“Ideology is not dead and will never die,” Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid said here on Saturday at the Odisha Literary Festival organised by ‘The New Indian Express’ Group.
Khurshid was in conversation with noted academic and JNU Prof Pushpesh Pant in the session on “Ideological literature: dead or alive?” The Minister, who read from his play, ‘Sons of Babur’, during the session, said there are several themes in this play. TNIE Editorial Director Prabhu Chawla moderated the session.
The play brings to the fore the generational conflicts between the Moghul kings and how they failed to understand each other, Khurshid said, quoting Bahadur Shah Zafar from the play, “I don’t have sons to disagree with me.” Salman said he wanted to write a meaningful history or to have a relook at history. He wrote the play when he was leading the Congress, on the wane, in Uttar Pradesh.
Another theme of the play is the role of women in Islamic politics and modern day politics. The play also has a powerful theme of conservative and practical Islam and Sufism, Khurshid said and added that the play also explores Akbar’s idea of new India and how that can be brought about. Khurshid dwells on live conversation between Zafar and others in the play.
Stating that everybody continues to struggle with the idea of India, the Congress leader said the play is also a search of India. He, however, said the idea of ideology as perceived by common people and an enlightened person is vastly different. “The tragedy for a politician is that while an intellectual or a scholar can say anything, it is not possible for the politician to do so,” he said.
On ideological groups, the Congress leader said the Left scholars and intellectuals had a powerful voice but could not reach the villages of India. “We reached the villages with ideals of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru,” he said.
Khurshid, however, maintained that though the Left collaborated with the Congress, its outstanding minds tried to destroy the liberal leadership of Congress. He said that when the matter of ideology came, the Left hated the Congress leaders.
To a question, Khurshid said that secular is an overrated word. “Secularism is only one dimension of true liberalism,” he said and added that one who believes in liberalism agrees to the right of the others to disagree. Stating secularism is only one dimension of liberalism, he said, “we have to work on secularism a lot more.”
To another query, he said he had given space to the Right and not banned them in the play.