Friday, April 17, 2009


An intellectual is a person who relies on intellect rather than on emotion or feelings. His faculty of thinking is of a very high order. He seeks knowledge of a high order in his field. He is a rational to the hilt. He presents new ideas. Verily he represents the brain of society.

Socrates, a Greek philosopher, preached the principle that knowledge is also power. Plato, another Greek philosopher, gave his people the idea of philosopher king’s rule. He favoured a government run by intellectuals and specialists.

Great intellectuals have worked for the welfare of the people. In India, we have the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House, comprising intellectuals representing different walks of life. Their expertise is made use of. Members of the Rajya Sabha deliberate with a view to prodding the government to take welfare measures for the welfare of the people. They give liberally of their time and would not brook any injustice.

Their sacrifice is tremendous. For instance, Socrates had to drink hemlock. Jesus Christ was crucified. Karl Marx, who wrote Das Kapital suffered hardships. Swami Dayanand was poisoned. Mahatama Gandhi was shot by a fanatic.

Karl Marx, died in squalor, but he gave new hope to the neglected working class. Jesus Christ who gave a message of love and compassion to mankind became immortal when he was crucified. Gandhi gave his life preaching non-violence, truth, service and brotherhood. Intellectuals have a humanizing role in society.

Intellectuals, by and large, live for others. Lenin devoted his life for the upliftment of the working class. In India, Gandhi preached truth and non-violence as a way of life. He wrested power from the British through satyagraha a novel peaceful technique. Gandhi became a martyr like Socrates and Jesus Christ.

By their revolutionary ideas, intellectuals were able to bring about vast changes in the state and society. The ideas evolved and propounded by Gautam Buddha, Adi Shandaracharya, Nanak, Dayanand, Ramakrishna Paramhans, Vivekananda and others have had profound affect on the life of Indians. Their teachings hold good to this day. Today there is so much stress and strain around the life and teachings of these intellectuals give us peace and show us the way. We learn the art of living.

India, now needs most the intellectuals in different professions. Communalism is raising its head. Regionalism is dividing the people on linguistic lines. Anti-national and separatist forces are surfacing. Terrorism sponsored by a neighbor is on the increase.

Social evils remain. Corruption is found here and there. The country stands at the cross roads to follow the same path as in the past or to follow a new path leading the country to lasting peace, progress and prosperity. In the latter case, intellectuals have a great role to play.

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