Last week Arvind Pangariya asked PMO to relieve him from Vice-chairmen post of Niti Aayog. He will be joining Columbia University as Professor of Economics. Prior to this, we lost Raghuram Rajan to the University of Chicago. Another Economist Amartya Sen who was first vice Chancellor of proposed Nalanda University but withdrew his candidature for a second term and currently is a professor at Harvard University. The list of such intellects is long but the point is why we are not able to retain them.
It is surprising and a big question for a country who claims to b the largest democracy, to not able to retain its intellects.
What’s a big deal if two or three left us?
The problem is this that they dared to work for India & now they going back will deter others even to think of it. There is no dearth of intelligentsia India had produced but we know very few only both in the country & outside. There is a lot of professors, Socialist, reformers, historians India had given to the world. But many of them either worked outside India or faced criticism from their own people. If they are in India then they are supposed to work in some unknown corners.
A society cannot survive for long if it rejects its intelligentsia. Criminal background politicians or just politicians or religious leader cannot guide a society. To have a progressive society we need all these people, their diverse thoughts & their work of caution.
Politicians & Intellects
It seems all the rights in India are with politicians only. A politician can shout anything in Parliament, have criminal records but still contest & win elections. He will have huge supporters. But if a professor, reformer, author or any other Intellect individual do something – he will be criticized, attacked, forced to say sorry or worse might be charged with sedition charges.
A politician in India can say Rape as a young boy mistake, wish to divide India or can ask farmers to urinate their farms at a time of drought. But a person cannot work for Naxalite affected peoples or write a book depicting some traditions or term a religious practice wrong or even express his disbelief on government policies. There is sure punishment for such actions.
In such an environment, there will be hardly anyone who will dare to work. Others will work in silence knowing that their works will remain in their study room and will never be utilized.
Root cause – We are Emotional, Not Rational
We are too emotional with ourselves and anything related with India. When Sunder Pichai becomes CEO of Google we feel proud. First thing, we forget to question ourselves why he is not working in India or for an Indian Company. Second, if he had answered that question by saying the truth – “India doesn’t have that kind of environment” or simply that “India doesn’t have such a big Company.” Then we would have termed him anti-India, pelted his house in India with stones, cow dung (We love that), and threatened him never to come to India.
We don’t think rationally. We don’t accept our faults. Everything about India is great and whoever will tell us that no, we are not great or things are not so good; he shall perish.
Our politician’s religious leaders exactly do that. They will never say that we have this problem and the reason for it is this. Our religious leaders never acknowledge the social problems we have in our religions. Caste System, multiple marriages, honor killing, child marriages, dowry system, Tripple Talaq all these are religion specific problems. They are true, visible to all, but no single leader will publicly acknowledge the shortcoming of religion he is representing. This is because we love everything beyond being rationale.
What should be done?
We cannot & shouldn’t treat a Politician, religious leader, and intelligentsia equally. The way we burn politicians posters, abuse them, pelt stones, threatens them to show our dissent; we cannot use similar methods for the intelligentsia. First they don’t do things for publicity or for votes and second, they are not habitual to such treatments. They are serious workers who love their work; most of them are work alcoholic and doesn’t like any interference. They need a liberal, free atmosphere to work. They even cannot digest bureaucracy which is deeply rooted in India.
It’s often that state itself works against them. They use their supporters emotions & lack of understanding by masses to suppress intelligentsia voice. A state will need to suppress the voice of its intelligentsia only if it is wrong. If a state is working fine then he will have the appetite to work with them. A state should ensure both safe & freedom of our intellects & also not to burden them with bureaucracy. It must seek their guidance & stay neutral.
It’s not necessary to follow or implement everything they said. We always have the option to choose. But forcing them to limit their work or their voice is not a solution. Intellects dearth will also limit the options for ideas to choose from. We need a marketplace of intellects work, their ideas and views. It’s only then we will be able to visualize what fits best for our society.