An eye opening article on Intolerance by B. Jeyamohan

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An Eye opening article by B. Jeyamohan who is one of the most influential contemporary, Tamil and Malayalamc writer and literary critic from Nagercoil.

This is the translation of his article: 


I learnt the meaning of “Power” when I visited Delhi in 1994 to receive my Sanskriti Samman award and stayed for two days in India International Centre. I did have some familiarities with Information and culture ministries. However, IIC is the place where “Power” is served on a gold plate. 

IIC is located in a peaceful and luxurious bungalow with lawns, high class food and drinks, quietly moving waiters, the butter English spoken without the upper lip moving, lipsticked women gracefully adjusting their hair, the elegant welcome given to the inner circle members with signs and hugs without making any noise! 

I have stayed in many star hotels later. But I have never seen anywhere the luxury and comfort of IIC. 

IIC was established and funded by the Indian government as an independent body to promote arts and free thinking. If my memory serves me right, Dr. Karan Singh was also its head. I saw him in that evening. 

I saw every intellectual that I had known through my reading of English language magazines. U R Ananthamurthy was staying there for almost four years almost as a permanent fixture. Girish Karnad was staying for a few days. Writers, journalists and thinkers such as Pritish Nandi, Makarant Parajpe, Shobha De were seen everywhere in the Centre. 

It was true that I was overwhelmed that day. Arunmozhi (my wife) ran to Girish Karnad on spotting him and was thrilled to introduce herself to him. I was told that Nayantara Sehgal used to come there on daily basis to have a drink. I saw her that day too. I realized that the two other individuals who were given the award along with me, Rajdeep Sardesai and Anamika Haksar were regulars there. 

They wear rough Kolkata kurtas and Kolhapuri chappals. Wear small glasses. Women in pure white hair and khadi saris. One of them, they said, was Kapila Vatsyayan. They said, Pupul Jayakar will also come. Wherever you turn, there were literary talks and art discussions. 

That pomp kind of unnerved me. The ultra high intellectualism seen there somewhat alienated me. Venkat Swaminathan, who saw me the next day, immediately recognised my sense of discomfort. He said, “Hey, three fourth of this crowd is just a perfect horde of crows (the Tamil equivalent of psychophants). The snobs that make their living are draw their power by licking the boots of power centres. Most of them are mere power brokers. At best you may find one or two artists who you will really respect. And they can’t bear this atmosphere for too long and will just run away. 

But these are the people who decide what is culture for this country. They can talk about every thing in the world for one hour in colourful English with the right number of jargons. But on the 61st minute, the colour will start fading. Actually they don’t know any thing in the real sense. Almost all are like the little boxes we find in attics which held hing a long time back”, said Venkat Swaminathan. 

Everyone will have four or five trusts in the name of Service Organizations or Cultural Organizations. They will be flying from one conference to the other. Once given accommodation in a government bungalow, they can never be removed from there. In Delhi alone this crowd has illegally occupied about 5,000 bungalows. There is another Power Centre similar to this in Delhi which is called the JNU. It is the same story there too. 

Can’t the government get rid of them?”, I asked. He said, “normally governments do not think in that line. Because this crowd has stuck itself from the time of Nehru. They support each other. Even if some IAS officials try, they will fall at the right feet and escape”. 

“There is one more thing added to it” said Venkat Swaminathan. “Not only were these people just parasites, they also derive great power by showing themselves as progressive leftists. Did you notice it?”. I said “Yes” with an amazement. 

They are known throughout the world through the numerous seminars they attend. They are highly networked. Journalists around the world seek their opinion on whatever happens in India. They are the people who gave a leftist mask to the Congress Government. If you look at it that way, the amount spent on them is quite low”, he said. They are the trolls sitting on the head of India and nobody can do anything to them. They decide what is art or culture or thought of India. 

I have often been to IIC with my Malayalam journalist friends. For them, this is the place to pick rumours and convert them in to news. They know there are no secrets as the day wears out and the spirits rise higher and higher in the head. 

But I can only pity those people who engage in to political debates based on the supposedly rare gems of wisdoms dished out by these “intellectuals” through the middle pages of English newspapers. These intellectuals never actually know the real politics. They just shout on the basis of the superfluous knowledge and stand points, with the prime space enable by the network. That’s all. 

Long time back when I wrote about this Circle, I had mentioned that Barkha Dutt is none but a power broker, my own friends fought with me for degrading a “progressive fighter”. Fortunately for me, within a few days, the brokering she did with Tata leaked out through the Nira Radia tapes. (Incidentally, what happened to that case, does any body know?). But even those stark revelations could not bring down Barkha Dutt from her exalted pedestal even for a month. That is the kind of power they have. 

But now, for the first time in the history of independent India someone has dared to touch this power circle. Warnings were circulated at the lower level for the last about 6 months. Last week the Culture Ministry decided to send a notice to them. This, perhaps, is the reason for these intellectuals to suddenly flare up against “intolerance”. 

