Journalist Surendra Nihal Singh’s lecture on ‘Indian Politics: The Tipping Point’ received sharp reactions on Wednesday on campus and even university vice-chancellor Prof Arun Kumar Grover confronted him.
Speaking on the occasion, Nihal Singh described the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP)’s victory in 2014 general elections as the tipping point. “The BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has made it clear that they would demolish the concept of idea of India, which took shape during freedom struggle and during the last 60 years of independence,” he said.
He said tribals, Christians, Sikhs and Muslims would not be able to deal with BJP’s idea of yoga, herbal medicines, Hindu ceremonies and crowd chanting ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’. Nihal Singh described the last two years of the BJP rule at the centre as one-man show as compared to dual leadership at top during the UPA’s rule. He also talked about Modi’s inability to control outlandish statements of his supporters like Baba Ramdev, who had recently made a statement that had there been no law, he would have beheaded lakhs for refusing to chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’.
The speaker also referred to BJP leader and union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi’s statement on sending beef eaters to Pakistan. He said Modi was able to govern Gujarat by sidelining the RSS, but he couldn’t do it at the Centre. “The BJP wants its pound of flesh,” he added. “BJP’s nationalism is causing harm to India’s prosperity,” he added.
PU V-C CONFRONTS NIHAL SINGH
Confronting him for “using harsh language like BJP and RSS are destroying India”, PU V-C said, “We had so many chief ministers in the last 60 years. Some even reached national politics, but can you list even five CMs who can be cited as model CMs,” said Grover.
Nihal Singh replied, “You said ‘destroying’ is quite a strong word. I would suggest that composite consensus evolved by the Congress over the decades is the only model that can succeed. But if you emphasise differences between communities, then how can you succeed?”
At this stage, Prof Rupinder Tewari told Nihal Singh that he was sounding like Congress spokesperson. “You didn’t say anything against the Congress and so many scams they are involved in.”
Nihal Singh said, “I am not pro-Congress, but I have been trying to point out that BJP model is not suitable for the country. Nehruvian model has worked. The Congress has committed blunders and is not an ideal party, particularly in the recent decade. I do not have a cure for India. What do we do? You have Modi on one side and Rahul on other.”
Prof AK Grover and Prof Archana R Singh presided over the lecture.
Nihal started his career in journalism in 1954. He had worked with India’s’ major newspapers, The Statesman, The Indian Express and Dubai’s Khaleej Times. He was the chief editor in Kolkata during the 1975 emergency. He was also a southeast Asian correspondent for five years during the 1960’s Vietnam war. He also holds the prestige of being the first Indian newspaper correspondent to be posted in Pakistan after the 1965 war.