On the matter of the recent book and the article in Deccan Chronicle, I shall come to later. I rather hurriedly post this link only to make up for the surprise, shock, disbelief and utter dismay at the disgraceful conduct shown by the Directors of the Sameeksha Trust(EPW) in having capitulated to the “corporate bullying” without any visible sign of resistance vocal or otherwise.They have not only gone on to admit, tacitly that Adani’s and their kind are invincible but also that the so-called leaders of the academia and the intellectual world had better save their books from burning: by implication, their jobs.
(The article which is in the crosshairs for having been brought down or removed is this one.)
But why this extravagant sense of hopelessness and frustration?Personally, Romila Thapar, Andre Beteille, the two Directors,(the former was at JNU and the Latter at Delhi School of Social Work in the mid seventies) part of this now infamous Board were my childhood memories of intellectual sovereignty, of inspiring moral courage and impeccable integrity in the face of naked power, authority, and aggression.I continued adoring them as I have aged to be over sixty years of age, when I used to read their scholarly articles,in various newspapers, magazines both Indian and foreign,Podcasts and Video recordings on the You Tube, well held rational and scientific views on history and its various interpretations, the need for independent research and methodologies, religion, communities on the margins and of regressive nationalism and many such things.Romila Thapar had refused governmental recognition of any kind to avoid being stigmatized as a “Sarkari historian.”And now during their watch, the already fragile fort of defiance has crumbled.As someone said even before the sound of “boo” was even heard.The Editor of Economic and Political Weekly, Mr Paranjoy Guha Thakurta
was literally shown the door for having eye balled the mighty corporate in a manner of speaking.In fact, he was the person who had exposed the systematic penetration into governmental power mechanisms and patronage by the Ambani’s, the collusion of greedy bureaucrats, corrupt politicians, international cartels in the “Gas Wars”, causing mega losses of precious public money ; the publishing of which also had run into serious trouble.
The Board of Directors of Sameeksha Trust, since have gone into a kind of geriatric damage control which is neither convincing nor spirited.But my concern here is what happened to my childhood icons?Are they as feeble as all of us, who went about spreading the message of hope, faith, rights, and justice? or worse still, have those intellectuals now become stale and old to retain even the spunk necessary to shake a hand…Much less to help him/her to rise? I dread to search for cowards anymore.The complicity of the idols is a tragedy.Heroes are once again difficult to come by.
So what of this book now! I have not read it.All that one reads are extended extracts of the review of this book by the editors of Organiser,(the RSS Mouth or foot-speak) given free advertisement by The Deccan Chronicle, in their daily.At least, one gets to read, as of now, about what was Nationalism instead of what it should be.