Month: January 2010

Remembering Howard Zinn (August 24, 1922 – January 27, 2010)

(For publication in Radical Notes) By Saswat Pattanayak “To be neutral is to collaborate with whatever is going on, and I as a teacher do not want to be a collaborator with whatever is happening in the world today.” (Howard Zinn) In the grossly unequal world that we inhabit, it is always tempting to remain apolitical, especially if one is an academician materially benefiting from the status quo system of education. It is only logical to separate classroom instructions from political activisms, since teachers are desired by the system to enhance employability of students within the social framework, not to agitate their conscience to challenge the social order. In a world of established, codified and professional knowledge, it is required on part of historians to promulgate official narrations of national heroes and victorious wars; not overthrow ruling class histories to replace them with versions of the oppressed subjects. Howard Zinn’s aspirations to become a teacher were also founded with similar convictions. But unlike most people in his times, he was fundamentally a radical thinker. When …