Srinagar: In the midst of returning of awards by artistes over "growing intolerance", Union Minister Jitendra Singh Friday urged the intellectuals to rise to the occasion and unite the society instead of becoming part of a trend which seeks to "divide" the society.
"See, I would not like to extend the debate on the intolerance and add to it, but as myself have been a scribe of sorts, I personally would like to appeal through you," the Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said here.
"It is my considered belief that the intellectual class of this country including the writers, poets and artists carry on their shoulders a very rich legacy of a tradition which expects them to work for uniting the society instead of willingly or unwillingly becoming a part of a trend which seeks to divide the society," Singh told reporters here.
The Union minister said there were "striking examples" of a uniting role being played by the intellectuals of the country.
"I would just like some of the youngsters to be reminded that in 1947, in the aftermath of the partition when there were communal riots all over the sub-continent and there was a huge communal frenzy, a group of writers came forward to constitute what came to be known as Progressive Writers Forum and consisted of some of the most famous names of that time.
"They not only vociferously raised their voice against any elements trying to create strife, they went one step further to oppose the very partition of the sub-continent. So, therefore, what I am trying to say is that intellectual class must rise to the occasion instead of becoming party to this side or that side," he said.
Singh, who reached the Valley a day ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rally here, declined to comment on the exit polls on Bihar elections.
"My party president has said that we would comment after the results are out. I think it will be out of turn for me to say anything," he said.