Statement by Academics and Activists on the Harassment of Ashis Nandy and a Demand for Withdrawal of Spurious Charges Levied Against Him

We write to protest in the strongest possible terms against the charges of criminal offence levied against Ashis Nandy, a political psychologist, sociologist and an internationally renowned public intellectual of the highest caliber. This is the latest case of harassment of intellectuals, journalists, artists, and public figures by antidemocratic forces that claim to speak on behalf of Hindu values sometimes and patriotism at other times, especially in Gujarat, but who have little understanding of either. What is pernicious in this case is that the charge of criminal offence against Nandy levied under Section 153 (A) and (B) for his newspaper article “Blame the Middle Classes” was brought by the head of the Gujarat Branch of the National Council of Civil Liberties. The State Government of Gujarat by giving its permission for filing the case has shown its own complicity in the case.

It seems part of the strategy of the most intolerant sections of Indian society today to make a cynical use the language of civil liberties to achieve ends that are the opposite of what the aspirations to civil liberties and the struggles over them represent. The harassment of well-known intellectuals and artists hides we fear, the daily intimidation being faced by members of minorities and especially the Muslims in Gujarat. We demand that all the charges against Professor Nandy be immediately dropped. We understand that there is a great deal of anxiety in Gujarat today about its lost honour. It might help to remind ourselves that this honour or “asmita” will not be gained by acts of violence and intimidation but by recovering or discovering the humanity of each other. Gujarat can and will regain its own destiny by remembering the politics of nonviolence, as one of its sons by the name of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi once taught the nation and the world.

