| Chief minister Nitish Kumar with his new cultural adviser Pawan Varma at 1 Aney Marg. Telegraph picture |
Patna, Jan. 19: Diplomat-turned-author Pawan Kumar Varma today joined as the cultural adviser to Nitish Kumar, a development interpreted as the chief minister’s bid to strengthen the “brand” of his governance.
“I am deeply influenced by the clean politics, susashan (good governance) and secularism as practised by (chief minister) Nitish Kumar,” Varma said soon after joining Team Nitish, adding: “I am willing to work with the chief minister.”
He also praised the changes and developments taking place in the state under Nitish’s stewardship.
The author of around 20 books — many in the list of bestsellers — presented Nitish his just published volume, Chanakya’s New Manifesto. The title must have pleased the chief minister, who takes much pride in Chanakya, the legendary author of Arthashastra and builder of the Mauryan empire.
Sources in the JD(U) said the induction of Varma as the CM’s cultural adviser was a “prelude” to the former ambassador to Bhutan formally joining the party at some “appropriate” time in future. A 1976 batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer, Varma demitted his service on December 31, 2012, voluntarily to join Nitish’s bandwagon.
Announcing Varma’s joining as the CM’s cultural secretary, the principal secretary to Nitish, Anjani Kumar Singh, said: “Varma is a prominent creative thinker and orator of global standards. As a diplomat, he has worked in New York and Moscow. He was a part of India’s permanent mission in the United Nations. Besides, he has held many key positions during his meaningful diplomatic career.”
Varma joining the Team Nitish and praising the latter’s work must have made the CM’s day, for Nitish regales in appreciation from the high and mighty in the field of academics and intelligentsia. Recently, Nobel Prize winning-economist Joseph E. Stiglitz patted Nitish for his work in the state. Nitish has also earned the appreciation from the likes of Amartya Sen and Meghnad Desai.
The 20 books authored by Varma include Ghalib — The Man of the Times, Haveli of Old Delhi, Krishna the Playful Divine and The Great Indian Middle Class, besides Chanakya’s New Manifesto.