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Essay on “Intellectuals and the Society” Complete Essay for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Intellectuals and the Society


Intellectuals have always been beacon lights in the affairs of societies as they have always led the rational forces against the irrational. Knowledge and enlighten has always been at war with stupidity, prejudice, lust for power and factionalism. The intellectuals are great revolutionaries, dreamers’ and prophets. Simple stability of the society does not fascinate them. Any society, not founded on justice and morality is always a eye sore to them and they want a revolution.

Plato advocated a government by philosopher kings, by intellectuals, whose knowledge of what constitutes the good and the true and of how social and political life can be organized on the basis of justice, entitles them to a position of pre-eminence. He wanted this statesmen to be men of supreme critical intelligencer and unimpeachable integrity because such men alone, in his view, could eliminate through education the darker side of human nature and guide men in the right direction. The “Republic” of Plato has had tremendous influence on the people of all ages, although the modern trends are opposite to his theory of enlightened despotism as people now do have more faith in the widow of the masses as the prevailing educational standards a among them have given them more experience of self government and self rule. But at the same time we know until politics is not directed by the intellectuals either directly or indirectly, violence, creating most unsuitable conditions. The dictum “virtue is knowledge” is equally valid today as it was when Socrates and Plato flourished. Aristotle’s intelligence was more critical than Plato’s. His grasp of things was firmer and more realistic. His “Politics” is still studied with deep i9nterest. It is the work of a man of exceptional intelligence who has pondered deeply over the problems of social life and who knew how through various combinations of intelligence, wealth and public participation into eh administration, political stability could be achieved and good life ensured. Aristotle was regarded, at a time, an infallible guide whose wisdom could be questioned by none. As such, Plato and Aristotle provide supreme examples of what intellectuals can do for society for their own age also for the posterity.

The writings of great intellectuals and thinkers like Voltaire and Rousseau and others were the case of the French Revolution. It was also the outcome of many other factors including food shortage, extravagance of the court, the tyranny of the nobles and their incredible shortsightedness. But the Revolution would never have occurred with the impact of the writings of these revolutionary intellectuals. These philosophers of enlightenment questioned all the major assumptions of the old regime-its faith in god, its faith in the monarchy and its reliance on the traditional laws of France. They were rationalists and skeptics in religion. They were profoundly impressed byte British political institutions and the British passion for freedom. Voltaire brilliantly ridiculed the supernatural aspect of the Christian religion, the obscurities and dullness of the metaphysicians and the antiquated laws and political institutions of France and pleaded for tolerance in religious matters, admired the Entlishsysetm of government and philophy and urged a rational approach to problems. It was however, Rousseau who revolutionized world thought with his doctrine of popular sovereignty and made democracy and nationalism a most dynamic force in politics. The French Revolution with its slogans of liberty, equality and fraternity inaugurated a new era in history. Europe under the influence of these slogans progressively became liberal and the spirit of nationalism began to dominate politics and continued to dominate till old empires disintegrated, nations hitherto split into various states achieved unification and the entire continent became divided into independent nation states. He has changed the shape of the world beyond recognition. The energy latent in his ideas has more explosive power than any other energy.

What Rousseau did for 18th century, so did Marx for the 19th. Marax was the most revolutionary of his age and whose influence is still very great. He started with a bang with his materialistic interpretation of history He believed in the extreme power of the work and the worker, although he could not imagine the power of democratic institutions over the economic forces. Whatever can be said in refutation of his Marxism, but the fact cannot be denied that Marx shaped history and gave it a definite direction. Lenin was another great intellectual who made history by very skillfully exploiting the political situation in Russia and established the first Communist State in the social order of Yugoslavia give the notion and Marxism Leninism means different things to different nations. The basic stress of Marxism is its appeal of equality through socialism of the means of production, exchange and distribution. The democratic socialists do not stress upon the communist thesis of class war, dictatorship of the proletariat and the ultimate withering away of the state, but they are all agreed that political liberty without equality of opportunity is illusory. The intellectuals of the loft have discredited the dreary ideas of private property the profit motive and the free trade and replaced them with ideas of socialist planning, the service motive and public sector economy.

The true intellectuals are always radical in their approach to problems of the society. They keep on examining continuously the foundations of the social system and see whether the structure is built upon efficient and lasting foundations. They are not lured by su8perficial fact s or glamour. The vast material expansion of Britain consequent upon the Industrial Revolution though looked upon by everyone as a sign of progress was not looked upon by the intellectuals of the time as a clear sign of progress. They were not convinced that the nation was going to a right direction inspire of the obvious material progress. Man like Carlyle, Ruskin and Mathew Arnold deplored the deterioration in moral standards, which, they saw was the accompaniment of such material progress. It, they said, was accompanied with the loss of spiritual faith and the adoption of acquisitive values. They had, no doubt, different opinions on what should be down about it, but all of them opposed the capitalistic values laissez-faire policy and the prevailing growing materialistic attitudes. These people have created a new spirit of interrogation among intellectuals and thinkers. The gifted people like H.G. Wells, Barnard Shaw, Bertrand Russell and Aldus Huxley have given new ideas to English people and directed them towards a proper direction of the society. Bertrand Russell has done a great job to discredit war, of any kind and gave an insight to the people to fight for peace, freedom and equality, to end the false irrational beliefs, to bring impartiality and detachment in our ethical and political judgments and to denounce inquisitive values, superstitious, prejudices, hypocrisies, cruelties and parochial localities based on nation, race, community and religion. Their plea is always for sanity, balance and proportion. Their reason is always to reason and no intellectual without faith in reason can be of a great help to society.

