Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Intellectual Fascism

This write-up got published in "Thinklet" online journal, issued by Jain University, in the March 2017 Issue.

Research culture in India has come a long way, but it has developed along, in the timeline of growth, the culture of ‘intellectual fascism’. Intellectual fascism is considered an arbitrary belief that people with ‘good’ traits (such as intelligence and creativity) are superior to those who possess the ‘bad’ traits (such as stupidity or lack of artistry). The post-colonial India has adopted several of the methods and governance from its colonial masters, and currently our nation is not just being westernized, but it is being ‘westoxicated’. It was colonizers then, and now the neo-colonizers who have and are imposing the aspect of supremacy. This trait of showing supremacy is deeply embedded in many aspects, and the field of academia too has become a victim of this mentality.

Isn’t ‘improving the human condition’ one of the motives of education?

Research should be the guiding force for a student to pursue the truth. But, research culture is deviating from its main purpose into the ugly shadows of hegemony. Intellectual autonomy which is the ideal of thinking for oneself has become a mask for intellectual fascism. Students are made the knowledge commons, and are made to modify and streamline their thought processes to the way the commercialized education systems require. As students, we are prone to let our mental lives become invaded by legions of half-truths, prejudices and propaganda. And sadly this has surfaced in our research cultures as well.

In order to curb this problem, one must engage in a thorough intellectual inquiry, and seek to be educated and further educate others. Research is but a cultural practice which enables humans to seek knowledge and truth, and this can happen if one pays heed to cultivating good character in the process. Faux-experts must surrender to the intellectual power of the truly wise; charlatanism must find an end and actual purpose of education must spread wide.


Arun said...

Good one but really need time to post comment. As I got lots to say, am I allowed to do so?

Suhasini Srihari said...

Dear Sir, please take your time. You could always leave a comment at your leisure!

Arun said...

Sorry for the delay.
You are right what ever you posted are correct. People accept in private or off the record but don't reason it in public. When I try this with professors they will try avoid this. During my M.Phil when I openly talked about my work kept on pending saying if my work is good then why delay if not appropriate why cant throw it in dust bin I never got any reply and had to pay my time spent as price. In meetings and discussions people raise the issue of quality of research but no one wants to reason it out the reasons or try and pose questions regarding looking for solutions in practical life. I am under the impression that fascism is too strong a word. I heard this word used many times, feel that its a strong word. Enlighten me if I am not correct. I am sure you have a reason to use the word.

Suhasini Srihari said...

Sir, "fascism" is indeed a strong word - but what other term can you use to something that stands an obstacle improving human condition. Education must be for all, knowledge is for all, but why is it politicized? We do have good academicians, but how morally good they are is something to be questioned!

Arun said...

Allow me to take this to another level, education is not the only area which needs the attention as I see the civil society in general with hypocritical attitude needs attention. If you take the research area the universities got lots of rules and some of the universities are autonomous so that they can pursue research and contribute to the society in general but what is happening in practical life. More so as I see now too much of interference and politicisation rather doing harm.

Suhasini Srihari said...

I agree to what you have said, Sir. Education has indeed become 'commercialized', and when there is money involved, there is sure to come its ugly friends - politics and corruption. As long as the pursuit of pure knowledge for knowledge sake is uplifted to improving the condition of the human soul, we could still have some hope left in us to see the betterment in the young minds, of the young souls.

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