Intellectuals in India are often described as ‘armchair loudspeakers’. But the days of Nehruvian thinkers and the likes of Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Arundhati Roy and Ramachandra Guha — who postulated theories of social justice, offered a perspective on history and politics and didn’t shy away from criticising the government of the day — are now gone.
They have been replaced by new ‘intellectuals’ such as Kapil Mishra, Amit Malviya, Giriraj Singh, Sambit Patra and a desperate-to-join-the-rank Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga.
All these are stars that shine while the biggest star in the galaxy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, mostly remains silent. They have their own theories of the history of India — and how it should be interpreted — and a theme to praise the government no matter what happens. They have the power to force people out of their 70-year ‘slumber’.
Their theories have put the ordinary person into action, not just the woke. They are so influential that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has acknowledged the impact of Kapil Mishra’s words. Every day, Amit Malviya invents a new theory about the past and present of India, and thousands of bright Indians gulp it down without a second thought.
Also read: Zuckerberg uses Kapil Mishra’s ‘Delhi riots threat’ to outline Facebook’s hate speech policy
The fearless ‘neo-intellectuals’
Recently, Shandilya Giriraj Singh, in a tweet that he later deleted, eulogised Brahmeshwar Singh Mukhiya as ‘Shaheed’, an honour that Indians bestow on slain soldiers and freedom fighters. Brahmeshwar Mukhiya was the chief of the now-disbanded Ranvir Sena in Bihar and an accused in close to 300 gruesome murders of Dalits and other ‘lower caste’ people, including the 1997 massacre of 58 Dalits at Laxmanpur Bathe village near Patna. Guha, Roy and Mehta will keep debating the meaning of Shaheed, and won’t agree even among themselves.
In her book The Doctor and the Saint: The Ambedkar-Gandhi debate, Arundhati Roy discussed at length M.K. Gandhi’s views on caste and social justice. But the ‘intellectuals’ in ‘new India’ can’t wait to distort Arundhati’s viewpoint and seek to erase Gandhi from public memory. After all, it is only in India that the PM pays tributes to Gandhi, while his party leaders and supporters extol Godse the murderer and Savarkar the alleged conspirator of that murder. The PM too sometimes joins his supporters in paying tribute to Savarkar.
This has created an environment where one Pooja Shakun Pandey, a member of Hindu Mahasabha, can fearlessly reenact Gandhi’s murder by firing bullets into an effigy, which other members of her outfit later set on fire while chanting “Mahatma Nathuram Godse amar rahein (long live Nathuram Godse)”.
Also read: Indians who support Kapil Mishra are saying #BlackLivesMatter. Let that sink in
They come from all walks of life
These new ‘intellectuals’ are far more effective. And they don’t just comprise members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). They find support from other ‘intellectuals’, too. Some of them include actors Anupam Kher, Paresh Rawal, Akshay Kumar; people such as Payal Rohatgi, Rangoli Chandel; enthusiastic former Army persons and serving IAS-IPS officers who don’t hide their political inclinations.
Guha, Roy and Mehta won’t be able to garner this kind of support in decades. But the new ‘intellectuals’ can trend their ideas within minutes.
Take, for instance, the slanderous remarks made by Kapil Mishra on the pregnancy of Safoora Zargar, a Jamia student arrested on UAPA charges and in jail since 10 April. It received thousands of likes and retweets.
Then there is the boss of all these new ‘intellectuals’, Prime Minister Modi. While announcing the first lockdown on 24 March to tackle the spread of the coronavirus, Modi claimed that just as the fight in the Hindu epic Mahabharat lasted 18 days, India will win the ‘coronavirus war’ in 21 days. As of 11 June, India has recorded close to 3 lakh Covid-19 positive cases and more than 8,100 people have died.
In the past, Modi has always invented some theories about science, maths, climate or history. He aced all of them. And he has completely replaced one of India’s leading intellectuals of the past, Jawaharlal Nehru, through his upcoming book Letters to the Mother.
