Vidya Josephs Blog

A real dumbing down

Posted on: ನವೆಂಬರ್ 25, 2008

This is for real and this is here to stay!! Make no mistake folks, the world around us seems to like being dumb. A couple of years ago, when newsies hyped the dumbing down of the Indian middle class, most of us hoped that being dumb for long wouldn’t sit pretty on the educated buourgeosie and that they would bounce back with a vengeance. Unfortunately, this has not happened.

Today, the scene is far, very much far, worse. Last weekend, the Dharwad district administration and the government had organised a three day long district extravaganza – the Dharwad Utsav. The Utsav had everything – from serious discussions on Kannada language, literature, culture and politics to classical music and dance concerts, folk dances, the inevitable Hasyotsava and orchestras – you name it, they had it.

I attended the Utsav, mainly because the organisers had invited my husband for a talk. The other speakers included among others, my favourite K V Narayan.

You can certainly guess the number of people who turned up to listen to the seminar. My husband joked that he had arranged for his ‘audience’ (meaning me and the rest of the family). Though the talks were serious, thought provoking and certainly relevant, nobody seemed too keen.

Just an hour later, we visited the KarnatakCollege campus and lo! the whole place was flooded with thousands and thousands of people. The reason – a Hasyotsava followed by an orchestra.

Now how do we explain this? The middle class’s tale of woes has increased rather than decreased over the past decade. The much touted IT boom has helped just a minute section of this class. Then where are those voices of dissent? Where have all the protests gone?

Maybe the single sheet newsies in mofussil towns do have it right. Maybe people have realised that seminars are just that – discussions which lead to nothing. The scenario will remain just as bleak as it was earlier and maybe now, with governments becoming far more authoritarian, they realise that dissent will also mean the convenient tag – Terrorist/Anti-social/Naxal…

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