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Updated: February 6, 2013 00:28 IST

Why the intellectual is on the run

Harish Khare
Comment (47)   ·   print   ·   T  T  

Thanks to manufactured debates on TV, there is no time for irony and nuance nor are we able to distinguish between a charlatan and an academician

Now that the Supreme Court has provided some sort of relief against harassment to Professor Ashis Nandy, it has become incumbent upon all liberal voices to ponder over the processes and arguments that combined to ensure that an eminent scholar had to slink out of Jaipur in the middle of the night because of his so-called controversial observations at a platform that was supposed to be a celebration of ideas and imagination. Sensitive souls are quite understandably dismayed; others have deplored the creeping culture of intolerance. Some see the great sociologist as a victim of overzealousness of identity politics. All this breast-beating is fine, but we do need to ask ourselves as to what illiberal impulses and habits are curdling up the intellectual’s space. We need to try to recognise how and why Professor Nandy’s nuanced observations on a complex social problem became “controversial.” Who deemed those remarks to be “controversial?” And, these questions cannot be answered without pointing out to the larger context of the current protocol of public discourse — as also to note, regretfully, that the likes of Mr. Nandy have themselves unwittingly countenanced these illiberal manners.

After all, this is not the first time — nor will it be the last — that a sentence in a complex argument has been picked up to be thrashed out into a controversy . This is now the only way we seem able to talk and argue among ourselves. And we take pride in this descent into unreasonableness. We are now fully addicted to the new culture of controversy-manufacturing. We have gloriously succumbed to the intoxicating notion that a controversy a day keeps the republic safe and sound from the corrupt and corrosive “system.”

This happens every night. Ten or 15 words are taken out of a 3,000-word essay or speech and made the basis of accusation and denunciation, as part of our right to debate. We insistently perform these rituals of denunciation and accusation as affirmation of our democratic entitlement. Every night someone must be made to burn in the Fourth Circle of Hell. In our nightly dance of aggression and snapping, touted as the finest expression of civil society and its autonomy from the ugly state and its uglier political minions, we turn our back on irony, nuance and complexity and, instead, opt for angry bashing, respecting neither office nor reputation. We are no longer able to distinguish between a charlatan and an academician. A Mr. Nandy must be subjected to the same treatment as a Suresh Kalmadi.

Nandy, a collateral victim

Mr. Nandy’s discomfort is only a minor manifestation of this cultivated bullishness. And let it be said that there is nothing personal against him. He is simply a collateral victim of the new narrative genre in which a “controversy” is to be contrived as a ‘grab-the-eyeballs’ game, a game which is played out cynically and conceitedly for its own sake, with no particular regard for any democratic fairness or intellectual integrity. By now the narrative technique is very well-defined: a “story” will not go off the air till an “apology” has been extracted on camera and an “impact” is then flaunted. In this controversy-stoking culture of bogus democratic ‘debate’, Mr. Nandy just happened to be around on a slow day. Indeed it would be instructive to find out how certain individuals were instigated to invoke the law against Mr. Nandy. Perhaps the Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association needs to be applauded for having the courage to call the Nandy controversy an instance of “media violence.”

At any given time, it is the task of the intellectual to steer a society and a nation away from moral uncertainties and cultural anxieties; it is his mandate to discipline the mob, moderate its passions, disabuse it of its prejudices, instil reasonableness, argue for sobriety and inject enlightenment. It is not the intellectual’s job to give in to the mob’s clamouring.

‘Middle class fundamentalism’

But, unfortunately, that is what our self-designated intellectuals have reduced themselves to doing: getting overawed by television studio warriors, allowing them to set the tone and tenor of dialogue. There is now a new kind of fundamentalism — that of what is touted as the “media-enabled middle class.” For this class of society, the heroes and villains are well defined. Hence, the idea of debate is not to promote understanding nor to seek middle ground nor to reason together, but to bludgeon the reluctant into conformity. Mary McCarthy had once observed that “to be continually on the attack is to run the risk of monotony … and a greater risk is that of mechanical intolerance.”

When intellectuals and academicians like Ashis Nandy allow themselves to be recruited to these “debates,” even if they are seen to be articulating a dissenting point of view, their very presence and participation lends credibility to the kangaroo courts of intimidation.

Manipulated voices

The so-called debate is controlled and manipulated and manufactured by voices and groups without any democratic credentials or public accountability. It would require an extraordinary leap of faith to forget that powerful corporate interests have captured the sites of freedom of speech and expressions; it would be a great public betrayal to trust them as the sole custodians of abiding democratic values and sentiments or promoters of public interest.