Also read: Bollywood backbenchers finally taking revenge on A-listers, with some Right-wing help
They come with their own take
The new ‘intellectuals’ of India have a simple solution for all ‘academic’ problems. No more reliance on foreigners and their socio-political perspectives. Be atmanirbhar. Conjure things up as you go. And the new theories must respect the sentiments of the people. What is the use of science or philosophy if it doesn’t respect the sentiments of its own people? If the new ‘intellectual’ says gaumutra (cow urine) and gobar (cow dung) can cure the coronavirus, then they must be seen as the new medicine. There should not be a counter-question.
You talk about scientific temper. Find science in gaumutra and gobar.
In the new ‘intellectual’ system, international relations have been transformed. If a bird or a locust comes from Pakistan, it is either a spy or a terrorist. The Chinese soldiers may enter India, beat Indian soldiers, and occupy Indian territory, but the new ‘intellectuals’ will portray it as non-serious, which can be tackled by uninstalling TikTok.
Did you say Indians don’t respect animals and climate? Who theorised that high temperature will kill the coronavirus? Who is most hurt at the death of the elephant in Kerala’s Malappuram? The incident happened in Palakkad, by the way, but the new intellectuals need a ‘Muslim’ angle.
Also read: Does Ram Guha blame Modi voters like Rahul’s? A historian’s job is to assess, not admonish
Want to be one?
To become an ‘intellectual’ in new India, you must at least post a daily tweet blaming Nehru, Gandhi, Akbar, Khilji, ‘urban Naxals’, and be on your toes to counter, slander, abuse, target, threaten anyone from the group of dethroned intellectuals or one seemingly siding with them. This way, you are sensitising people to history, Constitution and politics.
From the Balakot strike to the coronavirus, Indians have researched many topics that they never had before — Geneva Convention, Article 370, Article 30, Article 14 to 21, CAA-NRC, the percentage of Hindus and Muslims in the world, India’s neighbourhood, how much boundary does India share with Afghanistan, Bangladesh liberation, the strains of the coronavirus, the methodology of riots, the anatomy of Hindu-Muslim ties, etc. If you rewrite history, you will force people to read what was deleted.
Were Arundhati Roy, Ramachandra Guha, and Pratap Bhanu Mehta ever able to push people into reading and educating themselves so much in a year? But look at the new ‘intellectuals’. Thanks to them, so many Indians have learnt a lot and come a long way in such a short time.
Views are personal.
I have always wondered why Bihar is like it is , of course it was no mystery to be decoded, when your ‘mukhiya’ is bigoted Brahmeshwar, decency and humanity would be wrapped in gobar ,whilst casteist sartraps could lord over impoverished , small comfort mukhiya is dead & shaheed in a state where most cannot earn enough to be decently buried.
Social justice looks good on paper. It’s utter nonsense , it’s a leftist ploy they use the underprivileged and persecuted ppl to play identity politics, Dalits minorities, unemployed ppl and poor can easily get attracted to these ideology thinking that the wrongs done to them can undone. But leftists are worse than snakes. They only want power at any cost. They are ready to denounce their own nation if it can get them publicity .
“If you rewrite history, you will force people to read what was deleted.” … if only! people unfortunately tend to either believe blindly or reach for trash like ‘mine kampf’ or ‘bunch of thoughts’… I want to tell these ‘intellectuals’: Wenn nur dein Kampf dein ‘bunch of thoughts’ logisch machen würde … if only your struggles made your bunch of thoughts more logical!
Before Modi came it was your leftist agenda which flourished. Not an inch of space was given to the right wing. If u were in the media you had to bad mouth Modi. Since Modi became pm you are losing your plot and becoming crazy.
Leftist agenda.. is nowhere as harmful. Look at how much hate has spread since right wing agenda came.
Leftists are ready to burn this nation of they don’t get power. Now people understood them so they don’t give power to them. And these people are doing everything to burn this nation. So this hate will continue till these leftists are completely defeated.
Ha ha, it’s hilarious that you call the new lot “intellectuals”. They don’t have a drop of grey matter between them . I say this from reading what you say about them in the article, since I haven’t ever heard of them, except for Batra who appears on TV panels and loves to hear his own voice championing any and everything his government does. It’s really silly of the Print to call them intellectuals and pit them against the likes of Guha, Roy, and Mehta.
The word “intellectual” is supposed to imply intellect of some kind, so right off the bat ” new intellectuals” seems either a misnomer or a representation of just how bad the state of the group intelligence of this country really is.
