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Posted on Jan 29, 10:49PM | IANS
New Delhi, Jan 29 : A group of intellectuals have started a petition in support of social scientist Ashis Nandy who was pilloried for his remark at the Jaipur Literary Festival linking Dalits, tribals and backward classes to corruption.
Educationists, artists and historians from India and abroad said over the years, Nandy had affirmed the rights of marginalised groups and communities to express themselves in their unique ways.
"His own method has been to illuminate through anecdote, aphorism and irony. In the context of the discussion at the festival, Nandy was asked to respond on corruption, the marginalised and the state of the republic," the petition said.
"While Nandy's deliberately ironic remark on corruption in the OBC (Other Backward Classes) and SC/ST (Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes) political elites as a form of equality may not be to the liking of all, we have no doubt that it was meant to question the upper caste-middle class notions of morality rather than denigrate marginalised and subaltern groups".
The group said Nandy had evolved a distinctive and provocative style of making claims, comments and arguments.
"In a country where intellectual freedoms are shrinking every day, the right of thinkers like Nandy to argue and articulate unconventional views must be protected at all costs," it said.
Nandy had Saturday said: "It will be an undignified and vulgar statement. But the fact is that most of the corrupt come from the OBC, the Scheduled Castes and now, increasingly, STs. As long as that is the case, the Indian Republic will survive."
Nandy was commenting about the manner in which sections of society that had long been powerless were wresting power from an established elite. He was booked the following day under Section 3(1) of the SC/ST Act.