Daily Archives: September 19, 2009

Demise of the bilingual intellectual!

One of the exciting things about Diwali, the festival of lights, in my homestate was reading the special issues brought out by variety of publishing houses. These special issues are called “Diwali Anka”. However, oflate we have found that the wirteups seemed to be loosing steam with every Diwali. So much so that last Diwali we did not get the special issues at all!

Same is the story with marathi news papers. In the race to appear as flashy and colorful as possible, most of these papers have lost substance. They pander to the smug middle class sensibility which is typically non confrontational and prefers status quo over almost all important issues. Unfortunately they form the major chunk of the market and running a newspaper is more of economics than promoting debate and intellectual stimulation.

The newspapers in English, on the other hand, have done quite well in terms of having a balanced mix of entertainment and substance. I always wondered why is this so. Fortunately, Ramchandra Guha provides an interesting answer in this very well written article in a recent issue of the Economic and Political weekly.

He very aptly points out the decline of the bilingual intellectual from the Indian social scene and suggests that as a reason for the deterioration of intellectual discourse in the regional languages in India.

I completely agree with his assessment. Let me know what you think!

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