The current governance is nothing but like the story of the Father, Son and Donkey. One cant do much. Befooling the people by lying and all kinds of manipulations will be continued !!!
Smt Yadav’s own intellectual level can be understood from the examples like Kapil Mehra etc, who she considers to be historians. While talking about a different interpretation of history she not even heard of Sanjiv Sanyal? Is The Print unable to afford proper journalists?
Why does that make guha less of historian?
While reading the story, I was thinking the same. I have great respect for person but could not digest reference points which author had taken to her build argument.
This is what we need to be aware of and wary of such articles.
Please read Sanjeev Sanyal, Makrand Paranjape books. That would help
ITs happening across the world actually. I feel like the only solution is message of unity
Good way to put the issues
Written in an equally biased manner and pathetic use of word new intellectual.
“words” or maybe “phrase”
Change in the world in inevitable. The smartness lies in accepting it gracefully. In stead of moaning about Guhs’s being taken down piece by piece by sarcastically calling out the new intellectuals.
Why not provide a platform for articulation point by point between Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Arundhati Roy and Ramachandra Guha et al and the likes of Kapil Mishra, Amit Malviya, Giriraj Singh, Sambit Patra ( who may not have the command on English suitable to meet the standards demanded by the currently accepted breed of intellectuals)
ANT THING THAT DOES NOT CHANGE IS BOUND TO PERISH
As expected from the print. Same story different pages. Comparing Guha, Roy with others to show them how great they are and insort running old story of left wing right wing.
The leftists and the self-styled intellectual infected and hollowed out every institution in this country because of the protection and encouragement offered by the Congress Party and Nehru and his descendents. They stifled the right to freedom of expression of others. Wnhat is wrong if those “others” now assert their constitutional right to freedom of expression?
Because “others” are promoting hate to our minority and blind faith in government. Neither is indian.
And actually read guhas writings. He is quite critical of congress in his books. He dislikes this government more.
Sometimes morality is morality. Freedom of speech is great but is effective only in a society that dares to look at itself critically. Otherwise it is just living in denial.
Then you should read quran. You would know what they are taught day night about how to brutally eliminate Idolators like you and me. And you know what it’s duty of every muslim to follow everything written in quran.
As expected from the print. Same story different pages. Comparing Guha, Roy with others to show them how great they are and insort running old story of left wing right wing.
When a majority of educated individuals decide to go down the drain simply because of their caste considerations, no one can prevent the slide.
This article clearly shows where the inclination of ‘the print’ actually is. The author is totally biased and telling arundhati Roy a intellectual….what a shame.
The recipe of new world order:
1. Everything written in past is wrong, because India was colonized and Nehru was leader
2. One can say what they want, we can base it all off opinion pieces and twitter news.
3. If others use historian’s source, we have to ask them to go to “primary sources”. What these sources are, a complete mystery. Historians just apparently, lie because they are “crooked” and don’t like the government. Not they definitely have more years of experiences reading “sources”.
4. If they don’t support our government, call them anti-national. If they say something against government- not India, but government, it is anti-national.
5. If they have been written by British, or by anyone not supporting government they don’t represent “indian values”.
6. Rewrite history by calling all muslims jihadi, terrorists, aggressive, women abusing. Never mind, wondering where you got this knowledge from.
Sad reality is: nothing good but hate will spread.
To start with I am a completely apolitical person, since I feel all the party’s are filled with such intellects who potray everything differently according to their convinience. This article seems to be written with same hurt hate and sycophancy which the author seems to point towards other. Atleast before publishing check that such narratives are not furthered. The media in india today seems to be for and against the government. How about some real journalism and backbone
Soft cultural revolution. Bad idea.
Ms Yadav needs to ask herself why those Nehruvians who “postulated social theories of social justice” losing their halo! It just like their self promoting power-hungry failed PM Nehru, they are pretentious pompous sociopaths have achieved their cult status by siding with violent fringe elements in the society at the expense of silent majority. But thanks to democratisation of media these parasites have been exposed and will with time will become sidelined even more. As for this pedestrian article, Subramanium Swamy, Swapan Dasgupta et al have conveniently ignored!
While Shekar Gupta appears to be neutral in his Cut the Clutter episodes, his team seems to be tilted strongly towards the left.
