New Delhi, Jan 28 (IANS) Teachers of Jamia Milia University and Delhi University have rallied to the support of social scientist Ashis Nandy whose remark linking Dalits, tribals and backward classes to "corruption" was pilloried at the Jaipur Literary Festival.
The Jamia Teachers' Solidarity Association, in a statement Monday, said the accusation against the scholar was just not true.
Nandy had said at the Jaipur Literary Festival Saturday: "It will be an undignified and vulgar statement. But the fact is that most of the corrupt come from the OBC, the Scheduled Castes and now, increasingly, STs. As long as that is the case, the Indian Republic will survive."
Nandy was commenting about the manner in which sections of society that had long been powerless were wresting power from an established elite.
He was booked the following day under Section 3(1) of the SC/ST Act, which is non-bailable and invites a 10-year jail term. This section pertains to the actions of a non-SC/ST person, performed with the intention of humiliating a member of the group.
Teachers of the two universities in Delhi said: "Not only has he been grossly misunderstood, but the accusation is an affront to his decades-long deeply sensitive scholarship, including that on the backward communities."
Calling the media "hypocritical", the statement said sensationalism in reporting such incidents had eroded the culture of freedom of speech and thought in India.
"It is interesting to note that those in the political class and media who now claim to stand for the rights of the backward communities vis-a-vis Nandy have been active participants in the violent anti-Mandal agitation that rocked Delhi and other parts of India two decades ago," the statement said.