A true intellectual does not try to break with the past traditions and doesn’t recommend reforms which bring misery to general masses. Such reforms break the society into parts to suit a new theory. Revolutions provoke reactions accompanied by unprecedented reigns of terror. Every society has its customs and traditions. They embody the wisdom of ages. A sharp break with these customs and traditional at times disrupt the sociaslorder and degenerate into violence. The French and Russian Revolutions were the caused the reigns of terror and violence. Had the changes been brought about in a more orderly manner, the nations would not have suffered the suffering and turmoil. There are thinkers and revolutionaries who do not mind for such suffering of the common man and are bent upon achieving a goal considering these sufferings as negligible but these do have lasting effects on the people at large. Some people, even today, believe that a modern war would solve many problems of the world in spite of its catastrophic consequences. It is to the credit of conscious of the danger of such an impatient break with the past that they have the courage to plead for sanity and restraint with a world bent upon destruction for the sake of reconstruction. An intellectual should discriminate between times when revolutions are needed. It is not enough that an intellectual has a lofty ideal. He has to see if the society is prepared for the change. He has to devise ways and mean to prepare the nation for the change. Violent revolutions generally breed adventurers, dictator and tyrants. The society does not comprise of individuals only but of communities and an intellectual has to be the guardian and protector of the social heritage. He can make a positive contribution to the social good only if he is hones and has no ulterior motives in framing his philosophy. If he involves himself directly in the study of the problems of the society which directly affect it, he can find answers to the persistent questions and find final solutions to them. The world has suffered grievously at the hands of such thinkers who do not cultivate objectivity in their approach to social problems and who allow their own prejudices and preferences to determine their philosophers of life. Such intellectuals of the world have been guilty of most monstrous crimes. The Fascist and Nazi intellectuals advocated war as an instrument of national polity and identified national destiny with imperialism. They justified the use of most brutal methods to crush opposition to their creed and deliberately encouraged myths and falsehood as instrument of propaganda. The theories racial purity and superiority were proved to be devoid of any truth. They justified the extermination of the Jewish race in Germany in the name of preserving the purity of German race. There is nothing true about superiority or inferiority of a particular human race as nothing can be said dogmatically about human nature because man’s responses are determined by his environment his education and culture. The intellectuals, should, in fact, cultivate the virtue of humility instead of becoming dogmatists, instead of claiming to be in sole possession of truth like religious fanatics and justifying persecution of truth like religious fanatics and justifying persecution of those who do not subscribe to their to their theories.

India is fortunate enough to have a long history of tolerance as she has honored men of learning and sages more than men of wealth and military power for thousands of years of her history. The intellectual aristocracy has always occupied the foremost place in our society but the modern times saw lots of upheavals at the hands of people with extremist ideas  and the society had to suffer a lot. Still the country did not lack in men of integrity and tolerance who, by their superior sense of reason, showed us a path of diligence and brought us the much converted independence from the foreign yoke and exploitation of the forces both within and outside the country. The need of such brilliant intellectuals was still greater for the reconstruction of the shattered economy of this country and bringing prosperity and education to the much deprived masses of this country. We were fortunate to have many of them at need but still the negative forces are seen at large who are bend upon taking advantages of the situation for their personal gains and act as wolves in sheep’s clothing. As such the need for genuine intellectuals is strongly felt each day in this country to make true the dreams of our great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawahar Lal Nehru and others to build modern India based on the values of nationalism, secularism, democracy and socialism and the values which would facilitate industrial and technological revolutions and rooting out poverty from the masses of this country. Unfortunately the independent India has had lots of hurdles in the way of her progress and prosperity in the shape of internal serifs and international pulls and pressures. India has fought three wars with her neighbor who is none else but a part of this country which was carved out by the forces who didn’t like the country develop successfully after independence. The sub-continent is currently in need of such intellectuals who would rid both sides of the newly created border of the hatred that has created during these years, taking the toll of numerous innocent lives every year and virtually stopping all development as the authorities keep year and virtually stopping all development as the authorities keep year and virtually stopping all development as the authorities keep year and virtually stopping all development as the authorities to create or counteract strifes between the two countries. Moreover, the country is coming under a strong grip of communal divide, as a result of one reason or the other and exploiting agents bent upon serving their ulterior motives and such a situation is making the country weaker day by day and her image is getting tarnished, as a result. There is also need of such intellectuals who guide our people to build a new culture based on western science and technology and advancement but deeply rooted in our own cultural values and moral standards as total westernization of Indian Society would soon bring it to bring it to a destruction of her old cherished ethical values. Raja Ram Mohan Roy was a profound student of western thought and literature, but he wanted his countrymen to gather the wisdom of both East and West to modernize their outlook, shedding their old superstitions caste and the evils which had crept into our social system


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