt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Demolition of Ambedkar Bhavan in Mumbai, lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;RSS BJP leader calling dalit leader Mayawati a prosutelt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;STUDENT:lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Students all over country are attacked with fake videos and framed - FTII, JNU, JU, Pune, Hyderabadlt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;COMMUNALISM:lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Attacks on minorities by ruling party friends are on the rise - murders, lynching, hate speeches are the norm (too many to name)lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;FOREIGN POLICY:lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;STAN: Modi has HUMILIATED India and our army by inviting Pak ISI to investigate their own terror in Pathankot to give themselves clean;br/gt;lt;br/gt;CHINA: Modi INSULTED India by bowing to china on the uighur dissident visa;br/gt;lt;br/gt;NEPAL: Modi even managed to turn our oldest friend, Nepal into an;br/gt;lt;br/gt;OBAMA: Modi fools indians and claims to be "personal" friend of Obama but how many times has Obama retweeted Modi's tweets to him, like he does for Canadian PM Trudeau?lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;If inspite of fear and intimidation and propaa rss bjp uses to control media we still hear about their failures imagine how bad the rot really is with RSS/BJP
    1. S
      Jul 26, 2016 at 6:35 am
      BJP IT cell REALY takes any move by Nitish or Rahul very serious and start panikinglt;br/gt;16 out of18 comments are critical and abusive loaded by Bakths and paid trollers lt;br/gt;Shame on these clowns
      1. S
        Jul 26, 2016 at 1:28 am
        Yes. These Bakths and sold out trollers are told to abuse INC AND CREAT MISUNDERSTAND IN OPPOSITION AND MAKE THEM SCAPEGOATS.Nitish and Rahul hi are too good to come in to the trap. For "SANGH MUKTH BHARAT" they will unite as they have done in Bihar embly Elections.feku is in for trouble sure in 2019
        1. S
          Jul 26, 2016 at 2:40 am
          by intellectuals Nitesh means pseudo-seculars like Lalu Yadav a convicted criminal who is out on a bail on health grounds and Nitesh government does not have guts to approach the court to revoke Lalu's bail! other intellectuals include Kejriwal who embraced Lalu Yadav on his victory and Bihar public who elected criminal Lalu's party!
          1. A
            ashok s
            Jul 26, 2016 at 1:02 am
            Mr nitishji should now take centre stage ,leaving state affairs with lalu. We need strong opposition , not congies
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