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PUCL Rajasthan condemns FIR against Ashis Nandy

January 27, 2013

This release was put out by the Rajasthan unit of the PEOPLE’S UNION FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES on 26 January

PUCL condemns the FIR lodged under sec. 506 IPC, criminal intimidation and 3-1(10) of prevention of atrocities against SC,ST 1989 against Prof. Ashis Nandy for his statements in a discussion at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2013 and the protest demanding his arrest.

From the reports we have received, he was not exhorting hate and not being casteist and was only making an academic point which means that nobody is free from corruption.

Proceeding criminally against him and arresting him is restricting academic freedom and academic debate. Now that he has apologised and regretted  what he has said the matter should be closed.

Prem Krishan Sharma, President
Kavita Srivastav, General Secretary

See also: Most of the corrupt come from SC/ST, OBCs: Ashis Nandy
Below: Video report from CNN-IBN and ABP TV video of Nandy’s press conference

23 Comments leave one →
  1. Ramnik Mohan permalink
    January 27, 2013 1:58 AM

    Any video coverage that gives the FULL CONTEXT of what actually transpired? As usual, the TV coverage seems to have torn a quote out of the larger context of what was said and aired it over and over again.

    • satya permalink
      January 27, 2013 8:48 AM

      Exactly

    • Kumarpushp permalink
      January 27, 2013 6:03 PM

      Ashish nandy should be stripped off from his post and he should not chair any appointment board where Dalits?ST and OBcs are appointed .PUCL are belongs to same hindu clans one is Sharma and other is srivastava means kayastha means born with Brahmas bones and Mr Sharma born from Brahma mouth means this there duty to protect Ashish Nandy who also born with brahma mouth.

  2. deependra baghel permalink
    January 27, 2013 12:37 PM

    this is most un-fortunate that prof ashish nanady has been completely mis-understood and his nuanced critique of politics of public domain has been projected and reported in absolutely distorted manner. ashish nandy has been most rigorous critique of dogmatic brahamnic politics prevalent in indian polity . he has also been one of the few intellectuals in the country who have celebrated emergence of voice of dalits in Indian politics. and he has also articulated that as how emergence of dalit politics has subverted the elitist brahamanical politics in india. but this instance also substantiates that coercive forces also manipulate the media and media trivialize the deeper nuance. but this is also true that in public domain the so called corruption of dalits is being projected but corruption of higher caste candidate is not being given that prominence . thus politics of public domain that prioritize swarns need to be thoroughly critiqued . this also establishes the need of critiquing the upper caste bias of media in its reporting and its editorial policy .but this coercive demand of putting prof nandy behind the bar is also un-fortunate for the dalit politics as their dictatorial statements will cover up the larger structural politics and eventually will halt at the charisma of the leaders rather than delivering justice for crores of dalits who still live in extremely in-human and abysmal conditions.
    deependra baghel bhopal

    • January 28, 2013 9:08 PM

      perhaps a ruse to detract from all the rape talk, reports etc re delhi rape case of 16dec2012. but, remember, too, spivak was misunderstood when she came out with her ‘can the subaltern speak?”

  3. Suhel Banerjee permalink
    January 27, 2013 1:18 PM

    “It is a fact that most of the corrupt come from OBCs and Scheduled Castes and now increasingly the Scheduled Tribes,” he said participating in a session at the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival.

    This statement is hardly surprising, given the extent to which caste prejudices have played out over the centuries. We were probably outraged because, Mr Nandy looked like a learned man. But, as urban dalits, SC/ST students in IITs and AIIMS would vouch, education hardly makes a dent on these prejudices. What is surprising however, is the statement above, by PUCL Rajasthan, which not only, very deftly seeks to obliterate the seriousness of the issue but also reduces Mr Nandy’s vitriol to an ‘academic point’. Ofcourse, it is an academic point, origins of all prejudices are. The Manu Samhita makes an academic point too- it is only the dalits who have cried foul over the years at such ‘academic points’. Damn them. Damn them for not recognising ‘academic points’ made by Kings, Generals, Caste Hindus, Village panchayats, urban policy makers, governments over the centuries. Damn them for not seeing the ‘academic point’ in Khairlanji.
    But ofcourse, did Ashish Nandy cause Khairlanji?
    Do prejudices cause murder and rape?

    Ofcourse, in other times, ‘academic points’ would have to be backed by solid academic data. Not any more.

    The PUCL though, has it’s own methods of understanding, scrutinizing and processing ‘academic points’ being made in India and abroad. And running from the big media seems to have made Kafila expert in knowing which side is worth running with, academically, that is

    • ahannaasmi permalink
      January 28, 2013 1:19 AM

      “But, as urban dalits, SC/ST students in IITs and AIIMS would vouch, education hardly makes a dent on these prejudices. ”

      To plagiarize Christopher Hitchens, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” I went to one of these colleges, and I never saw these “prejudices” playing out.

