Noted author and sociologist Ashis Nandy has no doubt stirred up a hornets’ nest by saying at the Jaipur Literary Festival that people belonging to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes are “more corrupt.” His remark should be treated with the contempt it deserves. The controversy has taken the sheen off the high profile Lit Fest.
Though Mr. Nandy later tried to clarify saying what he meant was most of those who faced corruption charges belonged to the marginalised sections as they did not have the means to save themselves like the upper castes, the clarification was indeed too little, too late. The damage was done.
N.J. Ravi Chander, Bangalore
Mr. Nandy did say — the whole nation heard him — that most of the corrupt belong to the OBCs, the SCs and now “increasingly the STs.” These were his exact words. His subsequent clarification that corruption among Dalits is noticed more and corruption among the upper castes is often overlooked was an afterthought to control damage.
G. David Milton, Maruthancode
Mr. Nandy’s statement has tarnished the image of persons belonging to the SCs, the STs and the OBCs. That scholars who are supposed to mediate, catalyse and help bring about transformation should pass such vilifying remarks is unfortunate.
Corruption is an evil which has permeated all sections of society. Stereotyping castes and communities will only serve to divide people further. Most of the senior bureaucrats hail from the upper castes, which proves they are part of corruption.
T. Marx, Puducherry
India is a nation of numerous castes and sub-castes. People are sensitive about their caste, its prestige and reputation. Thus a person should exercise caution while commenting on castes, especially when the comments are made in public. What the remark intends to convey is secondary. India has already experienced many communal clashes, which have taken a toll on peace and harmony. The freedom of speech and expression is not absolute. It is subject to limitations on grounds such as security and public order.
Salai Varun Isai Azhagan, Chennai
It has become a fashion among politicians and intellectuals belonging to the so-called higher and middle level castes to cast aspersions on people from the marginalised sections. When the SCs and the STs (the OBCs are often spared) claim their rights, they are accused of encroaching into the space of the upper and middle level castes.
Most of the corrupt belong to the group of politicians, bureaucrats and administrators in the private and public sectors. They invariably belong to the higher castes. People from the lower castes are employed as peons, attendants, cleaners, etc. How can they become corrupt and harm society?
D. Chandran, Chennai