It is no different from Modi praising Gandhi while his sishyas glorify Godse.
The attacks against the right are disproportionate in the posts. Shekar can do well with some balance.
I have not across any solid proof from the left historians about their theories. Left has always denounced majority views of history in all aspects just to suit their agenda of secularism though it may not be true or a historical fact. They reject all the theories propagated by main stream center right historians without giving any substantiated narrative.
We have had enough of the manufactured history and narratives of your ilk. Jyothiji, your time is up. We can read the true history of India for ourselves from primary sources and see for ourselves what a curse nehru was for India. As for the jokers like guha, Roy and Mehta, well, they are just jokers and peddlers of fakery.
Where are these primary sources?
The problem with this article is that many would think that the author actually believes these things and supports the people they is criticising.
Seems like a filler. Not upto the standards of The Print
Good take on the current “intellectuals” Of India.
The intellectual like Arundhati Roy are nothing but fear mongers, they fuel the fire just like what is happening in USA inspite of defusing the situation. A person must be realistic rather then pretending to be liberalist, if you pick a side then you become activist and least journalist. People like Arundhati Roy are nothing more than a mob in the form of activist. If I am not mistaken Arundhati Roy said to DW channel that “India is heading toward Genocide”, what kind of statement is that!? Are we that shallow?
We sure hope that we aren’t. That our first reaction to this is arundathi Roy is anti national but not that Muslim people are feeling insecure… Is worrying. That no one thinks about it worries me.
I don’t particularly like her work. She probably has a different take than many on Delhi riots and hence considered it genocide. That argument is not baseless because many people.are worried about Amit shah. But leaving politics aside, can I say that would it not have been better after Delhi riots no matter who did what, we all spoke unity? And said no, Hindus and Muslims are all indians, we will look after each other. Did we get any assurance from government to calm communities, to feel like we shouldn’t worry? What did we do? Continue blaming. Minority has a reason to be scared in current India. The message to them is, if you raise concerns, you are not supporting India.
If we get so easily offended when we should be listening to concerns , we are heading to darker times.
Ridiculous article. Completely leftist and Sadist .
Well it’s pretty obvious this is a biased article on one hand the author talks about ‘intellectuals’ in quotes and on the other intellectuals as of roy and guha have got a degree in that, and honestly when someone like the lecherous arundhati roy goes on DW news and says the situation in india is genocidal do you think people will just listen to her and agree, they will think she needs to put in an asylum.
What’s wrong with Roy voicing her fears? Article 19 gives her at least that amount of Freedom of Speech.
In the eye of the author,those who try to create debate/disturbance/divisions in the country are heroes/heroines and those who speak of national interests are villains/vamps. What a biased article – full of criticism, criticism and only criticism.And at last the author has proved that she is the intellectual of intellectuals.
Actually those who try to create debate are helping more than those who blindly follow. What good does following do? If you all could debate any flaw would actually be attempted to be addressed. If you follow, nothing changes. This is not politics but essence of democracy.
Expected from Print. We are nationalist and tukde tukde time will be over soon. Government should present a law where speaking against India or Indian Religion will result in severe action.
People like you are the problem. You lack the simple understanding that India, the Government of India, Hinduism, and BJP are four different things. Also, where is your ‘nationalist’ nature hiding when people use Religion and promote superstition for fraud and destroying the lives of your fellow countrymen?
Funnily – the Leftist ThePrint/TheWire dont bother talking about their “champions” – Swarabhaskar or Pinjra Tod Natasha Narwhal – the latters inflammatory speeches and collusion with Tahir hussain that led to the Delhi riots during trumps visit.
Leftists will go all the way to blame the ills of the country on the right wing – but casually absolve themselves of all the pain they inflict due to their shortighted rose tinted view of the world
Jyoti let me tell you one thing u have written all these garbage things with your zero intellectual power. Become better journalist by using your own brains not hate which is visible throughout your shit. One advice whatever examples that you gave they have nothing to do with intellectuality or influence. All these have bigger source that are beyond your thinking. By the way Welcome to the real world. Lekin Beta avi tum baccha ho is game me. Thoda khus rehna sikho life me jyada frustration hai life me tumhare.
