26 January, 2021

A Shield For 545 Sticks

The cartoon row shows our MPs lusting after a blanket protection

Illustration by Sorit
A Shield For 545 Sticks

Recent demands from the “unified Indian political class” about expunging cartoons from NCERT texts, and its attack on the Indian intellectual class as being irresponsible, for including political cartoons in school textbooks, ironically enough bring back to memory aspects of a similar attack on leading Indian intellectuals and academics nearly a decade ago. While the issues were clearly defined around a ‘communal versus secular’ agenda in the earlier round, this time a single issue—inclusion of a political cartoon in the civics textbook by the late Shankar—has been the object of criticism from parliamentarians across party lines. But what I see as very similar and alarming for the prospects of an ‘open society’ is the display of crass political opportunism to ‘indoctrinate’ young minds using NCERT texts as sarkari farman, and, more damagingly, to portray the country’s intellectual class as shorn of caste and social sensitivity.

If anything, it were these very intellectuals...



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