Pseudo Intellectuals

I have always wondered why most of the pseudo intellectuals are invariably writers. They are either novelists, dramatists, poets, journalists – someone who can hold a broken pen quite well.

Why not the musicians, painters, athletes, politicians or actors ? Every rule has an exception, I am sure. So, do not try and point that out to me. But, it’s usually the writers who always have two faces.

Why on Earth did Girish Karnad make the statements that he did regarding Cauvery water dispute ? I mean, it was so fresh. I bet he won’t even have had the copy of the tribunal order when he made those statements. And, what about emotions ? For a second, let’s just assume that Cauvery tribunal gave a very fair judgement. Doesn’t Mr. Karnad have any social responsibility ? Doesn’t he know that emotional issues need to be tackled with finesse ?

Recently, University of Mysore Vice-chancellor Shashidhar Prasad made a comment saying that both UR Ananthamurthy and Girish Karnad want to be in the limelight all the time because they are eyeing the Nobel. Well, our VC is no saint, so let’s not delve too much into that. But, I always wonder. Why is it that both URA, and lately Karnad jump in to make all the controversial statements ?

Does it boost their ego ? Does it give them a sense of satisfaction that tons of useless people including me write a thousand lines about them ? I don’t want to talk about URA here. He is a very intelligent man and as far as Cauvery issue is concerned, he hasn’t opened his mouth too much. So, let me concentrate on the other intelligent man.

For one, the discussions about Tippu Sultan on Vijaya Karnataka, several months ago, truly showed us how intelligent Mr. Karnad is. Dr. SL Bhyrappa is undoubtedly one of the most well read and knowledgeable person around. Mr. Karnad cannot match him in any way. Entire Karnataka read through Mr. Karnad’s inadequacies.

We all know how Mr. Girish Karnad won the Jnanpeeth. Did he deserve it ? No sir, absolutely not. There are tons others in Kannada literature who deserved it more than Karnad. It just goes on to prove my point that this man is very political. I dislike the gimmicks.

Trying to argue with a million voices, walking to the left when the entire nation walks to the right, trying to be different – all typical traits of a pseudo intellectual. And, Mr. Girish Karnad is a brilliant example. He probably does not realize that people have started losing all the respect for him.

If Mr. Karnad’s aim is to make sure that tons and tons of people talk about him, then he has truly succeded. I am one more feather in your cap, Mr. Karnad.

Explore posts in the same categories: Kannada, Literature, Media, Politics

19 Comments on “Pseudo Intellectuals”

  1. shiv Says:


    I see this episode as a pure gimmick of gaining cheap publicity.

    First of all. why the media should interview somebody like Karnad on something like Cauvery? Is he an irrigation specialist or someone who knows well the cauvery dispute for years?

    Ok..lets assume that media has no play.

    It is true that everybody has rights to express their own views.But it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have to weigh your words before you speak,especially on an emotional issue.

    Or is it that media which quoted it wrongly ?!!

    So we didn’t know dat there is nobel prize for staying in news for wrong reasons [:)]

  2. Vijay Says:

    DS: Not too much of an expert on these issues… However, for instance, I do get annoyed that a lot of them are more focussed on changing the names of cities rather than broaching more pertinent issues (I guess you know who I am talking about).

    I tend to agree with Shiv above.. why was Karnad asked the question anyway?

  3. @ DS

    Shiv hit the nail on the head. I don’t understand why the media has to go to these people and interview them about Cauvery or whatever. Who are they? Ask them about books, literature, theater…whatever, but policy questions?

    URA might be an intelligent man, but how do you justify this reason for the Bangalore name change (sorry, but I have a big axe to grind):

    A name change would serve to awaken the consciousness of people to the existing inequality

    That is just genius…ain’t it?

  4. tarlesubba Says:


    To understand this you have to notice that the intellectualism draws life and sustenance from a peer review system that forms the basis of the modern day university system in which 99% of these intellectuals find their ferment – in Bhyrappa’s words raajashraya. In this system, approval and acceptance of the peer group in perpetuating a thesis has a LOT of currency. In such a system, theses need not subscribe to any tests of empiricism, reality, nija, satya etc. especially in social sciences as long as these theses are peer approved, they get the necessary circulation, which ensures recognition, fame, awards etc., which in turn form a basis to ease future grants, granting of which is in turn, controlled by intellectual ‘worthies’ who have their correlating pet theses. Of course, being a recipient of grants and awards has a retrospective effect on previous works, which suddenly find more circulation – a truly incestuous circle if there was any.

