The dictionary defines intellectualism as “the exercise of intellect at the expense of emotions”. In short, it is the use of reason over sentiment.
But given the current political and social climate, it is safe to say that proper use of reason over sentimentality is fast disappearing. There are in fact “flat earth” societies and criminals who seek refuge in religion. Intolerance is also a long standing issue that seems to be spurred on instead of being nipped at the bud.
What’s sadder is that any questioning of the same is discouraged, even in educational institutions. The call to oppose this is the need of the hour.
And this is what motivated a sit-in demonstration of Cotton students infront of Cotton University today. A section of the Cottonians expressed their deep concern about the effort by the various forces to destroy democratic values and the tradition of free thinking. Holding up placards saying, “Stop attacks on intellectuals”, “Give us quality education, not Deendayal” instead of harassing people with unnecessary sloganeering, the young students led by Niruj Kumar Deka, Saurav Saikia, Abhilash Rajkhowa and Siddhartha Dutta showed remarkable sensitivity to the issues plaguing the liberty of speech and thought.
In their own words, they are opposing-
“Speculations of hatred between various communities are growing. Public sector schools, colleges are in path of degradation. Along these, the government has been propagating old myths as historical facts rather than bringing up a scientific environment in educational institutions as well as among the common people.”
This is one of the first such peaceful demonstrations entirely initiated by students. As they truly say-
What Cottonians think today, Assam thinks tomorrow.