FirstCut by Manjul Toon
Pranab will not say anything against nation, says Virbhadra Singh
"I'm sure that Pranab Mukherjee won't say anything in Nagpur which isn't in favour of the nation. In fact, whatever he says will be in favour of country. I've no issues with him attending that event. He's free to go wherever he wants to," ANI quoted former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh as saying.
RECAP: Visuals of ex-president Pranab Mukherjee arriving at Nagpur airport
#WATCH RSS members welcome Former President of India Dr. Pranab Mukherjee on his arrival at Nagpur airport. He is the chief guest at a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) program tomorrow (Earlier visuals) pic.twitter.com/vmLg23M7ni
— ANI (@ANI) June 6, 2018
Free to accept or reject any invitation, says Ramachandra Guha
Speaking in support of Mukherjee, historian Ramachandra Guha said the former president was free to accept or reject any invitation he received. However, he lent a word of caution to Mukherjee and said that in the age of fake news, he should release the full text of his speech in the public domain as soon as the speech is delivered.
Pranab Mukherjee is free to accept or reject any invitation he gets. However, in this age of fake news he should make the full and authorised text of his lecture to RSS cadres at Nagpur available to the public as soon as it is delivered.
— Ramachandra Guha (@Ram_Guha) June 7, 2018
Outrage over Mukherjee's decision is 'unseemly', says Manmohan Vaidya, RSS joint general secretary
Calling the outrage over the former president attending the RSS event as "unseemly", RSS joint general secretary Manmohan Vaidya, in a Firstpost column, wrote, that RSS invite revealed Congress' hypocrisy. "The intellectual world of Bharat is dominated by the people with some sort of ‘communist’ colour. And either because of the lack of original intellectual thinkers in Congress and other political parties based on individual/ family, territory or caste identity, or they have outsourced their ‘intellectual space’ to people with communist or left background. Though they talk of liberalism, democracy and freedom of expression, they invariably are seen exhibiting the communist ideological intolerance, intellectual untouchability and exclusion," Vaidya wrote.
RSS 'trying to shed its image of an unregistered, unaccountable hydra-headed monster'
In a column which appeared in Firstpost, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera wrote that by inviting an intellectual like Mukherjee, who vehemently opposed all that the RSS stands for, the Sangh is attempting to "mainstream itself and shed its image of an unregistered, unaccountable hydra-headed monster". Hitting out at the RSS, Khera said: "Sangh has been an over-rated organisation that basks in notions of greatness which it never earned and wallows in victimhood which it never suffered from."
Speech will be forgotten, visuals will remain: Pranab Mukherjee's daughter
On Wednesday, the former president's daughter, Sharmistha Mukherjee, disapproved of his decision and cautioned her father saying he was giving the BJP and the Sangh a handle to plant false stories as his "speech will be forgotten" but "visuals will remain".
Hope @CitiznMukherjee now realises from todays’ incident, how BJP dirty tricks dept operates. Even RSS wouldn’t believe that u r going 2 endorse its views in ur speech. But the speech will be forgotten, visuals will remain & those will be circulated with fake statements. 1/2
— Sharmistha Mukherjee (@Sharmistha_GK) June 6, 2018
.@CitiznMukherjee By going 2 Nagpur, u r giving BJP/RSS full handle 2 plant false stories, spread falls rumours as 2day & making it somewhat believable. And this is just d beginning! 2/2
— Sharmistha Mukherjee (@Sharmistha_GK) June 6, 2018
Pranab Mukherjee's itinerary
According to CNN-News18, the itinerary for the evening is as follows:
7 pm: Mohan Bhagawat to introduce Pranab Mukherjee
7.05 pm: Pranab Mukherjee to address RSS workers for 25 minutes.
7.30 pm: Mohan Bhagawat to speak for 25 minutes.
