Forging a link, however tenuous, between caste and corruption is akin to saying that the average Indian male has sex on his mind, caste and communalism in his heart and indigestion in his tummy. That was an irreverent response to the sweeping statement made by the “ageing enfant terrible” of Indian sociology, Ashis Nandy, during a discussion at the Jaipur Literary Festival. In reality, the country is united by corruption and no caste, community or region seems immune from the virus.
Is this then nothing but a needless controversy being fanned by a TRP-hungry media? Sure it is. But crucial distinctions need to be stressed here. While academicians, filmmakers, actors and activists, TV anchors and the chatteratti—from Aparna Sen, Nandita Das and Shabana Azmi to Pranab Bardhan, Lawrence Liang and Yogendra Yadav—rallied round Nandy and defended his “right to be wrong”, to articulate unconventional ideas and be “deliberately ironic”, Nandy was also ridiculed for speaking without any empirical study or evidence.