      • January 29, 2013 12:23 PM

        Like rapes happen only in India and not in Bharat, caste discrimination happen only in remote hinterlands and villages where uneducated, simple minded men and women reside. There is not a single instance of caste based discrimination in IITs and AIIMS – none whatsoever and as you , having attended one of these institutes would vouch- caste, simply does not exist in these institutes.

        But oh!! The amount of disinformation out there. What a shame!

        http://thedeathofmeritinindia.wordpress.com/

        http://www.thehindu.com/education/how-casteist-is-our-varsity/article3958114.ece

        http://www.indianexpress.com/news/scheduled-caste-students-discriminated-against-in-iits-iims-aiims-ncsc/998826

        http://www.ndtv.com/article/cities/dead-iit-student-s-family-says-his-caste-was-mocked-84154

        http://thedeathofmeritinindia.wordpress.com/2011/05/17/prof-thorat-committee-report-on-caste-discrimination-in-aiims-new-delhi-2007/

        http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/ArunachalPradesh/Student-suicide-AIIMS-caste-biased-claims-MP/Article1-825767.aspx

        http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/Appointment+of+SC+doc+triggers+AIIMS+caste+row/1/35277.html

        http://endcampuscasteism.wordpress.com/

        Oh, and while this is only about IITs and AIIMS, there are lakhs of campuses in India where caste based discrimination, castiest remarks, subtle or otherwise continue with impunity. Starting from teachers to students to the non teaching staff in colleges.

        The engineers and doctors coming out of these colleges willfully submit to archaic practices of caste based marriages, if not the above then please find time to look at this as well. I want you to show me instances where Brahmins and other upper castes were married to SC/STs and OBCs.

        But of course, we can hardly judge what we breathe, eat and sleep with – our deepest prejudices.

        • ahannaasmi permalink
          February 25, 2013 4:49 AM

          Thanks for the links. Although that does shatter my view that no caste discrimination happens in IITs (I will still say that I never saw it happening in any sense whatsoever in my time their, and this for a simple reason: we simply did not know, or care to remember, each other’s castes).

          On the other hand, I do it find it offensive that you impute some kind of elitism to me, and try to paint all of this as a “upper caste” vs “lower caste” battle. You know nothing about me apart from the fact that I claimed that I wen to an IIT, and yet you make huge assumptions about my viewpoint.

        • February 25, 2013 5:54 AM

          I just read the most general of these links: http://www.thehindu.com/education/how-casteist-is-our-varsity/article3958114.ece
          With all due respect, both the story and your interpretation of it seem to be riddled with errors, which you would no doubt have no trouble ascribing to your truism: “But of course, we can hardly judge what we breathe, eat and sleep with – our deepest prejudices.” Let’s start with the errors in the story.

          Th story quotes Mr Mungekar as saying:
          “There is a conflict of privileges. In institutions like the IITs, SC/ST students are looked at and treated differently. Forget about extra cooperation, institutions don’t even give normal cooperation. SC/ST students are from a different background.”

          Yes, it is true that you are treated differently at an IIT if you are from one of the reserved categories (incidentally, referring to someone or a group as SC/ST was considered very offensive by students in my group at least: the politically correct term was “category”). You have to pay a much lower fee than others, for example. There is a separate book-loaning facility for you. I am not sure if this is still there, but back when I was there, you also got a second chance to enter the institute which was denied to others: if you did well on the entrance exam, but not well enough to get in on the first time, the college took you on for a one year preparatory class taught by the same professors who were teaching the non-preparatory class at the end of which you are guaranteed admission into the regular programme. So yes, you are treated differently if you are from one of the reserved categories. And indeed, instead of Mr Mungekar’s admonition to “forget about extra cooperation”, extra co-operation from the IIT is exactly what you get. I am not aware of any other universities in India which go to this extent to make sure the reservation actually achieves its objectives of providing access.

          The second error the story makes is to lump the problems that every single student at IIT faces into the caste bin. Prof Kumar says:

          “How can an institution not be able to deal with a situation where a student is failing in all the subjects? That means there is a crisis. A student is failing, not attending class and nobody is bothered. There have been around nine suicides at IIT Kanpur in the past four years – seven SC/ST and two General students. The administration’s response has been that the student was not able to deal with the rigour of academics. In a tragedy too, institutions talk of ‘merit.’ This is a perverted claim of merit.”

          and I wholeheartedly agree. It is indeed a perverse claim of “merit” when those who don’t achieve it are driven to suicide. However, what this has to do with caste discrimination beats me. Except in one way, but this is so sad that most people usually do not have the heart to say it: the fact that a majority of students who are driven to suicide come from the reserved categories represents all that is wrong with the notion of reservation. It is very easy for a student to fall into an inferiority complex when current reservation policies mandate that they only had to pass “relaxed” criteria to get into the college. I don’t know why the danger of a self-imposed stigma about “relaxed” criteria (incidentally, terminology that is often bandied about by proponents of reservation in current form) poses to the psychological health of an individual is never taken into account when discussing reservation. Instead of trying to erase the stigma of caste-discrimination from an individual psyches, the current implementation of reservations in terms of ‘relaxed’ criteria actually takes all possible measures to etch this stigma into a life-long wound.

