Response to Cynthia Ozick’s
Ozick made a very astute observation that E.M.Forster, a writer and an artist, was trying to drive home a point about the British rule of India, thus making himself a public intellectual. Forster’s book “Passage to India”, written in the guise of fiction exposed the evil done by the colonialism of powerful nations over the powerless countries of the world for the monetary enrichment of the former. Today Forster would be considered to be a “public intellectual” for his contribution to the awareness of a present evil in the face of a dominating tyrant towards a helpless population.
Public intellectuals, according to Cynthia Ozick, who stated;
Public intellectuals know that history is where we swim, that we are in it, that we can’t see over or around it, that it is our ineluctable task to grapple with it; and that we may not murmur, with Forster, Look: the past came through, and so will we. Thinkers after all, do not simply respond to existing conditions…. (123).
While one may not currently be considered a ‘public intellectual’ one’s participation in joining in lively argument concerning a topic one is interested in, one becomes a better citizen.