Intellectuals have connived with a culture of intolerance, accusation and controversy-stoking that creates hysteria as an extreme form of conformity. Every night with metronomic regularity our discourse-overlords slap people with parking tickets.

And a controversy itself becomes a rationale for political response. Let us recall how L.K. Advani was hounded out of the BJP leadership portals because a “controversy” was created over his Jinnah speech. And, that “controversy” was manufactured even before the text of the former deputy prime minister’s Karachi remarks were available in India. Nor should we forget how Jaswant Singh’s book on Jinnah was banned by the Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, even before it was published because our newly designated national saviour had anticipated that a “controversy” would get created.

The Nandy ordeal should also caution against the current itch to demand “stringent” laws as a magical solution to all our complex social and political ills like corruption. It would be sobering to keep in mind that Mr. Nandy has been sought to be prosecuted under a stringent law based on the formula of instant complaint, instant cognisance and instant arrest. Mr. Nandy is lucky enough to have respected scholars give him certificates of good conduct, testify that he is not a “casteist” and that he is not against “reservation.” Lesser intellectuals may not be that fortunate. We must learn to be a little wary of our own good intentions and guard against righteous preachers.

If we insist on manufacturing controversy every day, all in the name of giving vent to “anger”, it is only a matter of time before some sections of society will be upset, angry and resort to violence. If we find nothing wrong in manufacturing hysteria against Pakistan, or making wild allegations against this or that public functionary, how can we object to some group accusing Mr. Nandy of bias? When we do not invoke our power of disapproval over Sushma Swaraj’s chillingly brutal demand for “10 heads” of Pakistani soldiers, who will listen to us when we seek to disapprove Mayawati’s demand for action against Mr. Nandy?

Just as the Delhi gang rape forced us to question and contest the traditional complacency and conventions, the Ashis Nandy business will be worth the trouble if it helps us wise up to the danger of culture of bullishness and accusation. Unless we set out to reclaim the idea of civilised dialogue, the intellectuals will continue to find themselves on the run.

(Harish Khare is a veteran commentator and political analyst, and former media adviser to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh)

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Exactly conveyed what I wanted to for sometime. Excellent article. What can we do to change?

from:  Kumar
Posted on: Feb 7, 2013 at 18:32 IST

atleast the intellectuals can take cover and be on the run and find safe heaven and thanks be
to God they aren't being massacred or locked up.

from:  Ravi
Posted on: Feb 7, 2013 at 15:20 IST

Intellectual freedom does not guarantee immunity to stupid or flippant comments
and generalizations. A stupid remark is a stupid remark irrespective of whether it
was passed by a layman or an intellectual.
In a diverse country like India one must work hard not to must the sentiments of
others. But, is it so hard.
The so called intellectuals must know this better than others and be a bit more
tactful in shouting matches manufactured in the name of debates.

from:  jyothi
Posted on: Feb 7, 2013 at 13:11 IST

Don't we have a right to be angry, outraged and indignant?
While I agree with Mr. Khare that we should not be intolerant to the flow of views and ideas or fall for agenda setting by the media, everything cannot come within the ambit of cultured intellectual discussion.
People in India have a right to be angry and the spontaneous protests of the commons that we have seen is an angry reponse to the commissions and omissions of our ruling class. In expression of this anger, I see today a meeting point of the common people, media and civil society (even intellectuals). When the winds of spring blows in the Middle East and North Africa and through New York and London, Tel Aviv and Stutgart, can New Delhi be unaffected?

from:  Joy
Posted on: Feb 7, 2013 at 11:45 IST

It has rightly been said that the most severe threat to our society is
not from uneducated or unlearned people,but from so called learned
intellectuals of our society. Today I think the electronic media has
become a virus that wants to destroy the social fabric of our
society.It simply wants to maintain their TRP.
I would like to thank Mr.Khare for writing such a beautiful article
and THE HINDU for publishing it. THE HINDU has been doing great
service for the society. KEEP IT UP.

from:  SANTOSH KUMAR, Bihar
Posted on: Feb 7, 2013 at 10:56 IST

A well thought out piece ,unfortunately much of what Mr Khare writes is true. However, many of these intellectuals are self-serving hypocrites and must shoulder some of the blame for the current state of affairs.

