Nandy and the plight of original thinker in Twitter age

But his eminence is not worth a vote for Mayawati, Paswan and others baying for his blood

ajay

Ajay Singh | January 28, 2013


Sociologist Ashis Nandy
Sociologist Ashis Nandy

In an age where 22-second sound bites become the source of heated political debate and vacuous intellectual discourse, eminent sociologist Ashis Nandy’s indiscretion may seem unpardonable. Clearly, he is too old to adapt to bites-induced intellectualism, making him almost incompatible with an impatient class of social elites whose intellectual span is defined by the limits set by TV studios and Twitter.

Don't miss our previous interview with Nandy: “An anomic, anarchic, free-floating violence... is looking for targets”

Nandy was hounded out by Dalit activists, social media and a section of the mainstream media for saying that the involvement of OBCs, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in corruption cases has increased of late. Nandy is known to be one of the most original Indian social thinkers and psychoanalysts whose body of work is of an exceptionally high standard. His thesis about the state being a “criminal enterprise” is often referred to by researchers to explain the foundations and rationale of the state.

But Nandy’s eminence is not worth a vote for Mayawati, Ram Vilas Paswan or those baying for his blood. His perceived indiscretion in a 22-second bite came in handy for jealous academics who see virtue in consistency and mediocrity. By any stretch of imagination, Nandy is none of that.

It would have immensely enriched the political debate if Nandy’s proposition on corruption had been carefully dissected for an improved understanding of statecraft. But then, this is the age of shooting first and asking questions later. What Nandy says deserves attention, for of late a large number of political leaders coming from the underprivileged classes have got enmeshed in corruption cases. This is certainly not a reflection on their caste but on the quality of politics and governance being practised.

Will anybody deny that A Raja, when caught in a scam, took shelter behind his Dalit identity? Is it not true that the corruption cases against Mayawati andMulayam Singh Yadav, being probed by the CBI, are being leveraged by the Congress to solicit political support for the ruling coalition? Can anybody ignore the fact that mineral-rich Jharkhand is impoverished because of the corrupt and venal ways of tribal politics in the state?

It is hardly anybody’s case that corruption is endemic among certain social groups. Far from it, Nandy explained it by giving a personal example to show how corruption is disguised as talent promotion by the upper castes. Apparently, Nandy’s formulation was intended to delve deeper into the socio-political malaise and diagnose the ills that plague us.

But the whole project seems to have been scuttled mid-way as the scholar has been put not only on the defensive but also on the run by slapping police cases against him. He was forced to say sorry for an inference he never intended to make. He is paying the price for being an original thinker who tried to turn the political discourse from rhetoric to genuine intellectualism.

What appears strange is that this streak of fanaticism and intolerance is discernible in a function organised not by an orthodox religious or caste forum but those who claim to be espousing liberalism and secularism. And in the din of rhetoric and platitudes is lost an occasion for genuine, enriched and informed debate on contemporary politics and society.

Comments

 

Other News

Activists question displacement and dispossession of marginalised communities

Questioning the development model pushed ahead for profit oriented growth, social and political activists, academicians, financial analysts and civil society organisations are holding a three day confluence of Peoples’ Convention on Infrastructure Financing in Mumbai.     &nb

The enemy within

About one-fourth of India’s elderly face abuse at the hands of those they trust the most – the son (52%)  followed  by the daughter in law (34%),spouse/partner (14%), daughter(6%)  grandchild (6%), son in law(3%), parent(1%) and care giver(1%), reveals a report by the HelpAge Ind

Who has been investing in India through Mauritius?

The official statistics provided by the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) under the ministry of commerce and industry shows that between January 2000 and December 2017, India received $368 billion of foreign direct investment (FDI). It also says that Mauritius was the source of $125 bill

The neighbour and the valley

The declaration communicated through the director general of military operations (DGMO) of Pakistan and India on May 29, 2018, to implement the ceasefire agreement of 2003 between the two countries in “letter and  spirit” has opened up an opportunity to restore peace in the disturbed Kashm

The training advantage

It’s a sultry March afternoon and students at a municipal school in Santacruz East are engrossed in their lecture. It’s 4 pm already but the training session in the mobile repairing course is in full swing. Twenty-four boys and four girls of class IX are in the last leg of their course before t

App aid for healthcare

Courier services and sales teams have soared into efficiency using smartphone apps to monitor deliveries, visits, timeliness and performance. Taking a leaf from their book, Gujarat is equipping accredited social health activists (ASHAs) and midwives with smartphones and an app to bring down infant and ma

Current Issue

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter