Sociologist and author Ashis Nandy on Saturday stirred a hornet’s nest by saying those from the SC/ST and OBCs were “the most corrupt”.
As angry reactions poured in, a police case was registered against him, though Nandy later clarified he’d been misquoted.
Dalit leader and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati demanded his immediate arrest. Congress leader and chief of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, PL Punia, Lok Janshakti Party leader Ramvilas Paswan and Independent MP from Dausa, Kirori Meena, joined the chorus.
Nandy was speaking at the Jaipur Literature Festival when he said: “It is a fact that most of the corrupt come from the OBCs (other backward classes) and scheduled castes and now, increasingly, the scheduled tribes.”
He went on to elaborate: "I will give you an example. One of the states with the least amount of corruption is West Bengal, when the CPI(M) was there. And I must draw attention to the fact that in the last 100 years, nobody from the OBC, SC and ST has come anywhere near to power. It is an absolutely clean state."
Later, as the controversy spread, Nandy clarified: "This is not what I meant or what I wanted to say. I endorsed the statement of Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal that corruption is an equaliser in our society. I do believe that a zero corruption society in India, as I gave the example of Singapore, will be a despotic society."
The clarification cut no ice and an FIR was registered by the Jaipur Police on the complaint of a local trade union leader under the SC/ST Act. Festival organizer Sanjoy Roy has also been named in the FIR.
A trained clinical psychologist and sociologist, Nandy has been named one of the top 100 public intellectuals by the Carnegie Foreign Policy magazine.