from:  anil kotwal
Posted on: Feb 7, 2013 at 10:08 IST

The author has raised valid points. Ironically by singling out only the BJP he has exposed his biasis

from:  Milind
Posted on: Feb 7, 2013 at 09:48 IST

I wish Mr Khare paid some attention to Satyanarayana's article which appeared in yesterday's Hindu (The question of casteism still remains, 5 Feb) and said what he felt about it. Unfortunately this also looks like one of those upper caste, liberal intellectuals' defenses of Nandy.

from:  Jobin Mathew
Posted on: Feb 7, 2013 at 09:11 IST

In indian culture, making a blunt remark about parents, grandparents,
teachers is not culturally acceptable. So in our domestic life we dont
have freedom of opinion. This translates into the public sphere as well.
The issue is similar to the treatment of women - if wives and daughters
are treated as second-class citizens in the home or as servants - then
they will be treated poorly in the public arena as well.

from:  al beruni
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 22:24 IST

Excellent article to put light over the oversensitiveness of the modern
society. The main blameworthy of the unreasonable anxiety is the
provocative media, especially the electronic one. Like the editor also
described they bake the matter unreasonably until the whistle of apology
blows.

from:  Sachin Kumar
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 20:05 IST

"Every night someone must be made to burn in the Fourth Circle of Hell" After some limit Journalism becomes Brokerism. It is for the journalist's to decide what to do...everyday they should look back and see what damage they have done to the society in their eagerness to find solution in 30 min.

from:  Vinay kumar dc
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 19:24 IST

Has there been a comprehensive study conducted anytime in the recent
past on the actual effects of reservation on the society? I would
love for the media to handle that topic. We go off based on notions
and perceptions and the signals gets drowned out in the noise. It is
an open secret that many people fake their children's birth
certificates to get a backward class stamp so that it is easier
competitively. The evasive "cost of quality" is a topic that warrants
a thorough research, so that, if we continue with the reservation
system, it doesn't benefit a specific class of people at the cost of
the larger good of the society. After all, we have had many decades
of this policy...academicians should be able to get sufficient data to
put together a research paper.

from:  Ajay
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 19:16 IST

An excellent article, as always by the class-columnist. The cloak 'n'
dagger politics has come to the fore once again, with a motto where "a
controversy a day, will keep intelligent and insightful politics at
bay". Controversies have become the breadwinners for the political
lineage, who distract the public with tall-claims for fighting for
their "under-privileged", long-forgotten cause. To the extent, the
real cause itself gets eclipsed by "charlatan" tactics, by sealing the
intelligentsia with a vow of silence (lest they face life-threatening
consequences). The intellect is lulled further by the raucous outcry
of the “power-rangers”, who flag off with little knowledge but bigger
political motives . With intellectual debate shunned into the
labyrinth of ignorance, can India mature into a progressive society,
demonstrating free spirit, or remain the nation of petty politics and
closed-up polities?

from:  Uma Sarangan
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 17:32 IST

Yes Intellectuals nowadays in India have to move around like they are "walking on
eggs!" Well written article and brings home the scary scenario which exists in our
country at present. But then a friend once told me that human civilization moves in circles, with first the Brahmans or Intellectuals ruling, then the Kshatriyas, then the Business class and they finally have to give in to mob rule...the feet it seems has already started telling the head what to do and so it seems like the end of this human experiment is drawing near and there is very little those who see it coming can do, to stop the event

from:  angela alvares
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 17:18 IST

Recently during inauguration of The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy, Pranab mukherjee said that "Free media and Independant judiciary are essentials for a democratic country". But in contrary as Harish Khare mentioned, media, claiming to be self regulatory are bring out controversay every day. Markandey katju, chairperson press council of india suggested an independant regulatory body for both print and electronic media is need of the hour.

from:  J.V.Madhav
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 16:00 IST

Well I think the author is biased to a certain extent. What he advocates
is that in the course of a debate, it is O.K to say a few
rash/unconstituional/random derogatory words ( 15 out of 3000 word
essay) in order to prove a certain point.Well,what do you think of that?

from:  bablu kumar
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 15:51 IST

Nowadays, I do not see the TV news and debate at all; I just tuned to the concerned TV News Channel to know as to what kind of debate or news they are relaying; Mr. Khare has mentioned about 'manufactured debate'; he should write about 'manufactured news' also; there is no worthy news to hear or watch from the TV News Channel; the Doordarshan News is better than all these non-senses being relayed by private Channels; they think that they are being watched by viewers; in reality, they have already lost their charm; Mr. Khare has aptly picturised it in his article.

