Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, November 15th, 2018

Intelligentsia Must Rise to the Occasion

In contemporary situation in Afghanistan, the worth of writers and intellectuals have multiplied manifold. As war and instability have grabbed Afghan society from all sides, the need for peace and tranquility is felt more than ever before. And, such peace and tranquility have to come through the pen-holders and the disseminators of education and knowledge, not through the guns of militants. Definitely, the ruling elite has a tremendous role as well, but the narrative has to be built by the intellectuals or the intelligentsia.
However, the unfortunate fact is that through most part of history, the intellectuals and writers were not given the position and status that they deserved. It can be observed that during the monarchies and aristocratic regimes the poets and writers were given rewards and gifts but they were meant to display the magnificence of the kings and the rulers and to pay for the unwarranted approbation they would receive in the works of those poets and writers, not to pay them what they deserved as the reward for their work on truth and reality.
At the same time, the contemporary society does not put the intellectuals in the position they deserve as well. In the modern technological and scientific world, people do not find any achievement of philosophy and literature, as they are not directly involved in inventions and discoveries. They do not seem to need any poet or philosopher in their routines and daily activities; thus, it is not possible for them to appreciate their significance and their status.
Nevertheless, this sort of thinking is not only business-oriented but at the same time it is logically unfitting. If everything in the society is measured as per their capacity to fulfill the temporary material benefit, the whole system of the society would collapse and the whole world would become nothing else except a market, where people can only sell and buy commodities. Though, the world has almost been turned into a market, there is still some respect for values and ethics, which can be a ray of hope in complete darkness. The most tragic and unfortunate aspect of this sort of thinking is that it does not try to see the actual reasons of the incidents and happenings. The whole society, based on the same sort of thinking, starts accepting the material advancements as miracles and tends to neglect all those pillars on which the building of all these advancements is placed. If the modern technological and scientific era is analyzed, there would be few ideas of some thinkers and few thoughts of certain intellectuals and today’s materialistic advancement is based on the same ideas and thoughts.
It has to be understood that the material advancement itself is not an achievement; rather it is a source to satiate the psychological and spiritual thirst. While, the wisdom and the experience, which are shared through philosophy and literature, are the real achievements – the real creativity of human capacities. And, on the other hand, the attitude of the society towards such wisdom and experience is disappointing.
Our societies really need intellectuals. It is really weird to note that the intellectuals are totally dependent on society and their favors, whereas, the society should depend on them and seek their favors for proper guidance. If there is any relation between the real beauty in nature and the society, it is because of the intellectuals. If there is no intellectual in a society, such a society is really orphan, as far as aesthetic sense and spiritual guidance is concerned.
It is vital that in a society the intellectuals must have the authority to set the standards; only then the society can have balanced development and advancement. The advancement then would not be limited only to the materialistic aspects but would also include the emotional and the aesthetic aspects of life.
Nonetheless, it is also important to ask: “Who are the real intellectuals?” Whether, the ones in our society whose most dominant quality is their ignorance and self-praise are the intellectuals? As a matter of fact, the definition and title of intellectual has become very cheap. Every other person claims to be intellectual, poet or critic. Therefore, poetry and literature have no creditability left within them. They have become a joke though they should be the most reputable part of the culture, which is their true status.
Every profession needs some sort of practice and hard work. Even a beggar has to practice and then he is able to earn money; otherwise, he won’t be able to earn even a penny. However, our poets can be the authors of tens of books and poetry collections without even reading a single book. With such a setting how would it be possible to face the society and ask for status, respect and proper position? It is not debatable that the intellectuals and writers must have the most reputable status in the society; nevertheless, it is significant to ask whether they have really satisfied the requirements of being the real intellectuals and they have made themselves of worthy of such an exalted position.