    This malaise is present even in the empirical sciences and engineering fields, maybe to a lesser and definitely less visible and sustainable degree. (One would imagine that a dry subject like stochastic analysis of design optimization problems would be driven by pure empirical considerations, no, sir, it isn’t.)

    On the other hand, in the engineering sciences, these shenanigans do not have too much shelf life as sooner rather than later industry and its economics break down these theses.

    However, string theory is much harder nut to crack and so are the social sciences. Who is to break the benevolent Aurangajeb or Tippu in an environment and system where entire university departments, central/state grants, not to mention progenies of these in the media derive mutual sustenance and acceptance in perpetuating the myth of the benevolent Aurangajeb?

    Here is an idea for a blog, is Indian history writing actually a continuation of the tradition of the Puranas? Are these the modern day daassayyas spreading the good word of the Aurangajeb Purana?

    What really gets my goat is the implied condensation in this orgy of obfuscation — the unwashed masses cannot handle the truth. Ofcourse, it brooks no highlighting that the Puranas are prolly more balanced than these sanitized histories we are subjected to. I mean, you know the kannada lesson where we lustily cheered for Duryodhana on vyshampayana. Is the modern system fertile enough to allow us to allow that?

    So where does Karnad’s current encounter with real world come into play in this rant? Well this is an intellectual circle with grand civilization theories and a certain distaste for things as they exist and a blinding romantic view of things as they ought to exist. Had the reporter, been persistent enough to ask about the basis of Karnad’s assertion, you would have heard of words like shrill sub nationalism, fascism, hindutva – catch phrases with lot of currency in the fashionable campuses and the editorial desks not to mention IT campuses. (Apparently, MMS found it more pertinent to ask HDK about the impact of the bandh on IT than to inquire about the impact on KA due to the tribunal’s award.)


  5. tarlesubba Says:

    pardon me for the pedantic pravachana, but you know how it would have gone down at the katte. use your vivid imagination.

    btw, it might be useful to get ku,sa,pr,cp,ki,ma on to your site. udupa has some net presence, but I have to dig him up.


  6. Veena Says:

    what happened suddenly ? Miracle is that you are back to your normal sense.. 🙂

    I just got reminded about that Kamala hampana article which you wrote earlier..
    Neverthless to say, intellects need to be little consious before even speaking to media & GK was little careless may be..

    I admire him for his capabilities, his knoweldge on many aspects forms him a good learned man, have watched couple of his movies & his plays.. Met him in Ranga shankara when I went their to watch ODakalu bimba…

    I am no person to discuss about whether he was worth considering for GnanapeeTh, I am happy that kananda got it.. I think SLB would surely get it, may be people take some more time to realise it.. or people like you need to put some pressure like ‘this blog post’ 🙂

    Even Girish shared the same idea about SLB on mukta balaga site!! More here,

  7. mouna Says:

    all artistes should be on par with each other. journalists, poets, painters…. are learned people, but i don’t know why, but they are held at different postitions, even though they weigh equally. the media is reduced to nothing these days.

    veena is right, kannada got the jnanpeeth, than ‘a’ person winning the award.

  8. Srik Says:

    I agree about that Karnad and Bhairappa issue.

    I avidly folloed the whole episode on Vijayakarnataka. And at the end of it all, I concluded that I will stay with SLB and continue to believe our history has been mangled too much by people like Karnad, after reading whom we tend to assume and adopt to the miss-interpretted history.

    Well narrated, but you come to conclusions too soon. However, it is a tussle between two learned people. My job is only to be enjoying the same, that I did 🙂

    About Kaveri issue, Karnad opened his mouth only because Rajdeep called him to ask his reaction about it!! Why did Rajdeep chose Karnad of all the people, its because karnad is among the only few Kannadiga faces that the commie minded Indian-English media recognises.
    Karnad sir must have thought that commenting must be as easy as writing a drama(to him it is easy, not to me though.) and did no home work before uttering those words which turned out to be “Anti-Kannadiga” whom he was representing in a national medium.
    It proved that he does what he did without any proper planning, homework or research. He does his mind. It had happened in Tippu issue on VK aswell. He had carelessly commented on the points raised by Dr.SLB..
    Its a shame that we still continue to listen to people like Karnad who are heavily talented at birth and didnt try to build anything upon it personally.

