‘The right of thinkers like Ashis Nandy to articulate unconventional views must be protected’
A number of eminent citizens have sprung to the defence of scholar and public intellectual Ashis Nandy over legal measures being initiated against him in the wake of the outcry that followed his remarks at the Jaipur Literary Festival.
An online petition on www.change.org, addressed to the Union government, in support of Profesesor Nandy’s right to freedom of speech has been signed by several people, including noted academics Achin Vanaik, Alok Rai and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, filmmakers Aparna Sen and Nandita Das, legal researcher Lawrence Liang, historian Romila Thapar, actor Shabana Azmi and psephologist Yogendra Yadav.
“Over the years, Ashis Nandy has affirmed the rights of marginalised groups and communities to assert and 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 Jaipur Literary Festival, Nandy was asked to respond on corruption, the marginalised and the state of the Republic. While Nandy’s deliberately ironic remark on corruption in the OBC and SC/ST 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 signatories said.