Crooks are not dethroned. They are dumped into gutters. Every librandus like Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Arundhati Roy and Ramachandra Guha think themselves as intellectuals but in practice they are experienced crooks.
Do you have a source to substantiate your claim? I am interested in getting to the bottom of this.
That they are still taking in all.the hate you guys are throwing at them, makes them more patriotic than many hear. Blindly following government is not patriotic.
We elected this govt – now we must learn to live with it. The glory days of the Indian intellectual is over – atleast in India no one can be an intellectual any more. Irony and bhakts have the same relationship as salt and kheer – it is wasted on them. Jyoti Yadav should stop wasting everybody’s time writing such articles. Better write more on how Rahul Gandhi is responsible for Modi’s grand success as PM – it will get a lot more positive reviews from both bhakts and so called intellectuals alike.
Zargar got pregnant while she is student of JNU.It would be interesting to hear what her parents have to say about her pregnancy when she is not married and not earning her keep.
why does this matter? This is a free country.
Take a look at how they get attacked on twitter. Its terrible
Ramchandra Guha, so called Gandhian openly eats beef, forgetting that cow protection is a part of directive principles of state policy in the constitution.
I think Gandhi would be different in 2020. If he saw india today, he would be deeply sad hearing such thoughts.
Arundhati Roy is an intellectual? The one who praised the Pakistani army and is well know for her anti national activities is an intellectual.? Is this the type of person who qualify as nehruvian/ intellectual. If so then u are mistaken. They are not intellectuals. They are terrorists and the nation rejects them.
Intellectuals, are not afraid to think in unbiased manner. No fan of arundathi roy, but is this really indian value to reject anyone who disagrees, or thinks good about what you consider “enemy”. Is this what our culture teaches us? oh please.
Disagreeing certainly doesn’t make one enemy but working against the interest of India is certainly make one enemy of India. Disagreeing is meaningless unless better alternatives are given. Have ever hear Arundathi Roy suggesting improvements. No Never. You only hear her conspiring against Indian interest. She doesn’t even believe in democracy otherwise she would respect the majority view and make suggestions for improvements. Arundathi Roy type people are only nuisance for the society and the nation.
2 things. People like guha, Roy question government. Not about article. You should too. Even if you are bjp supporter, now that you have 4 years more of the same government be willing to see what may have gone wrong.
The general view among historians is savarkar could have had connections, but these things are buried in history. This is not politics. If you are afraid to think about this, then it is politics. Before screaming, consider finding legitimate sources.
Reply to wrong message got posted.
Historians can’t advise on policy. They can tell you what is wrong by their knowledge of history. You have to have the willingness to listen to critique without calling people anti national. This way of treating any one who questions current government is wrong. We will all be better off if we did
Arundhati Roy is a one book wonder who revels in demominizing the country she was born in. she’s the classic example of an extreme left liberal ideology that only muses – offers no solutions to country’s problems – and creates more anger by just speaking nonsense that cant be substantiated or is outright hurtful to the majority whilst hiding behind the skirt of ideas like “Islamophobia” to protect themselves
I have graduated in History in South India premier institute and Guha and Indian historian books were books avoided and we use to refer foreign authors. People like him have stooped India intellect to it’s abyss. Your view is full of prejudice. I hope print does not become venting house like Wire or Scroll. Their are people who present facts in public forum if Mr Guha is really educated person he is free to educate us. I think he is schooled moron.
The Wire and ThePrint have common objectives. Shekhar Gupta has picked up Modi haters as its contributors. To avoid being caught, he him self talk lots of sense but his army of contributors hate Modi, hate Hindus, hate saffron color, hate indian culture, they even work against Indian interests.
It is a part of his marketing strategy. He puts on an act of being balanced in his YouTube videos, while these so called “journalists” really expose his ideology here. Don’t forget his coup story in Indian Express.
Random accusations without facts. Ideology is not history.
Every twitter warrior is an intellectual these days! Having said that I don’t know why we call Ramchandra Guha, Arundhati Roy as intellectuals! They are just left wing idiots hiding under the guise of liberalism!
Good insert some “jokes” in between they you will have a perfect material for “standup comedy rant”.
