Open Minds 2018: Public Square

Ram Madhav, BJP Leader

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Ideas of India

In 2014, when he joined the BJP, Ram Madhav was seen as the RSS man in the party, a man who would act like a bridge between the two. Soon afterwards he was made the BJP’s national general secretary. Credited with the impossible task of forming a government with a local partner in Jammu and Kashmir and then with a string of victories in the Northeast, Madhav is seen by many as India’s unofficial global ambassador.

In the fish bowl of public life, I believe everybody is subject to scrutiny. Nobody should think themselves to be above criticism as long as it is genuine and constructive. Personalised attacks and motivated criticism are evil. But all those who disagree with us are not necessarily our enemies. Agreeing to disagree, á la Voltaire, many times leads to improvement. This one quality is missing in public discourse these days, especially in politics

With India Foundation, Madhav has created a parallel diplomacy narrative, building up India’s case with diplomats, foreign experts and academics. Prime Minister Narendra Modi recognises this, say BJP insiders. And so far, he has managed to strike a balance between the RSS and the BJP, which many would tell you, is no mean feat.

Complete List of Open Minds 2018: Public Square

Salman Rushdie, Author | Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Political scientist | Nandan Nilekani, Infosys Chairman | Srinath Raghavan, Historian | Ram Madhav, BJP Leader | Swapan Dasgupta, Political commentator and MP | Shashi Tharoor, Scholar Politician | TCA Raghavan, Historian | Ramachandra Guha, Historian | Brahma Chellaney, Strategic thinker | Uday Shankar, President, 21st Century Fox, Asia | Anantha Chandrakasan, Technologist | Gita Gopinath, Economist | Soumya Swaminathan, Paediatrician and clinical scientist | Prasoon Joshi, Poet and Censor Board chairman | Madhav Khosla, Scholar | Sidharth Luthra, Lawyer | Shayara Bano, Triple Talaq Petitioner | Reuben Abraham, Economic Analyst | Pratima Joshi, Architect | Reetika Khera, Economist | Shamika Ravi, Economist | Sharmila Bhattacharya, Scientist | Vijay Prasad, Historian | Nayanjot Lahiri, Historian | Avani Chaturvedi, Fighter Pilot, IAF | Pranshu and Nishant Patni, Entrepreneurs

Complete List of Open Minds 2018: Soft Power

Virat Kohli, Captain, Indian Cricket Team | Priyanka Chopra, Actor | Jeet Thayil, Author | Anju Dodiya, Artist | Alia Bhatt, Actor | Rajkummar Rao, Actor | Chetan Bhagat, Author | Jahnvi Dameron Nandan, Perfumer | Rupi Kaur, Poet | Parvathy Thiruvothu, Actor | Sujatha Gidla, Author | Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi, Architect | Prayaag Akbar, Author | Ruchika Sachdeva, Fashion Designer | Palghat R Ramprasad, Carnatic musician | Unni R, Author | Kunal Kamra, Comedian | Vikas Khanna, Chef and Television Personality | Shoojit Sircar, Filmmaker | Srikanth Kidambi, Badminton Player | CS Santosh, Off-Road Biking Champion | Mayank Austen Soofi, Author and Blogger | Ratish Nanda, Conservation Architect