from:  S Anbalagan
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 15:02 IST

great piece by harishji...though it's only one aspect and other we are
suppose to assume by ourselves which may or may not be true .. but still
loved it...

from:  rajnish kumar
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 14:58 IST

Mr.Khare, very well written article and a very pertinent issue. When going down to
first principles, please do not stop at the media and their daily dish of scandal. They
talk like that, but we listen to that stuff too. While of course they have some
responsibility, they react to market forces. To a populace that is now conditioned to
words of one syllable and has the attention of a fruit fly, "the nation wants to know"
is more exciting than 'reasoned debate', 'let's not jump to conclusions' and heaven
forbid 'let's think about this for a minute'.

from:  Rajeswari
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 14:48 IST

Many thanks to Mr.Khare for another thoughtful piece. However in my view
participating in our farcical TV debates is not Ashis Nandy's only
fault- he has also shown himself to be incapable of true empathy for the
Dalits. At the end of the day he has proven to be only capable of a
superior sort of sympathy and has only succeeded in hurting the feelings
of the Dalits. May be it's time he stopped giving himself titles such as
" Psychologist to the Nation" and "Philosopher of the Slums"

from:  Dharen Chadha
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 14:33 IST

Intellectuals on the Run? Perhaps, Not very intellectual? It is my firm belief that a true intellectual has the courage to stand up to the marauding mobs on the Media circuit. They should not be so scared of a threat of arrest. What is the need to disappear in the middle of the night? Those of us who consider ourselves Intellectual ought have the courage to stare down the opposing forces, if need be, by getting arrested and take up the whole Cause. Use the same Legal and Media Resources to fight against this menacing anti-intellectual movement in India (and elsewhere in India. My grief is that our Society in India doesn't have very many courageous individuals. We are easily manipulated to tender undue apologies as a way out. Don't go the kitchen when you can't stand the heat!

from:  Subhash C Reddy
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 14:26 IST

The two chief enemies of free enterprise are intellectuals on the one hand and businessmen on the other, for opposite reasons. Every intellectual believes in freedom for himself, but he’s opposed to freedom for others. He thinks there ought to be a central planning board that will establish social priorities.

from:  avishek bhandari
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 14:25 IST

Hi, Excellent!! I admire 'The Hindu' every time when it brings out whats in the people mind. Though we all share the same thoughts, still we go ahead and watch those shows which increase their TRP ratings. This is because there is no good alternative. In most of the consumer sectors where the Government companies failed are exactly like this, in media industry we see it very visibly.

from:  Senthilkumar
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 14:24 IST

Excellent. There is an accelerating trend of intolerance in India that is threatening to become an obession. Anything and everything offends some in a very large society divided by religion, caste, levels of education and so on. We have a society where even education does not dent people's irrational way of information processing. The way forward is calm, cool, controlled and informed discussion on sensitive issues without being sensitive. An inellectual argument should not be defeated by a culture of violence. An intellectual punch must not be met with a violent punch or culled by the state in the name of 'law & order'. The nation has to move forward and must not be held to ransom by a few ill informed groups or individuals who lack the ability to substantiate their views with reason and threaten violence. Courts(judges) must not fall prey to their own sensibities when delivering verdicts. Else, India will become worse than Pakistan, a citadel of intolerance in every way.

from:  Manjit Sahota
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 13:42 IST

An excellent and long-needed piece!

from:  Sandeep
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 13:00 IST

Excellent piece of balanced article. Thanks a lot to The Hindu to bring out the debate on the daily soap opera of manufactured debate on our electronic media on drop of hat. The public is ware of the hidden agenda of these debate and the time is not far away when these soap opera debates will be consiged to the history of rubbish.

from:  Anand Mohan
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 12:54 IST

These so called daily
debates on TV makes "semi" educated people into fool. They are
giving false hope of "freedom" which should be with responsibility. The
TV anchor is conducting debate as though they are empowered by "all
common people" to conduct debate and grill the debate. Really these type
of debates are misguiding the people and make them frustrate
psychologically. There should be at least some kind of self control of
this.

from:  Athaur Rahman
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 12:25 IST

How are intellectuals defined? Who decides on who can be called an 'intellectual'?

from:  Balaji
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 12:20 IST

Of course there should be difference between charlatan and academician .As a matter of fact, who is running this crumbled scenario.(Excluding Delhi gange rape) .If someone is doing that ,then what is the purpose behind this. Alluding and eluding are become fashion of the todays intellectual cultural. Sparking the elusive statement is not going to give any soultion of the problems. If these statments(Nandy's) are the voice of academician then sorry to say bar of the being academician has been brought down. Rather then making smoke of everything ,better finding the source of the fire will be more solution to the controversial era.

