Our corruption and theirs

As a sociologist, I respect the salience of cultural identities of various sorts. But the French Revolution taught us something when it privileged the "citizen" as the key actor in modern democracy. It is not the colour or caste of corruption that we should be proclaiming, but the need to recognise corruption for what it is, where it is, and by whoever it is, as being an immoral and unethical way to make one's material fortune. Talking about corruption in terms of group identities, or even formulaic class identities ("from the wrong side of the tracks"), is a lazy way of reading India's new reality.

Nevertheless, I defend Ashis Nandy's right to express his opinions. If we don't agree with him, we should counter his views with our own this being the only way forward for a civilised democracy. And Ashis Nandy does have the courage of his convictions, strange though they often may be.

The writer teaches at IIT Delhi

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