Is TV sucking the life out of our intellectuals?

The political psychologist Ashis Nandy‘s “casteist” comments at the Jaipur literature festival—“the fact is that most of the corrupt come from Dalits, Adivasis and OBCs“; this is an “equalising force” because the upper castes have done for it for long; the “Republic is safe” as long as this happens—created an almighty kerfuffle last week.

Harish Khare, the former media advisor to prime minister Manmohan Singh, weighs in on the row which degenerated into demands for Nandy’s arrest (to which the Supreme Court put a stop but not before giving the sociologist a piece of its mind) in today’s Hindu.

Khare lays the blame squarely at the door of manufactured debates on TV, where nuance has given way to noise; irony to idiocy:

“We are now fully addicted to the new culture of controversy-manufacturing. We have gloriously succumbed to the intoxicating notion that a controversy a day keeps the Republic safe and sound from the corrupt and corrosive “system.”

“This happens every night. Ten or 15 words are taken out of a 3,000-word essay or speech and made the basis of accusation and denunciation, as part of our right to debate. We insistently perform these rituals of denunciation and accusation as affirmation of our democratic entitlement.

“Every night someone must be made to burn in the Fourth Circle of Hell.

“In our nightly dance of aggression and snapping, touted as the finest expression of civil society and its autonomy from the ugly state and its uglier political minions, we turn our back on irony, nuance and complexity and, instead, opt for angry bashing, respecting neither office nor reputation.

“We are no longer able to distinguish between a charlatan and an academician. A Nandy must be subjected to the same treatment as a Suresh Kalmadi.

“Nandy is simply a collateral victim of the new narrative genre in which a “controversy” is to be contrived as a ‘grab-the-eyeballs’ game, a game which is played out cynically and conceitedly for its own sake, with no particular regard for any democratic fairness or intellectual integrity.

“By now the narrative technique is very well-defined: a “story” will not go off the air till an “apology” has been extracted on camera and an “impact” is then flaunted. In this controversy-stoking culture of bogus democratic ‘debate’, Nandy just happened to be around on a slow day.

“Indeed it would be instructive to find out how certain individuals were instigated to invoke the law against Nandy. Perhaps the Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association needs to be applauded for having the courage to call the Nandy controversy an instance of “media violence.”

“The so-called debate is controlled and manipulated and manufactured by voices and groups without any democratic credentials or public accountability. It would require an extraordinary leap of faith to forget that powerful corporate interests have captured the sites of freedom of speech and expressions; it would be a great public betrayal to trust them as the sole custodians of abiding democratic values and sentiments or promoters of public interest.”

Read the full piece: Why the intellectual is running scared

Image: courtesy Outlook*

* Disclosures apply

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9 Responses to “Is TV sucking the life out of our intellectuals?”

  1. 4thaugust1932 Says:

    Google is your friend.
    Google “90% of corrupt money is with FORWARD CASTE”.