For example, painter Jatin Das, father of actress Nandita Das is occupying a large government bungalow at one of the premium locations in Delhi free of cost for many years. Government has sent an eviction notice to him. This is the real reason for Nandita Das strongly speaking about intolerance in television channels and writing in English newspapers (all diligently carried by the network). 

Even for a man as strong Modi, I think he has touched a wrong nerve. These elements are too powerful. They can destroy India through the media worldwide. They can create a picture that rivers of blood are flowing in India. They can make businessmen around the world to halt. They can wreck the tourism industry. The truth is there is no other power centre like this in India. Tolerating them is unavoidable for India. And Modi’s intolerance of them is extremely dangerous – not only for him but for the country itself. ”

Originally published here >


  1. MangoManav says:

    Well written sir and thanks for showing the real face our intellects and confirming it again.

  2. Nisarga Ramanan says:

    Amazing stuff. Only a Jeyamohan could have written this!

    1. admin says:

      Thanks for your comment!

      1. admin says:

        Thanks for your comment!

  3. Manish says:

    Beautifully written Sir. But in the end you have warned not to touch this strong lobby. So are you trying to bat for this unpatriotic lobby? That no one should dare them.

  4. varun reddy says:

    Good article.Simple and effective.

  5. a k patra says:

    Seems more dangerous than ISI.This IIC should immediately be disinfeted

  6. santosh says:

    I felt the same that this whole award wapasi is reaction to modi’s attempt to equalize nation’s democratic system. Very well written Sir . salute !

  7. Virendra says:

    Eye opener article for many, a gang/ Mafia of pseudo seculars, intellects breeding for years

  8. Subhash says:

    This is nothing but a high level corruption. Congratulations Govt bribing so called intellectuals by spending public money. In turn these beneficiaries “tweet” the way their donors want. This IIC must be scrapped and names of beneficiaries should be published.

  9. Subhash says:

    Pl read “Congress Govt” instead of “congratulations “

  10. BSN Rau says:

    They may be powerful in creating such images; however, every powerful nation has their own media persons reporting for them from the ground. Therefore, the realities will be known to them. The activities at the consulate level for these powerful nations are the conduits of information. Yes, there will be some impact initially, but in the larger picture and in the longer term, IF Modi remains, he will have the upper hand. No doubt. In the context of these powerful “intellectuals” it is now too conspicuous for all, that the award wapsi was definitely an agenda based action by their silence on so many other issues. They may have shown their cards too soon as they have now established a precedent. Common sense dictates by trying to destroy the image of the nation, they will be in effect destroying themselves. Having said that, Delhi has always been a “power centre” for any and all kinds of matters for all self serving individuals of various cadres.Today’s level of literacy and education is far higher than what was 20 years ago; the youth are a very well informed and to a large extent quite open minded and have a very big say in most matters and have the required inquiring mindset; they would not be easily swayed by such views. In the face of challenges they have shown immense ability to unify, case in point being the recent havoc in TN and AP which unified all irrespective of caste creed religion faith beliefs what not. Therefore, for me personally, irrespective of how much weight my views carry, I would rather take it with more scepticism than as the grass root truth.

  11. Rama says:

    This is the ugly Power centre ..pseudo snobbish and arrogant .Sitting in the capital they act like Lord’s and believe they own India..

  12. Sashibhusan Mishra says:

    Nice article. We the common people were not aware of the intricacy of the situation. This self-appreciating group was hovering around dynastic power center tarting from Nehru. This should be brought ti the notice of P M Modi

  13. Manoj says:

    Wow.. what a neat write up but nothing will reach the MSM as you said as they run the show, But a person like MODI might come for INDIA once in 500 years but they would be mowed down by the people like you have mentioned in the earlier stages as he/she would be totally against such intellectuals

    But the hate for MODI for this intellectuals is that none of their brigade could bring him down and finally he has reached the top and is now going to attack their main hub so is the rant of intolerance

    Its been brilliantly put out by you and your writing style add one more fan to you big list and here i join now happily

  14. HP says:

    If one is able to see through the way the business of ‘news’ works under these glib, polished, but hollow and shallow people, no one in his right mind would like to watch their contemptible dramas. The tragedy of this country is that since almost every single TV news channel is of similar low quality, the viewers have to settle with the rotten fare dished out to them if they want the latest Indian news content. For other news, excellent options are available. It’s shameful for this country of 125 crores that we’re unable to have anything like the quality of BBC, CNN, or even Al Jazeera! It’s time the present government evolved a policy to make all news channels behave in a professional manner rather than like irresponsible drunkards in a club. After all, it’s the right of the people to have access to impartial, objective, and factually correct information as news rather than the BS presently served up by these third rate mercenaries selling their souls on the bidding of their rich masters.

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