from:  Rudra Prakash
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 12:16 IST

Mr.Khare has listed number of responsibilities which are shouldered by
an intellectual in a society.However,he missed a very important
one.'Measured and informed speech in public'.Is it not the
responsibility of an intellectual to be careful while employing words
to comment on a social menace?Moreover,without any credible data to
support the allegation that SC/ST and OBC's,are the most corrupt the
statement certainly cannot pass without public scrutiny.Even if he
meant to position the corruption question in a context best known to
him,to lump communities together in building a premise for an
"intellectual" debate only indicates that Mr.Nandy jumped the gun too
fast.

from:  Sunil Kumar
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 11:57 IST

creating and nurturing the so called controversies has become the prime
time business of the media very well pointed out in correct
words.Excellent article.kudos...

from:  aniket
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 11:44 IST

An excellent article, as always by the class-columnist. The cloak 'n' dagger politics has come to the fore once again, with a motto where "a controversy a day, will keep intelligent and insightful politics at bay". Controversies have become the breadwinners for the political lineage, who distract the public with tall-claims for fighting for their "under-privileged", long-forgotten cause. To the extent,the real cause itself gets eclipsed by "charlatan" tactics, by sealing the intelligentsia with a vow of silence (lest they face life-threatening consequences). The intellect is lulled further by the raucous outcry of the “power-rangers”, who flag off with little knowledge but bigger political motives . With intellectual debate shunned into the labyrinth of ignorance, can India mature into a progressive society, demonstrating free spirit, or remain the nation of petty politics and closed-up polities?

from:  Uma
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 11:25 IST

Very true, especially what he says about the TV debates. How authoritative are those young anchors, who have no idea of what India was just 30 or 40 years ago. And, we see almost the same team day after day, discussing all issues under the sky. There is wisdom outside the TV studios, and outside New Delhi too. Where is all the sensationalism created around the LOC incident? So, soon new issues are 'manufactured'.

from:  GEORGE VARGHESE
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 11:23 IST

As usual, Hindu provides space primarily to left liberal opinions. In
a democracy, public opinion is king. The columnist seems to be
nostalgic of the times when the media was hijacked by a Western
liberal form of tv news which was soft, pretentious and lacked
nationalism. Thankfully, media space has been democratized giving
voice to all forms of journalism and lets the middle class opinion
have its voice heard and make an impact. Of course, it upsets the so
called intellectual elite as it makes them feel worthless and no one
has time for their snobbish nuanced pearls of wisdom.

from:  Ayan
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 11:16 IST

These are all the negative fall outs of new found India, be it media
hysteria, shallowness of debaters, eagerness of our so called
intellectuals to be heard. what is going on is a big showbiz with every
ills of our society on display.So what's the way out? should we not seek
posterity for genuineness, modesty, sobriety in public discourse? There
is utter need of role models who imbibe these qualities for all young
people to emulate, until then how the present conditions evolve, time
only will decide.

from:  Sajjanar BK
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 11:10 IST

There is common method of Media to create controversy:
1)Pick just two or three lines from a speech and use it out of context. 2) Create controversy by showing the clip of that sentences repetatively. 3)Take responses from groups who are opposed to his/her views (clipped sentences) and provoke sentiments. 4)If people are provoked, then cry out loud that 'we are becoming very intolerant society'. 5) On TV debates, moderate the show and try to show that I am very liberal (though they forget that their channel is part of the system which created this so called controversy).

from:  Ashish Adgaonkar
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 11:04 IST

Good Article. A question to Author : If today media is colluding with business groups, politicians also with business groups. Courts are too suffering from snail pace. Who are you referring to take action ?
India has too many problems today in name of liberty, free will, cliche word of democracy, gender equality(where merit is overlooked), but no solutions. If PM of country measures growth by sensex ( like an ideal scenario), then good stock performance of Media groups motivates media houses to go on like this........ Problem today is we have defined one parameter i.e. Money for GROWTH . Other parameters of sanity, social upbringing,honesty,ethical work ,respect for our unique cultural habits, respect for individual life, environment, and happiness in all walks of life have been neglected. And who talks SANE if money is at stake ?

from:  Sachin
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 10:51 IST

One of the best and wise article.. Though this is a one-sided article
which supports Nandy, this is a very good article desc the daily
activities of so called "story" by media..

