Kerala

Prevent dismantling of Indian secular democracy: Chomsky

Voicing his concern over a perceived rise in efforts to dismantle the Indian secular democracy and establish a Hindu ethnocracy, eminent thinker Noam Chomsky has called for efforts to prevent it.

“India had been a flourishing democracy and a model to the world in many ways. To see that destroyed is a real human tragedy and every effort should be made to prevent it,” he said.

He was interacting with the audience after delivering online the CA Sheppard Memorial Lecture, organised by the Department of English, St.Berchmans College, Changanassery, on Monday.

To a query on the attempt to use Hindi to establish a hegemonic system while degrading all non-Hindi languages, Prof. Chomsky said the rich variety of languages in India should indeed be regarded as a “cultural treasure, something to be respected, admired and used to enrich society”. “From a scientific point of view, it’s nonsense, from a human point of view, it’s deplorable,” he quipped.

“If we were all like, life would be impossible. The richness, variety, excitement of life comes from the differences among us. From a biological point of view, the differences are extremely slight, humans are virtually identical. From a human point of view, these differences among us are what make life worth living. We should make them develop and flourish in any way we can,” noted Prof. Chomsky.

Elaborating on how the twin properties of language and thought distinguished humans from other species, Prof. Chomsky noted that these characteristics were in a relationship of identity and therefore language generated thoughts and thoughts anchored in language. “This rich and inventive capacity of the humans should help us avert the environmental catastrophe that’s waiting for South Asia immediately and other parts of the world later,” he said.

“As happened in Glasgow meeting hall, where political leaders met with no decisions taken but decided to meet again next year when the world is burning. But outside, tens of thousands of people demonstrated calling for a commitment to avert the catastrophe for the sake of their children. This action, which is the result of language and thought, is necessary for the survival of the human species and also of other species we destroy in our blindness,” he added.

Fr. Reji P. Kurien, Principal, delivered the welcome speech while P.J. Thomas, head, Department of English, presided over.


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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 12:23:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/prevent-dismantling-of-indian-secular-democracy-chomsky/article37889773.ece

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