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.
The word is slang, both in political and social terms. It suggests intellectuals are ignorant of ground realities despite their academic knowledge.
For Prime minister Modi’s “bhagats” and the ruling BJP supporters, intellectuals are often the target of ridicule.
Willfully calling somebody an intellectual is to mock the narcissist nature of an individual who otherwise seems loaded with scholarly intelligence.
Intellectualism gets sarcastically ridiculed and criticized. It fails to communicate at the level which ordinary folks can comprehend.
The wisdom and idealism of intellectuals remain circulated within the learned community. Either their writing style does not connect with the everyday folks, or the medium they select has a limited audience of those who already agree with them.
An example is India’s one of the foremost writers and intellectuals, Arundhati Roy. She writes scholarly and forcefully, but her views, assessment and sentiments do not trickle down for change of opinion or to realize the existing truth.