Friday, 6 November 2015

Indian Express Interview 31st Oct 2015 - Original Transcript on intolerance issue

The Indian Express:

1.    Do you agree with the sentiment expressed by historians in the statement given below? Do you feel there is an atmosphere of growing intolerance in country.

A: Every sensible civilian would condemn any crime whether it is done to an intellectual or any other. The citizen forums can bring pressures on the Law and Order machinery to take immediate action and book the criminals when such offences  become more frequent. The intellectual section of the population may discuss and suggest ways and means to prevent such crimes being more frequent. Protests against any crime is welcome but not ‘in any form’ one chooses as Prof Irfan Habib decrees (TOI, 31oct). The writers and artists are by nature more sensitive and emotional than others. A few of them might have reacted in a haste instinctively and emotionally. The protests from others that followed are quite deliberate. The work of art receives honours and recognition for its merit but its merit is not dependent on them. The art remains for any longer and through it the artist is remembered. The awardees accepted the awards, felt greatly elevated, have been enjoying the pride by inserting them in their CVs, enjoyed several felicitations on this account and received recognition in the society for years. Now what are they going to surrender? The value of it or the letter of  its communication?  They should realise that each award has an inestimable value which is intangible. So, we earnestly appeal to the artists and writers kindly to retrospect and retain their awards not for anybody’s sake but for their works which gave them recognition in the society. 

But, the protests of Scientists and  Social Scientists who claim to have been trained in the application of  ‘analytical tools’ with ‘rigours’ backed by  ‘scientific temper’ are quite un’professional’ and unwarranted. Let them think coolly, employ their ‘tools’, deliberate on ‘growing intolerance’ and come out with their suggestions to curb or curtail ‘intolerance’ instead of resorting to political strategies. Among all others, historians have a greater role to play in identifying the  causal factors for the ‘growing intolerance’.

2.    Ministers in the central government have called protests by writers and other personalities as "manufactured protests". Do you agree with that? 

A: Any thing produced by human action is known to have been  ‘manufactured’. The Social Scientists are aware that the man is known as ‘maker of tools’ applying which he produces the goods or commodities.  The process of this exercise is generally known as ‘manufacturing’. The signed protest from various scientists and social scientists among whom there are some ‘eminent historians’ drawn from different places of the country did not descend from the Blue as a flash. It was a product of a coordinated human effort backed by a premeditated plan of action, of course ‘rigorously’ pursued. Any doubt?

3.    The statement by historians says, "What the regime seems to want is a kind of legislated history, a manufactured image of the past, glorifying certain aspects of it and denigrating others, without any regard for chronology, sources or methods of enquiry that are the building blocks of the edifice of history." Your response.
A: These historians have been engaged since at least four decades in producing the school text books, reference books for colleges, prescribing syllabi for the universities and all competitive examinations, holding their firm grip on all academic funding bodies and central universities. So far what ever is read or studied at popular level  in the name of Indian history are only the products of this section of historians. Can they name any single work or any research endeavour from ICHR during this short span of one year which could be termed as ‘legislated history’.  The above complaint or condemnation would comfortably apply to the products  of history commissioned by this ‘group of historians’.

4.    Lastly, sir, what is your opinion on the current debate on beef eating? While some quarters have called for a national ban on sale and consumption of beef, others have protested saying that what one eats is a matter of privacy and the state has no right to legislate on that. Your view. 

A: I am surprised every time our so called ‘intellectuals’ raise an issue which fails to satisfy common sense. They stretch the concept individual freedom  too long that the term ‘freedom’ looses its sense. Let them define what is ‘privacy’. Now a day, people are not feeling shy for eating whatever they want in public restaurants. These ‘intellectuals’ shout from roof-tops claiming the civic rights for the convicted ghastly criminals and plead for the rights of those who took to arms against civil government and kill the citizens. One way, they demand that the animals should not be used for entertainment in Circus or films. But they can kill and eat the animals and sell the food products for commercial exploitation. Don’t they know how these animals are skinned and their bones are mechanically separated from flesh while making them stand alive in the so called modern abattoirs. The compassion they plead for wild animals and birds is not observed for killing, packing and exporting the meat for profit. Some animals and birds are reared for food and some for load bearing, agricultural operations and transport. Leaving aside the religious sentiments of the people, man at least for his own selfish needs should allow such animals with their calves to live till they are able to serve him.