          The third error is related to the second and is also about your misinterpretation of the story. When everybody in the story finally manages to get around their ego to actually go and talk to a student, here is what they get (emphasis mine):

          A reserved category student from an elite institute told The Hindu, “There is no caste based discrimination (in my institute) as of now. But as a backward category student, you are expected to work harder. If you don’t then professors look down upon you. In the friend circle, once you have been labelled a ‘lukkha’ (loafer), people exploit you. Not because of caste, but because of your behaviour and caste plays a huge role in behaviour. People from the backward class usually have low self esteem, partly because of inferiority in caste and partly because of inferiority in rank (or) merit.”

          That quote does a very good job of explaining what exactly is wrong with the IITs and also that caste discrimination is not one of these things. There is a lot of peer pressure to satisfy certain metrics (good grades etc.)
          and to reduce people to numbers (JEE rank, grades, pay packages etc.). Many of these contribute to the “stress” among students, but none of them have anything to do with caste. Secondly, the last line strengthens the point I was trying to make above. The current implementation of reservation in terms of much vaunted “relaxed” criteria only serves to instill a sense of inferiority complex among students. It fails miserably at its objective of destroying caste-based stigma.

  4. January 27, 2013 1:34 PM

    It would have been far more moral and judicious of the Rajasthan PUCL to have equally condemned Ashis Nandy’s statement as well as the FIR against him. I was at the JLF morning session when he made the comment and he did not refer in any way to certain castes evading or getting implicated by corruption. In fact, he began that comment saying something like, ” I know what I’m about to say might sound vulgar and controversial, but I will say it anyway. The majority of the corrupt class are from OBC/SC/STs.” He didn’t say “The majority of the corrupt class who were CAUGHT… “, but that they were of these castes – if he had implied the OBCs getting caught, what he said would not have been ‘vulgar’ or ‘controversial’. And he went on to justify it using the lack of corruption in communist WB as an example.

    I don’t support the FIR, I believe in free and open debate even with the most prejudiced, narrow-minded people. But I do believe that rather than defend Nandy on the basis of his record on caste issues, the video of the session be made available so the context of his original comment is clear to all. But JLF is doing the avoidance dance for obvious reasons. The video will incriminate Nandy and the intellectuals defending him.

    • Samvaad Samvedna permalink
      January 27, 2013 2:59 PM

      What Ashish Nandy said/meant or not is also important for me but I am ‘sure’ you were NOT there when Nandy made those comments. Why am I sure? Because you are not sure whether to comment with your formal name and identity on Kafila responding to this post.

      • January 27, 2013 5:42 PM

        Oh for god’s sake, I’ve commented on Kafila linking to my blog automatically in the past thanks to wordpress. My name is Pallavi Rao, and I’m a lecturer in Manipal University and you can just go shove your conspiracy theories where the sun doesn’t shine.

  5. Kumarpushp permalink
    January 27, 2013 5:53 PM

    Ashish nandy belongs to hindu clans who had looted India wealth and deposited in foreign banks and now commenting on OBC?SC/ST for corruption ,He made same statement in earlier years but get away with.in 40 years heis holding the post and one can imagine how much damage he done to OBC/SC?ST.time has come he should be stripped off from UPSC/and other university appointment panels .Ashish nandy is not alone he and his clans become fat cow because of 3500 year of reservation where brahmins,bania,and rajput were given their post moment they come out from their mother tummy.Dalits/OBCs?ST should not waste their energy on protest on street but make sure these hindus should not be holding any panel for appointment for dalit/st/OBCs.I think Mr Ghelot who belongs to OBCs caste must take action.Jaipur Police had sent Ashish Nandy to Delhi from back door but Jaipur Police does not know that Dalits/OBcs live in delhi also.

  6. January 27, 2013 6:22 PM

    Here is one video that sort of has footage of Nandy’s actual comment: http://youtu.be/o85tu0vnK0k

    • Samvaad permalink
      January 27, 2013 11:53 PM

      Apologies to Pallavi Rao. Plus felt much calmed reading the link given below the post (marginomarginalia). Yes, hate speech and free speech need really serious distinction. A much needed topic for wider discussion in academic and non-academic worlds, both.

  7. Akhil Bharathan permalink
    January 28, 2013 8:05 PM

    I am r-eposting a comment made by ‘Anu Ramdas in facebook :-

    “compare the indian acads/intellectuals defense of the very public display of racism by their ‘finest intellect’ with the ticking off james watson got when he gave his racist academic point of view in 2007 -the white world and the western academia immediately distanced themselves from him. the british museum promptly cancelled his lecture.

    this does not in any way say that the west and western academia is post racial, it only indicates that they have learned one rudimentary lesson in civil behavior: display a sense of shame at racist exhibitionism, and when people with access to immediate and wide audiences indulge in this grossness, shame them forcefully, publicly”

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