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Ashis Nandy issues statement to clarify remark

Posted on Jan 28, 11:05AM | IBNS

Sociologist and political critic Ashis Nandy has issued a statement clarifying his utterances on corruption and the Scheduled Class-Tribe-OBC people at the Jaipur Literature Festival on Saturday that sparked a huge row demanding his arrest after a case was filed against him.

Even though Nandy left the venue on Sunday, he landed himself in a cesspool of controversy by saying that Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) were the most corrupt, triggering angry reactions and lodging of an FIR against him that could see him behind bars.

What he defended as a comment to paint corruption as the great equalizer in Indian society, he had said: "It is a fact that most of the corrupt come from the OBCs and the Schedule Castes, and now increasingly from the Schedule Tribes (STs), and as long as this is the case, Indian Republic will survive."

Following is his statement clarifying what he said:

This is not what I meant or what I wanted to say. This is what I 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 equalizes. It gives them access to 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.

Ashis Nandy

Reports said police were seeking the video of Nandy's session at the festival where he made the remark.

The FIR against him was filed by Dalit leader Kirorilal Meena at the Ashok Nagar police station here. It has been lodged under SC/ST Act and the punishment under it can be up to 10 years in jail. It is also a non-bailable offence.

There has been a clamour for his arrest soon after the remarks and Dalit leaders like Mayawati said he should be put behind bars as soon as possible.