Right-Wing Intellectuals Say This is Their Conclave

(Saurabh Gupta is Correspondent with NDTV 24X7)

Around 70 politicians, writers, academicians, religious and business leaders have gathered in Goa for an intellectual gathering, along with 400 participants, for the India Ideas Conclave.

The event is being billed as the right wing's answer to Nehruvian socialists who have dominated think-tanks and policy making since independence. Organised by the India Foundation, the central theme of this three-day event is Sangh ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhaya's philosophy of integral humanism. (Watch)

BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy says, "We are believers in market economy and nationalism. Many of us have suffered at the hands of fanatic Nehruvian socialism and now it's our turn."

Social worker and writer Harsh Mander, who is a believer in Nehruvian socialism, told NDTV, "Let people who believe in markets function outside the framework of state provisioning bodies which plan state provisions. As far as the other right wing is concerned, which is the idea of the majoritarianism, to me, it is not a negotiable idea because the country has a constitution."

Among the attendees of the conclave are eminent economist Lord Meghnad Desai, Chairman of European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs Elmar Brok, economist Arvind Panagariya, former Comptroller and General Vinod Rai and author Amish Tripathi.

Shourya Doval, who has played a major role in organising the event, told NDTV "Certain elements of Nehruvian socialism did not fit at all in India. And we see it in the outcome of what we tried to do and what we ended up doing. The Planning Commission was one of them. These are borrowed concepts which have lost their relevance."

The organisers say the meet is being organised so that India can reclaim its leadership position in intellectual thought.

Ram Madhav, a former leader of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh who recently joined the BJP, told NDTV, "This is not about politics. This is simply an answer to those who made us reach intellectual bankruptcy by constantly borrowing from the west and forgetting our own ideas."

He adds, "The topics and speakers have been chosen to create a nationalistic agenda."
As opposed to Leftists and American academia, who rely on western concepts and have  dominated the intellectual arena for years, this is the right wing intellectuals' comeback moment.

With the first BJP government in power at the Centre with a clear majority, the right wing intellectuals see this as an opportunity to assert themselves and reclaim their space. Their aim is to promote a more market-driven formula to meet the aspirations of the 21st century India.

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