from:  Aswin
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 09:43 IST

Wah!Excellent article Sir :) Many kudos to you for a brilliant piece. You seem to have essenced what's in many of our hearts and minds. I totally agree with your viewpoint but I would like to know, what steps can be taken (at the political level as well as common man's level) to check such manufactured debating attitude, as well as middle class's growing restlessness and a fake cultural extremism which we see now-a-days in our country! Appreciate if u cud write some more in those lines :)

from:  Shekhar
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 09:33 IST

Harishji may be aware that almost every section of so called forward
communities hold the grudge against dalits for odd reasons most of
them do not pass any test of scrutiny. In such an environment Nandy's
remarks only poured salt over open wound. Intellectual freedom must be
there but intellectual should also know ground reality if they wish to
defend their title as intellectual. A genuine intellectual should have
right choice of words to convey his conclusions. While I agree that
any view should not be curbed, I also stress that its the double duty
of people who claim to be social scientists to be more prudent in
choice of phrases

from:  Daman Prakash Jain
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 08:24 IST

Mr. Harish Khare has put the present predicament in very appropriate words. Unfortunately the educated middle class, particularly (that section of the middle class which is biggest beneficiary of global education, jobs and other exposure) has for long forgotten the accepted and acclaimed values except for tokenism. This is the reality and that is reflected in the kind of TV debates which we hear on the most news channels. Not many in the middle class feel committed to a good social cause, although some of them are ready to give donations to NGOs who spread the message which we may like. At this juncture I see some hope in the youth. Although the number of such young thinkers is not large, I see they are committed to bring about a positive change.

from:  Narendra M Apte
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 08:22 IST

I was waiting for such an article for few weeks. It is well balanced written and throws light on various thing.

from:  Jai
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 07:50 IST

The article is a well articulated description of what is going on in our country now. Most of the public remain spectators with a feeling of helplessness. Most people want just peace. But they are all gripped by fear of castigation by one group or society. It is a great pity that smaller voices are controlling the masses in our country. The culture of ‘manufacturing violence’and ‘manufacturing controversy and debates over them’ seem to be growing. What is the solution? While many intellectuals fall a prey to this foul game plan, many other intellectuals who would desire to ‘steer a society and a nation away from moral uncertainties and cultural anxieties, discipline the mob and moderate its passions, disabuse it of its prejudices, instill reasonableness, argue for sobriety and inject enlightenment and not give in to the mob’s clamouring’ feel totally powerless. I believe that very soon 'Enlightenment’ would dawn on the majority public as some miraculous divine intervention to heal us.

from:  T.N.Neelakantan
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 06:52 IST

In the main I agree. But I see no mention of the problem that
intellectuals have become and the distinction that they have earned –
not by any great intellectual adumbration but by the celebration of
mediocrity which has become the norm as a result of useless men and
women masquerading as intellectuals and manipulating the levers of
preferment and promotion while better men and women would not. At all
times and in all forums it is these mediocre men and women who have
inched up to places of power and decision making that sit in
judgement on those who are far better gifted intellectuals. In the
nature of things, it is axiomatic that these gifted ones are hounded
and made subjects and objects of derision and ridicule in total
disregard of even the minimum demands of civilized discourse. One did
not entirely agree with Nirad C. Chaudhuri when he said that in his
view he was the only intellectual in India. But he had a point.

from:  V. C. Bhutani
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 06:31 IST

Great article and views. Somehow intellectual people are not that
visible in many spheres of our society be it in parliament or as
politicians, journalists, actors, academician, poets, dharma gurus etc.
Somehow we have developed into many ways but we still lack a good
temperament and education when it comes to how should we think and act
as a society, neighbour, colleagues, individual citizen etc. We need to
educate ourselves and think in terms of changing values of the society
and not to remain confined to our older wisdom.

from:  Avijit
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 04:16 IST

The two chief enemies of free enterprise are intellectuals on the one
hand and businessmen on the other, for opposite reasons. Every
intellectual believes in freedom for himself, but he’s opposed to
freedom for others.He thinks there ought to be a central planning board
that will establish social priorities.

from:  avishek bhandari
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 02:12 IST

Very nice article. Electronic media in India needs to learn form their
world wide counterparts. Daily debates on tv channel are pathetic and
complete waste of time. Nothing come out of these debates. TV channels
are just fanning the sentiments of viewers.

from:  Santosh
Posted on: Feb 6, 2013 at 01:48 IST
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