Monday, July 22, 2024

Why are Intellectuals so Hated in India?

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The intellectual class in India is today hated like anything, lets understand why the intellectuals are so hated and is it justified?

Intellectuals are considered suave and highly articulate in their points of view. The word intellectual conjures up an image of an individual who is highly educated.

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He/ She is erudite and is concerned with societal issues at large.

They make observations regarding the nature of any political or institutional arrangement, which often is prescient.

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It is true that there isn’t any yardstick to judge whether an individual is an intellectual or not, but there are essential prerequisites-

They are sophisticated with strong background in English (at least in the Indian perspective).

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He/ She subscribes to a particular part of any ideological spectrum (mostly left wing).

The intellectual is highly visible in public spaces and media platforms to make a ‘commentary’ or give expert opinion on that matter.

But don’t be fooled, the intellectual class in any country at any point of history were never appreciated.

Nature of Hatred

The hatred stems from the this fact- intellectuals never join the herd, they are critical of the herd’s mentality.

This explains Socrates’ scathing criticism of the government of his times in Athens that ultimately cost him his life.

Intellectuals challenge the status quo, question those who are in power. They do not subscribe to any value system blindly.

This tribe engages in empirical experimentation to ascertain the outcome of things.

This is the primary reason, why they become subjects of hatred. They do not bow to political or social pressure.

Galileo Galilei, the Italian scientist faced such pressure from the Catholic Church when he exposed their unscientific dogmatic mindset.

They accused him of having committed heresy.

How? he correctly calculated that the Earth revolves around the Sun and not the other way around.

Is this Hatred Justified?

Well, to be very honest, feelings about this issue is mixed.

While the hatred against the entire intellectual class is unjustified, some amount of hatred is, however, permissible.

Let’s take the case of Left-wing intellectuals in India-the historians, sociologists, political scientists who are left leaning.

In this context, the hatred is primarily directed to the historians like Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib, Bipan Chandra, Satish Chandra.

Why? the reason is that they always glorified, in the NCERT textbooks the Mughals, Delhi Sultans and never ever tried to throw light on the greatness of non invader monarchs.

Very little mention is made of Cholas, Satvahanas, Guptas, Kushans.

For Mahmud of Ghazni, Mohammed Ghori, the Europeans were rescuers of Indian culture.

There was no history before them.

Similar attitude is shown by a lot of political scientists and sociologists.


It is the bounden duty of the intellectual class in our country, or for that matter in any country to repair their image.

The majority cannot be held hostage to distorted facts that they portray.


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