Most of the Corrupt From SC/STs, OBCs: Ashis Nandy

The celebrated sociologist stirs up a controversy at JLF with his remarks on corruption and Dalit, leading to an FIR and calls for his arrest
Jaipur/New Delhi
Most of the Corrupt From SC/STs, OBCs: Ashis Nandy
Most of the Corrupt From SC/STs, OBCs: Ashis Nandy
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+0553
Noted author Ashis Nandy today stoked a major row with his comments that people belonging to OBC, SC and ST communities were the "most corrupt", remarks that came under all round attack.

"It is a fact that most of the corrupt come from OBCs and Scheduled Castes and now increasingly the Scheduled Tribes," he said participating in a session at the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival.

Going further, he said, "I will give an example. One of the states with the least amount of corruption is [the] state of West Bengal when the CPI(M) was there. And I must draw attention to the fact that in the last 100 years, nobody from OBC, SC and ST has come anywhere near to power [in that state]. It is an absolutely clean state."

He was immediately challenged by one of the panelists -- Ashutosh, a TV journalist.

"This is the most bizarre statement I have heard. The Brahmins and the upper caste can do away with all the corruption but when a low caste person emulates the same thing it becomes so wrong. Such a statement is not right," Ashutosh pointed out.

Nandy's comments triggered a storm with BSP chief Mayawati and LJP leader Ram Vilas demanding registration of case under SC/ST Act against Nandy. Mayawati wanted him to be jailed immediately. Congress, BJP, JD(U), CPI as also the SC Commission Chairman P L Punia also condemned the remarks.

Flip-Flop

While seeking to clarify, Nandy made a flip flop saying he would apologise if he had been misunderstood.

However, when questioned further, he said "I don't apologise at all because I hold it very close to my heart. I was, in fact, supporting the cause of those who are marginalised and those who are in minority and those who are oppressed. I have spent all my life supporting their causes and will continue doing it."

He said he actually meant that if people from OBC, SC and ST indulge in corruption, it is "corruption indeed" while those from upper castes can go scot-free.

"This is not what I meant or what I wanted to say. This was what I actually said: I endorsed the statement of Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal that corruption in India is an equaliser in our society. I do believe that zero corruption society in India, as I gave the example of Singapore, will be a despotic society," Nandy said in his clarification statement.

He maintained that he has spoken in favour of the down-trodden in the session on ‘Republic of Ideas’ at the Jaipur Literature Festival.

"I said in the talk that people like Richard Sorabji and I, if we want to be corrupt we can be corrupt in a very subtle way. No money has to exchange hands. I can give his son a fellowship or he can give my daughter a fellowship at Oxford or Harvard. And that will be good enough return and nobody will call it corruption"

"But when Dalits, tribals and OBC are corrupt, it looks very corrupt indeed. However this second corruption equlalises," he said, adding "It gives them access to entitlements. And as long as this equation persists, I have hope for the republic (of India)."

He said he was sorry "if some have misunderstood (his comments). I am sorry if anyone is genuinely hurt because of misunderstanding."

However, he didn’t apologise for his statement, saying he has supported the downtrodden communities all his life. "I don’t apologise at all because I was actually supporting the cause of minorities and oppressed people. I have supported them all my life."

As should be clear from my statement, there was neither any intention nor any attempt to hurt any community, he said.


SHORT TAKES
28 Jan 2013, 01:56:16 AM | Buzz

Yogendra Yadav in the Indian Express: Call it censorship, not social justice

The real tragedy is not that one of our finest scholars is caught in a case of mistaken identity of an argument. The real tragedy is that the leaders and friends of the Dalit-bahujan movement find it difficult to distinguish between their friends and foes, between what works for and what works against them. This, Nandy would say, is the real curse of social marginality.

26 Jan 2013, 11:02:53 PM | Buzz
26 Jan 2013, 11:00:01 PM | Buzz

26 Jan 2013, 10:56:20 PM | Buzz

26 Jan 2013, 10:54:00 PM | Buzz

26 Jan 2013, 10:52:42 PM | Buzz

26 Jan 2013, 09:40:51 PM | Buzz
26 Jan 2013, 09:39:54 PM | Buzz

Statement issued by Ashis Nandy:

This is not what I meant or what I wanted to say. This is what actually transpired.

I endorsed the statement of Tarun Tejpal, Editor of Tehelka, that corruption in India is an equalising force. I do believe that a zero corruption society in India will be a despotic society.

I also said that if people like me or Richard Sorabjee want to be corrupt, I shall possibly send his son to Harvard giving him a fellowship and he can send my daughter to Oxford. No one will think it to be corruption. Indeed, it will look like supporting talent.

But when Dalits, tribals and the OBCs are corrupt, it looks very corrupt indeed.

However, this second corruption equalises. It gives them access top their entitlements. And so, as long as this equation persists, I have hope for the Republic.

I hope this will be the end of the matter. I am sorry if some have misunderstood me. Though there was no reason to do so. As should be clear from this statement, there was neither any intention nor any attempt to hurt any community. If anyone is genuinely hurt, even if through misunderstanding, I am sorry about that, too.

 

 

26 Jan 2013, 08:05:33 PM | Buzz

Ashis Nandy clarifies what he meant to Firstpost editors Sandip Roy and Lakshmi Chaudhry: ‘Everyone free to interpret my statement’, says author Ashis Nandy:

Firstpost: What did you mean by that one statement that most of the corrupt come from SC/ST and OBC which has caused so much uproar?

What I said was that most of those caught for corruption come from these three sectors because the upper castes and the rich and the powerful have better ways of protecting themselves, better ways of hiding their corruption. I even gave a direct example of that by saying people like Richard Sorabji and I, if we want to be corrupt we can be corrupt in a very subtle way. No money has to exchange hands. I can give his son a fellowship or he can give my daughter a fellowship at Oxford or Harvard. And that will be good enough return and nobody will call it corruption. I said that the others have lesser chance of hiding their corruption, lesser chance of engaging sophisticated lawyers or giving ideological justification the way the CPM government in West Bengal gave when they were corrupt.

It was part of a larger picture. And I also said that as long as this corruption exists among backwards, tribals, OBCs our Indian republic still has some hope.

Firstpost: Why?

It leads hopefully to redistributive justice and equalisation of handicaps.

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