Saturday, January 26, 2013

Asis Nandy and Corruption: Is there a caste angle to corruption in India

A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books Asis Nandy is the infant terrible of Indian political journalism. From time to time he stirs up the hornet's nest and there is considerable speculation for some time. India today has become both caste conscious and status conscious and there is no neat fir between the two. In the past political power was in the hands of the educated elite which had some values. Post Independence brought mass democracy to India and with the vote came the temptations of power. The Other Backward Classes ot the OBCs as they are derisively referred to in India are the most powerful political grouping in India and they have administrative, political and muscle power. If we look at the list of the mega corrupt in India we find that they are usually of the OBC variety. Laloo Prasad Yadava has become the symbol of corruption due to his involvement in the Fodder Scam. For the benefit of my readers who may not know let me describe what the fodder scam is. Money meant for animal welfare was swindled to an alarming extent and Laloo and his political cronies were directly the beneficiaries of the scandal. The corruption and mal administration made Laloo lose the election. Other OBC politicians like Kalmadi, Mulayam Singh Yadava, Vilas Rao Deshmukh, Sharad Pawar are all involved in corruption and there corrupt deals are common knowledge. Even the BJP has had its share of corrupt OBC politicians: Nitin Gadkari is the most recent. There is nothing wrong in what Asis Nandy has said. The OBCs in the IAS are notorious for their corruption. The recent conviction of the IAS officer Neera Yadava the former Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh is a case in point. OBC officers have accumulated tonnes of gold which has beeb recovered in raids ususally conducted by other OBCs and so perhaps like the Kula ring reciprocity and exchange govern these transactions. What Asis Nandy has said is usually spoken in hushed tones in the privacy of ones home. People are afraid of the "goonds" support enjoyed by the OBCs and hence even the press keeps quiet. In Tamil Nadu the backward caste have been in power since 1967 and the state is a cultural desert with atrocities against dalits increasing by the day. Asis Nandy has provoked outrage by his remarks because in these days of Indentity sensitivity which borders on political correctness one does not talk about OBC corruption. The dalits are not on the same scale for the simple reason there is more value formation in the dalit society and also there is fear of being scapegoated by powerful OBC officers. In the medival scam of the dalit queen bee in UP all the officers involved were OBCs. Asis Nandy has not said anything objectionable. He has spoken the truth.

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