HaHa. According to the author there are only 3 intellectuals in India. So who should the author blame for this? The Nehruvian ecosystem seems to have failed to produce intellectuals according to the author.
if thats what you interpret… its sad
Librandus definition of an intellectual is:
He She should hate Hindus.
He She should hate Modi.
He She should hate Saffron color
He She should hate Indian culture
He She should hate Indian achievement
He She should feel pain if India’s enemies are hurt.
He She should feel pain if Indians shines in the world
He She should feel pain if Indians held their head high
lol this is funny, at the same time scary.
I got to know of Guha through his books, and have tremendous respect for him. I then see his interview and him getting angry at things, that was bit difficult to digest. But anyday him over others.
Arundhati Roy, I respect, but differ
Having said that, the social media messages and how people are talking is seriously troublesome . How is it ok to keep saying “chutiya”. “Elite” concept itself is worrying. In different times, different people come to forefront. As a peaceful society, progress of the oppressed should not lead to an overhaul of the elites- thats what happened in china. Right now it is beginning to feel like that.
I urge the liberal community to increase its volume a little. BJP had 35% votes, I know you have disdain for social media. But it really will help, by overwhelming them. Ignoring gives them voice.
Pathetic article, lacks even the minimum intellectual depth. Oh I am sorry why I should I even think that anyone associated with The Print will have any intellectual depth when the objective is to smear the Modi govt and the so called Right. Everyday at least 3 articles appear in this publication which do everything possible to criticise the Modi government and this includes lies spread by one of its member who said that central government is not bearing 85% train fare expense of the migrants which was a white lie. So while the authors heroes may be from the Nehru Gandhi family, not everyone is obliged to follow the same. And one has every right to critically review the work done by Gandhi Savarkar or any other notable name in India’s history. There will be people who will worship Savarkar and who will not like Gandhi ji. So what ? Cany they have their own opinion. Does The Print not believe in the freedom of speech enshrined in the constitution ? And who decides who are intellectuals ? The biased media. There are many other intellectuals in India and not just P BMehta or a Ram Guha or a Arundhati Roy. It is not a surprise that the author of this article could not find better names as all the three named here have consistently spoken out against the BJP and have been selective on their definition of communal. Either the author is too naive to believe that the three named above are the only intellectuals worth their salt or she feels that others have no right to voice their opinion. Either way she exposes herself.
The problem with you guys is you are ready to get offended. Since when did it become our culture to not question government?
Democracy is not about blindly supporting the government. Once they are in power, it is job of people to question them. Supporting them, doesn;t serve much purpose, they already have power.
No where in the article the writer questions government polices or decisions. She is just ranting about how her beloved intellectuals are not being given importance anymore. Her hatred and political inclination is clearly visible in the article. This is not journalism and by publishing such biased article, The Print has proven its inclination too. She even has audacity to blame Veer Sarvarkar as the conspirator for Gandhi’s murder. Shame!!!
Since we are talking about intellectuals and historians, maybe take a look at what Gandhi thought of Savarkar.
Absolutely true, pathetic article.
Well said.. Wow..
What could these bunch of virus – Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Arundhati Roy and Ramachandra Guha et al — who postulated theories of social justice, offered a perspective on history and politics and didn’t shy away from criticising the government of the day, achieve at the end of the day for the country and human being ultimately.. All waste.
You need to really think about how you can call people who mean well for our country, whether or not you agree them- Virus. That is a terrible thing.
They do a lot by questioning power. Democracy functions by questioning power.
It all depends upon the purpose of questioning . Unless the purpose of questioning is not improving existing system, questioning ends in waste only. Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Arundhati Roy and Ramachandra Guha don’t question for improvement. They question to prove others are wrong and use lies, fake data and fabricated stories produced by other crooks of their club.
Actually not necessary…. A group of people having power, if they are lying, pointing that out is quite important. Are we willing to live in lies?
And even if you disagree with them, disagree on the point not say malicious things about the person
Are you saying that Giriraj Singh did not glorify criminal Brahmeshwar Mukhiya?
Are all the other statements false?
Do people not recommend cow’s poop and urine as a cure for cancer/corona ?
Did you get your two rupees for this comment?
Agree , these people have been on past Govt payroll or ideologues and misled indian masses. They reached timidity and often hid reality to manipulate society
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