AMID SILVER jubilee festivities at the Bharat Bhavan, the State Government sprung another surprise on the Culture Department by appointing IPS officer Pawan Shrivastava as Director, Culture.
A day before, Pankaj Raag was divested of the Culture Secretary’s charge. Last year also, Pawan Jain was stripped of the Commissioner, Culture’s post a day ahead of the Bharat Bhawan’s anniversary festival was scheduled to take off.
In fact, many for a moment confused Pawan Jain with Pawan Shrivastava, both being IPS officers. For, if former Bhopal SP Pawan Shrivastava has any cultural inclinations, it’s probably the best-kept secret in the City’s artist circle.
The IPS officer owes his entry in the cultural domain to an RSS man, who is also an important office-bearer in the State BJP, according to sources.
Eminent writer Manzoor Ehtesham expressed disgust over the manner Raag was removed. “I think he was the right man at the right place. The manner in which he was conducting himself in the Culture department was reassuring that there is a man with right intentions at the helm. His shifting betrays lack of grace,” Manzoor told the Hindustan Times.
Raag’s shifting underlines an increasing RSS influence over the Culture department. Raag held three posts in the department- Secretary, Commissioner and Bharat Bhawan trust secretary.
Manoj Shrivastava has been given the additional charge as Secretary and Pawan Shrivastava as Director, Culture. Both had been coveting the posts. The third post — Bharat Bhawan trust secretary- is likely to go to Nirala Shreejan Peeth director Rameshwar Mishra ‘Pankaj’, another RSS favourite.
Announcement to this effect is likely in a couple of days. Raag’s protracted tug-of-war with Culture Minister Laxmikant Sharma was an open secret. They had differences over a lot of issues, including cultural awards, extension to writers and artistes manning State Academies.
Raag’s differences with the persons in Bharat Bhavan Trust had surfaced while silver jubilee programmes of the multi-art complex were being chalked out.
When contacted, Culture Minister Laxmikant Sharma denied he had any differences with Raag. He said that there was nothing like abrupt or disgraceful in Raag’s transfer, adding that it was privilege of the Chief Minister to post officers he liked.
“If I had any problem with him, why would I have allowed him (Raag) to stay as commissioner, archeology which is also under my department, ” he reasoned.