Mixed response to Pranab Mukherjee's decision to address RSS workers
The "secular patriarch's" decision to accept the Sangh's invitation has evoked a mixed response with some crying ideological betrayal while the other seeing no harm in it. Meanwhile, Mukherjee broke his silence on the issue earlier this week and said that whatever he has to say, he will say in Nagpur only. "Whatever I have to say, I will say in Nagpur. I have received several letters, requests and phone calls, but I haven't responded to anyone yet," Mukherjee was quoted as saying by Bengali newspaper Anandabazar Patrika.
RSS to livestream event from 6.30 pm onwards
Former president and senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee will be addressing the valedictory function of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's (RSS) Sangh Shiksha Varg — a training camp for the volunteers — at the headquarters in Nagpur on Thursday.
— RSS (@RSSorg) June 7, 2018
Pranab Mukherjee to attend RSS event in Nagpur today amid much criticism
Former president Pranab Mukherjee arrived in Nagpur on Wednesday to attend an RSS event on Thursday which has generated a lot of interest and controversy over the last few days.
Mukherjee, who had been in the Congress for most of his political career and had been slamming the RSS, will attend the valedictory function of the 'Sangh Shiksha Varg' in Nagpur, the headquarters of the Sangh fountainhead.
Mukherjee accepting the invite from the RSS has generated a lot of interest as well as controversy, with Congress leaders urging him not to attend the event in the "interest of secularism". – PTI
Pranab Mukherjee at RSS event latest updates: As the country wonders what former president Pranab Mukherjee might say at Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) headquarters in Nagpur on Thursday, his last speech as president in 2017 reflects the thoughts and concerns that had engaged him throughout his over five-decade-long political career.
Unlike his 2012 speech when he took over as president in which he made a passing reference, pluralism and tolerance dominated the 2017 address.
“I want to share with you some truths that I have internalized in this period. The soul of India resides in pluralism and tolerance. India is not just a geographical entity. It carries a history of ideas, philosophy, intellect, industrial genius, craft, innovation and experience. Plurality of our society has come about through assimilation of ideas over centuries.
“The multiplicity in culture, faith and language is what makes India special. We derive our strength from tolerance. It has been part of our collective consciousness for centuries. There are divergent strands in public discourse. We may argue, we may agree or we may not agree.
“But we cannot deny the essential prevalence of multiplicity of opinion. Otherwise, a fundamental character of our thought process will wither away,” said the lifelong Congressman on the last day of his career.
Mukherjee, who has been critical of the RSS, is set to address its activists in Nagpur on Thursday. This will be his first speech from the RSS platform.
Accepting an invitation from the Hindutva group has sparked controversy with some of his former Congress colleagues and Left leaders expressing their reservations over his participation in the RSS meeting.
However, what he is going to speak about at the Nagpur gathering remains a guess. He has said whatever he has to speak would be only known when he addresses the meeting.
In his last speech as the president, Mukherjee had expressd his concern about increasing violence and how darkness, fear and mistrust was at the heart of this violence. Power of non-violence has to be resurrected to build a caring society to ensure participation of all sections of the people, he said.
While pluralism along with environment and inclusion engaged Mukherjee last year as he readied to hang up his boots after a very successful career, his first speech as president in 2012 was markedly different and focussed mainly on poverty, terrorism and corruption. He talked on education both the times.
The first topic Mukherjee touched in his 2012 speech was poverty after making the same overarching statement on basic fundamentals for a modern nation – democracy, secularism and equality. Real development is when the poorest feel they are part of the narrative of rising India, he said.
“There is no humiliation more abusive than hunger. Trickle-down theories do not address the legitimate aspirations of the poor. We must lift those at the bottom so that poverty is erased from the dictionary of modern India.”
However, then, too, Mukherjee’s faith in secularism is reflected in the solitary line on the topic when he said: “Our social harmony is the sublime co-existence of temple, mosque, church, gurudwara and synagogue; they are symbols of our unity in diversity.”
With inputs from PTI
Published Date: Jun 07, 2018 15:03 PM
| Updated Date: Jun 07, 2018 15:34 PM
Updated Date: Jun 07, 2018 15:34 PM