New Delhi: A day after eminent historian Ramachandra Guha described the Modi government as “the most anti-intellectual and philistine” that India has ever had, former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju slammed the so-called “intellectuals” who have let the nation down.
While speaking at the Bangalore Literature Festival (BLF), Guha said anti-intellectualism was manifest in the appointments made by the Modi government.
“Directors of IITs tell me that Smriti Irani (HRD minister) makes them nostalgic for Murli Manohar Joshi… As for Mahesh Sharma, in charge of culture, who could be more grossly anti-intellectual and philistine than him?” Guha said.
Taking a jibe at the intellectuals, Katju wrote in a Facebook post that “they are in really conceited, puffed up pseudo-intellectuals, who only seek comfortable lives, as professors or writers, but have little creativity, modesty, or curiosity.”
“Many of them became flunkeys and toadies of governments, getting various benefits and sinecures from them. Where are our Newtons or Darwins or Voltaires or Rousseaus in India? Where are our John Lockes, Adam Smiths or the French encyclopaedists?
“I certainly do not support the present Indian government’s actions in appointing people of their own thinking to various cultural and academic posts. But does it really lie with our so-called “intellectuals”, who have let down the nation, to complain?
“I do not deny the great importance of intellectuals in the progress of mankind. In modern times, great revolutions like the American, French and Russian revolutions were led by intellectuals. They are the eyes and brains of the society, and without them the society is blind and stupid. But they must be real and not pseudo-intellectuals if they wish to be respected and contribute to the society’s progress.”
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