TARGETING THE BJP and RSS, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said on Tuesday that those who “never had faith in the Tricolour” are now taking out tiranga yatras. Praising the “award wapsi” campaign, he appealed to intellectuals to unite against “the current climate of intolerance” and work together on an “alternative narrative” to counter the Sangh Parivar ideology.
“I feel good that those who never accepted the Tricolour, those who never had faith in the Tricolour that it was the national flag, are now taking out tiranga yatras,” said Nitish. He was speaking at the release of a book, Hum Bheed Hain, by late author Professor Raghuvansh. Sharing the stage with him was writer Ashok Vajpeyi, who was among those who returned the Sahitya Akademi Award last year to protest against rising intolerance.
Addressing Vajpeyi, Nitish said, “You launched a big campaign against intolerance… the campaign should not stop… The issue of intolerance raised by you still exists.”
“In the kind of situation that exists today, you will have to bring an alternative ideology. An alternative narrative will have to be created. Merely releasing books and recalling views of socialist authors like Raghuvanshji will not suffice,” he said.
“In the current climate of intolerance, authors and intellectuals cannot confine themselves to just holding the pen. Majority of the people are not in agreement with what is going on today, but that voice of dissent is not being expressed prominently. People from all walks in life who believe in an alternative narrative will have to work together,” he said.
Seeking to widen his footprint beyond Bihar, Nitish plans to attend such “conferences of intellectuals” across the country to counter the alleged attempts to “saffronise” the academia and educational institutions.
“It’s not that what is happening today cannot be brought to an end. Some people used to think the same thing during Emergency. That time too, some felt that it would never end… We will have to fight… show solidarity,” said Nitish.
Recalling how the Samajwadi movement “fell apart” due to “individual egos”, he said “those who claim to believe in socialism are a divided lot”. He stressed the need for socialist forces to unite.
Amid the ongoing debate on cow vigilantism, Nitish said, “A campaign was launched as if they alone will protect cows while all others will get them killed… An attempt to create a certain atmosphere is being made.”
He said people would have to unite against “this era of ‘prachar tantra’ (propaganda)”. Editor-author Om Thanvi was also present on the occasion.