“The Treachery Of The Intellectuals” ?
Have intellectuals really failed Kashmiri leadership
VIEWPOINT BY B L SARAF
Hold your thoughts, dear intellectuals! The heading of the write up is the translated version borrowed from the title of a book written by a French author Julien Benda and reads in original as “ La trahison des clercs.” It struck me on going through the proceedings of seminars held recently in Srinagar and reported widely by the local press. Jury has came out full throttle for the intellectuals.
For quite a time now, a debate has been going on in the Kashmir Valley amongst the separatist circles – both soft and hard – to find out reasons for their failure to achieve their ‘goal.’ In a good measure, share of the blame was apportioned on the intelligentsia. The first salvo against the intellectuals was fired by Muhammad Yasin Malik of JKLF. Speaking in a seminar on 1 1 2011, organized by his party to commemorate the death anniversary of Prof Abdul Ahad Wani, Malik said, “ 99 % intellectuals work on the government aid.” This statement finds support in a piece by a columnist. She writes “it is somewhat true that Kashmir lacks intellectual honesty and our intelligentsia have also let themselves be bought by power.” These are, indeed, very significant statements which tend to mean that impartiality of the intelligentsia is subservient to their financial interests. Participating in the same seminar –where role of the intellectuals in the ‘freedom struggle ‘was discussed, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq lamented “ Columnists writing in news papers thrust on history. Those who write on current issues only point out mistakes in leaders …. Nobody says what the leaders should do ….” Some of the speakers were of the view, “Although the intellectuals were not the betrayers of the ‘freedom struggle’ yet they didn’t help”
No doubt, the intellectuals have always lived in bad times, and earned a bad name for themselves. It is said that when things are bad this category—the intelligentsia - is the most despicable in all countries. “It has intelligence that has both the capacity and inclination to rationalize tyranny”. Fali.S.Nariman narrates, in his book, a discussion he had with the then Australian High Commissioner to India, Bruce Grant –post 1975 declaration of Emergency. “ The High Commissioner told him that he had met Indira Gandhi couple of weeks after 26 June, and she had expressed shock and surprise at the total lack of resistance amongst the people to the Emergency. She particularly mentioned to him that she was more amazed at the lack of reaction amongst the intelligentsia.” (Before Memory Fades; Hay House p,188). No wonder, Hitler consigned them to the gas chambers and V.I.Lenin, on the eve of Bolshevik revolution, put them in a single line of fire and pulled the trigger. So did Mao in China.
In the Valley we have witnessed phenomena which at times looked unreal and meaningless. Yet the intelligentsia made an attempt to bestow meaning to them. And what was real and meaningful came to be debunked. In the process, negativity crept in and confusion got confounded. Most of the times they chose to look other way, as did their Indian counterparts in the wake of Emergency and at other times. Nevertheless, there is other part to the story. We need icons to emulate for the success in our endeavor. We also need demons to account for the failures. Success comes our way very rarely. We taste failures more frequently. So, the need to look out for demons is frantic and immense. There is no better person than a poor intellectual to be shown a fall guy and made responsible for our failures. At least, this is the lesson we learn from the separatist leaders. One must understand that time has come when the leader as well as the intellectual must do self –introspection. Some may say, for more than anyone else, the need is for the leader to do it earnestly. A leader must be aware of the qualities he should possess. He will be better advised to listen to the Japanese Guru, Ryuho Okawa to know the qualities he should have : “Firstly, you must always be able to see into the future. You need to be able to see one or two steps further than others. People regard someone who is more able to predict the outcome of events as outstanding or possessing exceptional qualities. In the same way that a very tall person is able to see much further than anyone else, people believe that someone who is outstanding is capable of seeing things more clearly because of greatness of character,or because of spiritual abilities.” (Invincible Thinking ) What is the future our leaders want us to look into? To an ordinary Kashmiri their future is woven in haze, where nothing can be seen with clarity. For some it is ‘ azadi ’: some see it in Kashmiri’s merger with Pakistan and others look to the retention of status-quo, albeit with minor changes here and there. How do they intend to achieve the ‘goal’? What kind of means the leaders want to employ? Some of them have not given up their love for the gun: some want stoneI pelters to do the job; while as others prefer to adhere to the peaceful ways.
A true leader has to be a mix of qualities of leadership and intellectual capabilities. He can’t outsource either of them. Even as an ordinary human being a leader is supposed to be endowed with enough intelligence to be able to see the value or inadequacies of his program. He can’t be permitted to delude the masses into the blindness and then blindly lead the blind. For, there is a great risk of both falling into a ditch. Our leaders seem to have reached a stage where their thought process has come to a grinding halt. Some say, primary reason for it is that they have given up the intellectual catholicism and acquired an ideological dogmatism. They lack the capability to carry all sections of the populace along with. It is true of leaders of every hue. Tony Blair’s dictum that leadership is essentially about saying ‘ no’ and not the ‘yes’, has not gone down to our leaders. Jury must issue a look out notice to them, as well. It may, however, give a benefit of doubt to both the categories; because in Kashmir the elements have created such a situation that whatever can be said about it in positive, its opposite also rings true..
(B L Saraf is Former Pr District & Sessions Judge. Feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lastupdate on : Sat, 15 Jan 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 15 Jan 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 16 Jan 2011 00:00:00 IST
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