Intelligence has been defined in many ways as including one’s penchant for logic, understanding issues, self-awareness, learning level, emotional feelings, planning capacity, ability to solve problems and even creativity. The country hosts an abundant stock of individuals who answer to most of the above-listed characteristics, given the reports in the media covering their speeches on public platforms 365 days a year, in addition to their writings in the form of articles with impressive rhetoric in languages of their respective proficiency, including Kannada. Giving them august company are both seasoned and emerging politicos who appear on the scene not only during their periodic poll campaigns but also on the floor of Legislative Assemblies of States and the Nation’s Parliament, never mind their language rich in expletives used mostly in verbal attacks on their adversaries.
The 12th century social reformer saint Basavanna’s prescription for spoken words to be deemed as pearls is more quoted and cited by public speakers than inducing people to follow that advisory of the saint. Saying something really inappropriate, wrong things at the wrong time and also on wrong platforms, and speaking in accordance with the idiom putting one’s foot in the mouth seems to be the pastime of a large and growing number of intelligentsia in the land, barring rare exceptions.
The British rulers colonising the then sub-continent, now partitioned, have accused of dividing its population on grounds of faiths, ethnicity, regionality, literacy and whatever. The feature of dividing the people only got worse after the land came under self-rule. A great opportunity to rebuild a model nation on the principle drawn from Upanishad, namely “The world is one family” was squandered, a national shame. Identifying oneself as Indian has begun to sound hollow, given the fascination of the small-minded sections in the population saying “One is a relative, the other stranger.” We are all strangers to one another in our times more than during the days of British Raj. The flock of intelligentsia is only stoking the outlook of mutual animosity among the diaspora instead of amalgamating them to be one family.
The administration finds itself up against growing insurgency across the land. The nation’s intelligentsia has the onerous responsibility of avoiding speeches hurting the one family feeling while some well-marked public speakers are displaying their irrepressible passion to make anti-Indian provocative speeches. If their immature conduct is not indigenous insurgency, what else is?