While three Dalit youths were brutally killed and mutilated in Ahmednagar, sociologist Ashis Nandy is still facing the possibility of being booked under the SC/ST Act for his allegedly casteist remarks in the recently concluded Jaipur Literature Festival. Have Dalit leaders failed to focus on the real issues like caste atrocities and instead pounced on Ashis Nandy for his statement on corruption?
Dalit intellectual Kancha Ilaiah does not agree that caste based atrocities are not being picked up by Dalit leaders. The two things are very different - one of them is street goondagiri and the other (Ashis Nandy's), is part of intellectual goondagiri.
Speaking to Sagarika Ghose on CNN-IBN, he said, "Street goondas have killed our people. Why should intellectual goondas be allowed? This can apply to Arun Jaitley, Swapan Dasgupta and Arun Shourie. Without challenging the theory if we let Ashis Nandy's theory pass, the future of theories will be destroyed."
According to him, Ashis Nandy has turned the debate of corruption from an individual to an entire community of oppressed people namely the Scheduled Castes, Tribes and the Other Backward Castes.
"He has put corruption around the axis of people who have been oppressed for over 3000 years. If whites were to say all blacks were corrupt, then would it not anount to some form of racism?," he added.
Prakash Ambedkar also made it clear that a wrong message would go if one would not protest the comment made by Ashis Nandy. He said,"How many people other than Dalits have criticised Ashis Nandy? What we have understood is a certain class of people are propagating corruption."
However, he made it clear that most of the Dalit leaders and intellectuals would stand behind Ashis Nandy and not allow him to be arrested or tried under the SC/ST Act. Ashis Nandy is known to be a strong champion of Dalit rights and is a strong votary of caste based reservation policies.