The corrupt are present and visible in all social groups and religious communities. Ashis Nandy’s statement — that the SCs, the STs and the OBCs are the most corrupt — is, therefore, one of opinion, not fact (“The question of casteism still remains,” Feb. 5). But his status as a social scientist and the fact that he made the comment in a public forum are what make it open to question.

The debate could have remained within the academic community and the media, and need not have gone so far as to invoke the provisions of the SC/ST Act against Mr. Nandy. It is only by questioning and changing society’s understandings of an issue that we can make progress.

B. Ramakrishna, Hyderabad

Mr. Nandy has tried to clear the air by explaining what he actually meant. But the author still argues that singling out the SCs, the STs and the OBCs was an attempt to stereotype them and show them in a bad light. If this trend continues, I am afraid, diplomatic and safe speech will replace bold facts and views.

Mohammad Ashraf, Chennai

Freedom of speech and expression is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution. Those who feel offended should counter what Mr. Nandy said with arguments and facts, rather than make rhetorical statements and threaten legal action, alleging that his remarks have hurt a particular community.

As far as corruption is concerned, no caste, community, religion, language or race is free from the malaise. One cannot single out a group as being more corrupt. Similarly, there are honest people in all communities.

Punja Gaiha, Mumbai

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