Dalit historian Kancha Ilaiah joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on his defence of Ashis Nandy.
Q. Ashis Nandy is an old man. He does not know what he is talking.. He may be thinking something good for the OBC/SC/ST and telling some thing else which is a nonsense. And would have put him behind bars. Being too old we must forgive him and his past did not endorse what he said now. Asked by: Prathap
A. His age did not diminish his intellectual rigor. Yes legal action is no solution. His statement must be debated based on history of centuries. The Dalit-Bahujan intellectuals are ready for such a debate. We certainly do not believe in curtailing the freedom of speech.
Q. In fact, if I understood correct Nandy meant, most of the times the victims are from SC/ST and OBC's, and even if you have a corrupt among these, they are able to come out of the situation. Rest all what is happening is politics. Asked by: S ESHWAR
A. That is right. But he was not very clear.
Q. It is a nice change of attitude from the usual myopic view that every wrong in the country is due to the upper caste person and every victim is from a lower caste. I think there should be room for expressing views what ever they may be and the society at large should have the maturity to debate the view in a peaceful manner. What do you say? Asked by: Karthik
A. There should be a room, but not to destroy the moral confidence of people who have exploited and oppressed by the upper caste for more than three thousand years. The upper caste people particularly Brahmins did not participate in food production in the whole human history but ate best food, lived in best houses. Their basic life and morals were corrupt. To improve the moral standards of the nation we must discuss about that. As of now the concept corruption cannot be deployable on Dalit/Tribal and OBC masses.
Q. Ashis Nandy has always supported the Dalit cause and has been a big supporter of reservations. Being a Left sympathiser, I feel let down by Left parties who jumped to condemn him without looking at his bigger argument. Are we getting intellectually shallower and bankrupt? Asked by: Aniket Banerjee
A. That I have already said in the media that he supported reservation. But the left parties are a disaster on this issue. The Left Front which rule Bengal for 37 years without interruption was most legally and morally corrupt because it did not implement even the reservation. To understand the the Bengal Brahmin socialism read my novel untouchable God.
Q. It is true that Corruption has no religion. But is it not a myth that Brahmins are not corrupt? There is one leading engineering college in Allahabad. In any department you can easily find an interesting pattern- A Brahmin as an HOD,his wife a professor, his Son Assistant Professor, Son's wife Doing Phd. This will cutting across departments and all Job levels. Why shall be blind ourselves with comments of Mr Nandy. the nepotism gave birth to Corruption. Asked by: Chinoo
A. You are right. He should have spoken more about that corruption of upper castes. For a right argument he used wrong language. That is the problem
Q. What do you think was the provocation for Nandy to say what he did? Did he just want to sound different/radical? Asked by: Subodh
A. That you should ask him.
Q. I think its a case of misrepresenting by a whole lot of people- media, activists, politicians who have never read or understand the political and intellectual position Ashis Nandy has taken over the years. Surely, this is not a way to engage in debate and discussion in a democracy. It pains me to see the statement being quoted out of context. And questions coming from a flawed understanding of his position. But in the meanwhile he bears the consequences of some irresponsible reporting. Thank you for having a more sane position on this. Asked by: Chandrika
A. This is not only misrepresenting but it over representing also.
Q. Sir, do you think that all the political parties are playing politics on Ashis Nandy Comments about Dalits. Asked by: Prince Sanghi, Narnaul Haryana
A. Political parties have their own compulsion as intellectuals and more.
Q. Mr Ilaiah, I am a Muslim from Bengal and I can vouch for the fact that casteism is virtually non-existent in Bengal as compared to other parts of India. So may be we should not generalise about Bengali Brahmin socialism. Your thoughts. Asked by: Mehboob Elahi
A. Bengal is the worst casteist state. That kept caste oppression and exploitation in almost medieval form. That is the reason why Nom-Sudras who constitute about 25 per cant could not even produce one Dalit intellectual.
Q. Dear sir Do you think its hi time to review the SC/ST act that is grossly misused? Now it has become more of extortion/threatening tool by some letter head leaders than true and genuine protection of weaker section of society? There are various instances wherein a IAS officer used this law to abuse a journalist in Karnataka/ a rich used it to make his things done by threatening to book under SC/ST law So why can't we review it and make it more realistic? Asked by: Naveen
A. No, it has to be used much more. But in certain cases like cases like that of this they should be generous and magnanimous.
Q. In this 21st century also Dalit people are facing caste discrimination and Untouchability. "Every hour - two Dalits are assaulted, every day three - Dalit women are raped and two Dalits are murdered two Dalit houses are burnt." (Human Rights Education Movement in India). Many dalit families still live below poverty line. How can Ashis ji say like that? Everyone should aware while talking to media and to the people. Asked by: Narendra
A. Yes, you are right.
Q. Being a supporter of reservation do not give him a freedom to tell nonsense? Asked by: Prathap
A. Yes, but we can face up to the challenge of debate, which we are capable of.