Public Intellectuals are not a known breed in India, for most of have not heard of them in our living memory. They have a stabilising influence on the society, economy & polity of the nation and also the communities they emerge from. Most of them have a contrarian point of view, substantiated by facts & remain unruffled even when faced with criticism or any onslaught. It becomes extremely difficult to counter them on facts & logic and thus are the harbingers of proactive change in the society and the nation. Independence struggle had many.
Today the nation is replete with intellectuals in the private arenas, in the areas they have gained knowledge & profess it in a limited manner amongst their peers. They generally don’t have the guts & the gumption to enter the public domain & influence the public public debate by their logical & persistent dissemination of the same. This leaves our supposedly intellectual debate bereft of the multifarious depth, which the country deserves.
A name which clicks to our mind is that of Noam Chomsky. He is the world’s greatest living public intellectual. He had been fuelling public debates in the US & around the world, for more that half a century. He has been criticising the US Goverment policies on lots of issues, including their human rights record. He is an intellectual power house in his own right & stands like the rock of Gibraltar, in the world of pigmy thinkers, who want to make a living by being subservient to the establishment.
Public Intellectuals are knowledge powerhouses generally beyond the competition of the lowly human mortals. They walk the talk. Voracious readers as they are, they have the capability to research almost alone, substantiate everything they write & utter. Warren Buffet can be treated as one in the investment side. His thoughts have enamoured the world for decades & continues to do so even at 86. These public intellectuals are God’s gift to us, to be treasured & are the real change agents.
PUBLIC INTELLECTUALS ARE THE REAL ASSETS OF THE NATION.