“What do their appointments show? It shows absolute contempt for scholars, literature and the arts.”

Modi government most anti-intellectual and philistine says historian Ramachandra GuhaPushkarv via Wikemedia Commons
news Ramachandra Guha Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 11:44

Speaking at the Bangalore Literature Festival on Saturday, well-known historian Ramchandra Guha said that the present central government led by PM Modi is the most “anti-intellectual”.

“I believe, as a student of history of contemporary India, who has watched every government for the last 45 years, the government in power in Delhi is the most anti-intellectual we ever had, and this is manifested in appointments,” said Guha as he delivered his “Eight Threats To Freedom of Expression” speech on the opening day of the event.

Carrying his argument forward he cited the appointments of Pahlaj Nihalani and Gajendra Chauhan, saying, “What do their appointments show? It shows absolute contempt for scholars, literature and the arts.”

“The Prime Minister does not believe intellectuals, writers and artists contribute anything to the society because that’s his own impression and that’s his own experience, and that goes right down the line,” he said.

Guha further said “if the country has such a government, profoundly anti-intellectual and philistine, and whose educational and culture are ruled by RSS, besides what you have in public discourse being shaped by bigots and chamchas. Bigots and chamchas and are appointed by the government for academic and cultural posts.”

He went on to say that rationalists like Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar and M M Kalburgi “almost certainly” were murdered by Hindu fundamentalists.

Guha also thoroughly criticized other political outfits in the country citing saying that politicians always choose to lend support to “thugs and bigots” over writers, artists and filmmakers against.

He further questioned, “In 1989, Rajiv Gandhi banned Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, and it took 25 years for Chidambaram to talk about it in a Delhi meeting. Why did he not resign in the last 25 years?”

Even the Left faced his scrutiny as he said, “Jyoti Basu and Buddadeb Bhattacharya, could not protect Taslima Nasreen for her work. No Left wing intellectuals protested.”

This is an aggregated report from an article published in Hindustan Times on December 6, 2015.


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