    Please dont compare the two idols, aka GK and SLB here 🙂

  9. Veena Says:

    Srik, I didn’t expect you to be so strong.. awfully at the end.. the smilie doesn’t cover it off.. ! Well, its your way..!

  10. mukthabalaga Says:

    I respect GK as a legendary literati. I have enjoyed reading his plays like Yayathi and Nagamandala. I want to watch/read Thughlukh, but couldnt get hold of it yet. He has done a great job and probably deserves the Gnanpeeth award that came his way.

    At the same time, I dont like a person mangling with the truth, and projecting something as extraordinary, which needs condemnation. I basically refer to the points of SLB which came out during the Tippu tussle on VK recently.

    You know what…I lost respect to the human being Karnad when he said “Bhairappanavara style of writing nanage Asahya tarisuttade”!!!! Can someone be so degenerated in his thoughts? At least not someone who calls himself a Buddhi jeevi 😦

    My smilie doesnt cover it, is it? I didnt intend to cover it though.

  11. mukthabalaga Says:

    OOps last comment was by me SRIK

  12. Veena Says:

    Srik, Tippu sultan episode bagge nanage astondu details gottilla.. Media have capabilities to represent people in a different way & you can’t change your views so fast based on such comments. I don’t want to defend from GH’s view too..

    The only point that I want to wonder is, the respect you had for such long years .. how can one such thing affect it so badly ? hmm.. I don’t have any odd views for SLB & his writing(I haven’t read any, I tried parva but couldn’t digest his first adhyaaya itself).. still if you don’t respect their write ups or their literature you can disregard the personalities in themself… I atleast think you are too small to speak about them.. since I know you personally, I have taken a step a little more than needed …
    This comment is specially for your SRIK!!

  13. Veena Says:

    oh.. I mis typed a line in my above comment, it should read as ‘you can’t disregard the personalities in themself’

    There are things which you may think right but other person would love to hate it.. So there is no standard to make that everybody need to support with the same degree ! whether plus or minus.. you know that we ourselves differ at so many places…!
    I haven’t watched my words since I am speaking just on you.. hope you don’t mind..

    Please write to DS, if you think this comment needs moderation!! & I am sure DS would help us to edit/delete the comment…

  14. Srik Says:

    To tell you the truth, in Tippu Sultan issue, media was not involved as usually the case is. Media, in fact VK, was providing a platform and these intellectuals were doing the rest themselves. When our beloved education minister triggered it with a press statement, some people agreed, some disagreed. GK made a big comment saying that the Govt is trying to divide people on the communal lines. I didnt understand how!!

    Well.. It was all not over there. SLB wrote a big essay on his interest in history and his findings in it about Tippu. He respectfully mentioned in the article about GK’s dramas “Tippusulthanana KanasugaLu” and “Tughlukh”. He stated that writers would have a moral responsibility when choosing characters from history to present only the truth, may sensationalise it or not, depends on the author, but in any case, author should not mangle with the core truth.

    For these statements people responded. some with high voice against GK’s atrocious way of mangling with the truth. I was still thinking as a writer, he might enjoy his freedom of choosing the characters and portraying them as he wanted. But I had a simple question. If a character from history is chosen for a literary work that needed a full character make-over of the person being portrayed, cant he be given a different name and add somewhere :Inspired by so and so in history:??

    Well.. I waited for GK’s response. He wrote a detailed essay himself which exposed his commie mindframe. He declared that he need not worry as he is not a historian and he neednt dig into the facts about a person.
    As a most respected social being, one doesnt have any such responsibility of telling the truth?

    He continued and stated that “Bhairappanavara philosophy nanage asahya huttisuthave”!! This shows how much he regards other people’s views. Cant u base your derivation about a person from these statements? One who doesnt want to take responsibility for his misdeeds and one who doesnt want to face a battle with good heart, one who doesnt respect other’s views in a democratic way…I dont have to be respectful towards that fellow. Am I not right?
    These harsh words from human being GK are atrocious. In the past he has bagged 100s of awards for films he made based on same SLB’s works like “Thabbaliyu neenade magane” and “Vamshavruksha”!!! Was that so dear to him then?? WHen will our Buddi jeevis come to terms and accept that they are human too? How would they come out so strongly in a different world that is not theirs….?

    I have not any respect left for “the person” GK after these incidences and even the latest tug of war over water.