    * IGI Airport scam = $32 billion(FC)
    * Coal Mining Scam = $213 billion(FC)
    * Karnataka Wakf Board Land Scam = $39 billion(FC)
    * Andhra Pradesh land scam = $20 billion(FC)
    * Service Tax and Central Excise Duty fraud = $3.82 billion(FC)
    * Gujarat PSU financial irregularities = $3.39 billion(FC) fdes
    * Maharashtra stamp duty scam = $126 million(FC)
    * Highway scam = $13.97 million(FC)
    * Ministry of External Affairs gift scam = $100,000(FC)fde
    * Himachal Pradesh pulse scam = $200,000/month(FC)
    * Flying Club fraud = $38 million(FC)
    * Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association scam = $10 million (MC)
    * Punjab paddy scam = $3.59 million(FC)
    * Arvind Joshi and Tinu Joshi = $50 million(FC)
    * Uttar Pradesh seed scam = $9.98 million(FC)
    * Obsolete French Fighter Jets = $11 billion(FC)
    * NHRM = $2 billion(BC)
    * Goa mining scam = $700 million(FC)
    * Noida Corporation farm land scandal = $40 million(SC)
    * Bellary mines scandal = $3.2 billion(FC)
    * BL Kashyap EPFO Scam = $118 million(FC)
    * Hasan Ali Khan = $8 billion(MC)
    * ISRO-Devas = $300 million(FC)
    * Cash-for-votes = $715,000(FC)
    * 2G spectrum scam/Radia Tapes = $6.9 billion(BC)
    * Adarsh Housing Society(FC)
    * Commonwealth Games = $15.5 billion(FC)
    * LIC Housing Loan scam = $200 million(FC)
    * Belekeri port = $12 billion(FC)
    * Lavasa = $80 million(FC)
    * Uttar Pradesh Food Grain = $44 billion(BC)
    * APIIIC = $2 billion(FC)
    * IPL Cricket = $8 billion(FC)
    * Madhu Koda = $800 million(SC)
    * UIDAI = $1 billion(FC)
    * Vasundhara Raje land scam = $4.4 billion(FC)
    * Satyam = $1 billion(FC)
    * Scorpene Deal = $10 million(FC)
    * Oil-for-food programme (Natwar Singh) = $10 billion(FC)
    * Gegong Apang PDS = $200 million(ST)
    * Taj corridor = $44 million(SC)
    * Ketan Parekh = $200 million(FC)
    * Barak Missile = $200 million(FC)
    * Calcutta Stock Exchange = $2 million(FC)
    * Cobbler scam = $214 million(FC)
    * Sukh Ram = $5 million(FC)
    * SNC Lavalin = $10 million(FC)
    * Advani Hawala = $18 million(FC)
    * Bihar fodder = $211 million(BC)
    * C R Bhansali = $200 million(FC)
    * Pickle bribes = $20,000(FC)
    * Telgi scam = $4.46 billion(MC)
    * JMM bribes = $59,000(FC)
    * Sugar import = $130 miillion(MC)
    * Harshad Mehta = $800 million(FC)
    * Indian Bank = $260 million(FC)
    * Bofors = $400 million(FC)
    * HDW commissions = $4 million(FC)
    * Antulay = $6 million(FC)
    * Nagarwala = $1 million(FC)
    * Haridas Mundhra = $10 million(FC)
    * Kuo oil scandal = $440,000(FC)
    * Teja loans = $5 million(FC)
    * BHU = $100,000(FC)
    * Jeep scandal = $160,000(FC)

  2. Emptymind Says:

    All phenomena are “No Self” – Buddha was right in framing above words. Corruption doesn’t have “Self” notions like caste, religion,etc though it is created by illusion(or maaya) of “Self”!!

    “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” -Einstein

  3. Nastika Says:

    Ashis Nandy is a respected critic. If he doesn’t want to become laughing stock of the FC, BC & SC, he must back his statement with data.

    Otherwise, it will be yet another incident of ‘gut feeling’ by an ‘arm chair critic’ for his ‘moment of glory’.


  4. Guhan.S. Says:

    There are a plenty of Brahmins in the Caste Column; and all are of PV Narasimha Rao. May he go “Where all PMs go” Gone.

  5. Deepak Says:

    An apologist for Manmohan Singh blames the media because he failed as media advisor. And the first commenter lets loose his spam loony attack as usual. What is churumuri without such spam?

  6. Mysore Peshva Says:

    Disgusting graphic. To consider caste as correlatory, let alone as a cause, of criminal behavior shows a singular lack of education. Grow up! — I expect better from Nandy and Churumuri.

  7. nmethre Says:

    The article by Aakar is equal to trash ! No analysis and no har talk .It simply displays his immature mind ! Before writing and article he should have analysed what Asish Nandy actually said?? like Khare pointed out ” taking a phrase out of a speech and creating controversy”
    Kind Suggestion to You Churmuri : Do not endorse articles which has been written with prejudiced mind !

  8. Doddi Buddi Says:

    Caste-based corruption? Nice!

  9. the colonel Says:

    just come back, if “hamam” is a nudist camp, why is a soap so named.


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