Dalit writer Kancha Ilaiah rushes to defend under-fire Ashis Nandy for anti-SC, OBC row

Dalit activist-writer Kancha Ilaiah today sought to put a lid on the controversy over sociologist Ashis Nandy' remarks on SC and STs, saying it was "a bad statement with good intentions".

"Prof 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 said in a statement here.

Nandy had kicked up a storm at the Jaipur Literature Festival on Saturday with his remarks that "most of the corrupt come from the OBCs, SCs and STs", drawing the ire of many prominent figures including BSP chief Mayawati. An FIR was also lodged against him following his statement.

Nandy had later issued a clarification saying he was trying to make the point that corruption among Dalits was noticeable, while that of the rich was not.

Speaking in Nandy' defence, Ilaiah said that his statement was unfortunately worded and blamed the upper caste for doing more corruption.

"How do we interpret is the issue. In my opinion, he missed out saying that upper castes have always been corrupt.

They build a corrupt society and dalits are entering only now," Ilaiah told reporters.

The Dalit writer praised Mayawati, saying "she is a living icon of dalits. I never met her but have respect for the courageous leader."

Ilaiah, who heads a research centre at Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad, is author of 'Why I am Not a Hindu' and 'God as Political Philosopher: Buddha's Challenge to Brahminism.'

Ilaiah in a session at the literature festival also launched his first work of fiction, 'Untouchable God'.

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