Jaipur: Ashis Nandy "made a bad statement with good intentions", Dalit activist and writer Kancha Ilaiah said on Monday in a bid to end the controversy over the social analyst's comment on Dalit, tribals and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and corruption.
"Ashis Nandy made a bad statement with good intentions. However, as far as I know, he was never against reservation. The controversy should end here," Ilaiah, who was in the audience at the discussion during the Jaipur Literature Festival Saturday.
IIaiah's statement comes a day after Nandy was booked by Rajasthan Police under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act for his comment at the discussion, "Republic of Ideas", including Patrick French, Ashis Nandy, Tarun Tejpal, Richard Sorabjee and Urvashi Butalia.
Nandy fuelled a controversy when he said, "...The fact is that most of the corrupt come from the OBC, the Scheduled castes and now increasingly STs, and as long as it was the case, the Indian Republic would survive".
He followed it with an example. "The state of least corruption is West Bengal. In the last 100 years, nobody from the backward classes and the SC and ST groups have come anywhere near power in West Bengal. It is an absolutely clean state," Nandy said.
Nandy left Jaipur Jan 25 evening and did not return to attend subsequent discussions he was scheduled to address.
His statement drew Dalit and backward groups' ire, leading to protests outside the venue. Nandy later clarified to the media that what he meant was corruption was an equalising force in India.
Ilaiah, who heads a research centre at the Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad, launched his first work of fiction "Untouchable God" at the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival Monday.