Being intellectual in India these days has an irony of pun in it. The ‘intellectuals’ rather be non-intellectuals to avoid the snobbery generated in its labelling.
“I am not an intellectual. Abuse me, but do not call me that sir,” a recent quote from Chetan Bhagat, one of India known authors, who got included in Time magazine’s list of World’s 100 Most Influential People in 2010.
The word intellectual is a slang now both in political and social terms. It suggests scholars are ignorant of ground realities despite their academic and ideological learning. For Prime minister Modi’s “bhagats” and the ruling BJP supporters, intellectuals are often the target of ridicule.
(photo by Charles Deluvio)
Willfully calling somebody as an intellectual is to mock the narcissist nature of an individual, who otherwise, loaded with bookish knowledge.
Intellectualism got sarcastically ridiculed and criticized. It has failed to communicate at the level in which ordinary folks comprehend. Their wisdom and idealism remain circulated within their isms.
Mostly Leftists scholars and thinkers are the victims of intellectual sarcasm. For that reason, it is often a bitter taunt by the political Right against the political Left.
Everything is in the spate of change, including the society and the intellectuals. It is the society that recognized someone as an ‘intellectual’. Naturally, the definition of an intellectual also will change as society changes. It is also a fact that nature does not like a vacuum. Another, new-fashioned intellectual takes place of the old. One can see the mushrooming of these new intellectuals.
Most of the time, what one sees is not there and what one does not see is there latently.