Vibhuti Narain Rai: A friend of the Dalitbahujan

We were witness to the first ever ‘Dalit-Left Dialogue’. Such an event was never held again. Vibhuti deserves the credit for organizing this dialogue. Kanwal Bharti shares his impressions of well-known litterateur Vibhuti Narain Rai

It was 6 February 2010. I was visiting the World Book Fair at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, along with my historian friend Omprakash Gupta. At the stall of Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya (MGAHV), we met the university’s vice-chancellor, Vibhuti Narain Rai. We began chatting. I introduced Gupta to him. After some small talk, Vibhuti asked me where I was staying. I said, “Nowhere. I will catch the night train back home”. He said, “You will stay with me tonight, and tomorrow, we will go to Wardha.” I told him that I had not come prepared for a night stay and that, moreover, had my friend with me. But Gupta made things easier. “Kanwal, you go. Don’t worry about me,” he said. What could I have done? I agreed. We resumed our round of the fair. I bought some books and around 6 pm, after taking leave of Gupta, I left with Vibhuti. Although I had been to Wardha to deliver lectures at the university earlier, too, this was an absolutely unplanned visit.

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