April 12, 2021
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The Intellectuals

Peter Ronald DeSouza, "in the sceptical tradition of the charvakas", carries forward the debate initiated by Pratap Bhanu Mehta. While Mehta focussed on doublespeak and chicanery of Left intellectuals, DeSouza grapples with "the larger issue that underlies his intervention about the role and respons

The Intellectuals
outlookindia.com
1970-01-01T05:30:00+0530
Peter Ronald DeSouza, "in the sceptical tradition of the charvakas", carries forward the debate initiated by Pratap Bhanu Mehta. While Mehta focussed on doublespeak and chicanery of Left intellectuals, DeSouza grapples with "the larger issue that underlies his intervention about the role and responsibility of intellectuals in India" by suggesting the existence of four syndromes that are prevalent in the everyday practice of intellectual life in India by and in which we are all embedded.
The first is the 'if you are not with us then you are against us', or what can be provocatively called the 'camp follower' syndrome.

The second is what can be referred to as 'the moment is not opportune' syndrome where critical comment, asking inconvenient questions, and challenging established orthodoxies, are to be avoided since it will aid the enemy.

The third is what can be called the 'comprador syndrome' according to which Indian intellectuals adopt a different disposition when dealing with overseas academic institutions than they do in India.

The fourth is the 'poverty of imagination' syndrome where intellectuals adopt an idiom and participate in a discourse which is fashionable in the West ignoring all the while the local and the vernacular.

Read the full article here.

His description is spot-on, and it is heartening to see respected academicians articulating what hitherto has only been confined to private conversations. I am sure there are many more such "syndromes" that we could all add to this list, and here's to hoping that these two articles will lead to at least a bit of soul-searching in at least some of our so-called intellectuals.
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