  15. Srik Says:

    You are called teacher for all these things. I dont want your or anyone;s comments moderated for that matter. I respect your views as I have for mine. That lill amount of respect is missing in these pseudo intellectuals is what my concern all about. I dont doubt one’s capabalities. Thats why I said I cant decide whether GK deserved a Gyanpeeth or SLB must be conferred Gyanpeeth. I am happy that this discussion is going smoothly and we dont need to change our minds at any cost after all these things if we are not convinced!!!

    🙂 Smilie is for you to smile a bit 🙂

  16. decemberstud Says:

    @ Shiv :

    I completely agree that media has a big role to play. Rajdeep Sardesai is one of the worst things to happen to Indian media, no two words about it. But, GK’s comments are still unpardonable and this is not an isolated incident.

    @ Vijay :

    I do agree with you. But honestly, I didn’t see a big deal in URA chamioning the name change. I really didn’t think it was all that big deal.

    @ OI :

    Come over here boss. You will see today’s Indian media and it is nothing like yesterday. Kannada news headlines includes such names as Shivarajkumar and Upendra and English news is constantly updating us with the Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai news. This is really disturbing.

    You dislike URA, yet you refer to Madras as Chennai in your posts 😉 Don’t worry, this name change will stick too, it shouldn’t be all that hard….LOL

    @ Tarlesubba :

    OK, I guess I never told you that I thought you were more intelligent than I am. LOL…I guess that’s because I didn’t believe that for a long time (and I bet you didn’t either) 😉 The time has come. I salute you sir. That was one heck of a comment.

    You are so right that the problem is pervasive in every walk of life I will not discount that. It’s just the more famous writers like GK who bring it to the top of the pot, so that the rest of the world can enjoy.

    And no, I have absolutely no intentions of inviting anyone from ‘kaTTe’ to this blog. If they happen to come in accidentally, let them. Else, both you and I know what the state of this blog would be 🙂

    @ Veena :

    I realized that it’s time I start getting back to the groove, for the good of everyone 🙂

    @ Mouna :

    No, it is not just Kannada winning the award. It is very much ‘a’ person winning it. It is easier for us to look at it from the angle which you put in. But, that’s not true. It was given to Girish karnad for his work in literature., not for a dramatist in Kannada.

    @ Srik :

    You think I come to conclusions too soon, huh ? LOL…but give me the benefit, I change opinions fast enough 😉

    I completley agree with you on GK vs SLB arguments in VK. Now, the whole state knows what their positions are. Each of us who read the series of articles can decipher who is the smarter one. For those who haven’t read them, SLB was a clear winner (As if we hadn’t predicted already)….ooops, sorry I compared them again 🙂

  17. @ DS

    Really disturbing …eh? And here I am being bombarded with Anna Nicole Smith day in and day out. Larry King, for someone who is 70-80 plus, still seems weirdly obsessed with Anna Nicole. Can’t understand it. There are tons and tons of 1 hour shows on FAUX, CNN, MSNBC etc etc all dedicated to the same lady who married someone 66 years her senior.

    And you’re telling me about Abhishek and Ash. I’d rather take that. Believe me. Lesser of two evils, I’d say.

    Anyways, I’ve heard that it has changed. The media. Coverage of ridiculous issues and the like. I’ve heard and its sad. Aaj-Tak started it, I guess.

    Coming back to Bangalore (well, Bengalooru for you and me too after a while- I know):

    I really haven’t been able to get my point across. Changing Madras to Chennai was wrong. Changing Bombay to Mumbai was wrong. Just because they have been changed doesn’t mean that changing Bangalore’s name is right. And I know it will stick. I don’t have any qualms calling any city by any name. But why? That is my objection. Why change the name. If the name was offensive to some people or culture or religion or any other seemingly intelligent reason, I’d never object. But when you tell me that changing the name will change the existing inequality – and try to take me and everyone else for a fool, I won’t accept that. That is my objection. And yes, I do use Chennai and even Mumbai and in within 5 years might end up using Bengalooru too. But that is besides the point.

    Try and justify URA’s statement to me, if you can. If you can, take my bow.

  18. Veena Says:

    Srik, you know that I can’t read long posts & comment.. well, I know your way of convincing..! Keep it up & thanks for those kind words…
    VT nalli inta news nella naanu modle odalla, adaralli nimma interpretations ella naanu odi tale kedskollokke aagalla. Sorry to sound so selfish…

    Ultimately DS is back with the momentum, thats the good thing 🙂

  19. dinesh Says:

    Hail GK, he has the guts to talk openly when others are caught unawre by the judgement. This is the right spirit.Tolerance is at its level best in Karnataka

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