1.Veena Das, Johns Hopkins University, USA.
2.Homi Bhabha, Harvard University, USA
3.Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Center for Policy Research, Delhi, India
4.Gananath Obeyesekere, Princeton University, USA
5.Pratiksha Baxi, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, India
6. Saurabh Dube, El Colegio de Mexico
7. Diana Eck, Harvard University, USA
8.Sanjay Subrahmaniam, University of California at Los Angeles, USA
9.Lawrence Cohen, University of California Berkeley, USA
10.Sasanka Perera, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
11. Jonathan Spencer, University of Edinburgh, UK
12.Flavia Agnes, Legal Center of Majlis, Mumbai, india
13. Harsh Mandar, Aman Biradari, Delhi, india
14. Uma Chakravarty, Independent Scholar, Delhi, India
15.Hent de Vries, Johns Hopkins University, USA
16. Ravinder Kaur, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India
17. Nancy Scheper-Hughes, University of California Berkeley, USA
18. Akhil Gupta, University of California Los Angeles, USA
19.Ishita Bannerjee, El Colegio de Mexico, Mexico
20.Nivedita Menon, University of Delhi, India
21.Deepak Mehta, University of Delhi, India
22. Nirja Gopal Jayal, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India
23. Srimati Basu, University of Kentucky, USA
24. Pamela Reynolds, Johns Hopkins University, USA
25. Perveez Mody, University of Cambridge UK
26. Janaki Abraham, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, India
27. Rajni Palriwala, University of Delhi, India
28. Kalpana Kannabiran, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad
29.Stewart Motha, Kent Law School, UK
30. Anand Pandian, Johns Hopkins University, USA
31.Vikram Vyas, St. Stephens College, University of Delhi
32.Maria Pia de Bella, CNRS-IRSI-EHESS, Paris
33. Gil Anidjar, Columbia University, USA
34. Lawrence Liang, Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore
35 Ranendra K Das, Johns Hopkins University, USA
36. Stanley Samarsinghe, Tulane University, USA
37.Kavi Bhalla, Harvard Initiative for Global Health, USA
38.Naveeda Khan, Johns Hopkins University, USA
39 C K Raju, Center for Studies in Civilizations, Delhi, India
40. Asha Singh, Lady Irwin College, University of Delhi, Delhi.
41 Sanjay Barbora, Panos Institute South Asia, Guwahati, India
42.K. Tudor Silva, University of Peradinya, Sri Lanka
43. Ashok Xavier, Loyola College, Chennai, India
44. Rada Ivekovic, College international de philosophie, Paris
45. Vasuki Nesiah, Brown University, USA
46. Nermeen Shaikh, Asia Society, New York, USA
47. Mani Shekhar Singh, Independent Scholar, Delhi
48. Kavita Misra, Columbia University, USA
49. Christopher Stone, Hunter College, New York, USA
50.Arjun Appadurai, New School University, USA
51.Fredrique-Appfel Marglin, Smith College, USA
52. Ailli Trip, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
53. Nayanika Mookherjee, Lancaster University, UK
54. Sanjay Reddy, University of Columbia, USA
55.Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago, USA
56. Sanmay Das, Ransellier Polytechnic Institute, USA
57. Mohan Trivedi, University of California, San Diego, USA
58.Kamala Visweswaran, University of Texas at Austin, USA
59.Banu Subramaniam, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA
60.Geeta Patel, University of Virginia, USA
61.Ajay Sakaria, University of Minnesota, USA
62.Gloria Goodwin Raheja, University of Minnesota, USA
63.Farah Aziz, Journalist, Mumbai, India
64.Pankj Mishra, Writer, New York, USA
65.Uday Mehta, Amherst College, USA
66.Qadri Ismail, University of Minnesota, USA
67. Rachel Dwyer, University of London, UK
68. Michael Dwyer, Publisher, London, UK
69.Bhaskar Sarkar, UC Santa Barbara, USA
70.Ashok Dhareshwar, Washington, DC, USA
71.Mahdi Almandrja, University Mohammad V Rabat, Morocco
72. Richard Falk, Princeton University, USA
73. Piya Chatterjee, UC Riverside, USA
74 Ann Grodzins Gold, Syracuse University, New York
75. Sunil Bhavsar, San Diego, California, USA
76.Simone Sawhney, University of Minnesota, USA
77.Gyanendra Pandey, Emory University, USA
78.Sabina Sawhney, Hofstra University, New York, USA
79.Vivek Dhareshwar, Center for the Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore, India
80. Adel Wessell, Southern Cross University, Australia
81. Baden Oxford, Southern Cross University, Australia
82. Indira Chowdhury, ARCH, Bangalore, India.
83. Jerry Pinto, Journalist, Mumbai, India.
84. Andrea Pinto, Librarian, Mumbai, India.
85.Sruti Chaganthi, Center for the Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore, India
86.David Loy, Xavier University, Ohio, USA
87.Jan Obevg, Transnational Foundation, Sweden
88. Vrinda Grover, Marg, Delhi
89.Mahua Sarkar, Binghamton University, USA
90.Joseph Borocz, Rutgers University, USA
91.Megha Subramanian, University of Southern California, LA, USA
92. Nayanika Mookherjee, Lancaster University, UK
93.Pradeep Jeganathan, International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Colombo, Sri Lanka
94. Malathi de Alwis, International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Colombo, Sri Lanka
95.Ein Lal, Independent Film Maker, Delhi, India
96.Shastri Ramachandran, Journalist, the Tribune, Chandigarh, India
97. Rita Brara, University of Delhi, India.
98. V.Venkatesan, Journalist, Frontline, Delhi
99. Debamitra Kar, Pearson Education, Delhi, India
100.Maitreyi Krishnan, Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore, India
101.Ponni Arasu, Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore, India
102.Manoranjani Thomas, Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore, India
103. Mayur Suresh, Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore, India
104. Prashant Iyengar, Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore, India
105. Namita Malhotra, Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore, India
106. Clifton Rosario, Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore, India
107. Arvind Narrain, Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore, India
108. Jiti Nichani, Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore, India
109. Usha R, Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore, India
110. Siddhartha Narrian, Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore, India
111. Anand Chokhwala, Surat, India
112. Nayana M Trivedi, Scripps Memorial Hospital, San Diego, California, USA
113. Munira A Basnai, NIH, Bathesda, USA
114. Attila Melegh, Corvinus University, Hungary.
115. Gauri Viswanathan, Columbia University, USA
116.Bhrigupati Singh, Johns Hopkins University, USA
117. Prerna Singh, Princeton University, USA
118. Saumya Das, Mass. General hospital, Cambridge, USA
119.Ranjini Obesesekere, Independent Scholar, Sri Lanka
120. Sithie Tiruchelvam, Tiruchelvam Associates, Colombo, Sri Lanka
121.Jonathan Parry, London School of Economics, London, UK
122. Manav Ratti, Oxford University, UK
123. Priyamvada Gopal, University of Cambridge, UK
124.Harsh Pant, King’s College, London, UK
125. Keya Ganguli, University of Minnesota, USA
126. Joshua Castollino, Middlesex University, UK
127. Sudeshna Guha, Univeristy of Cambridge, UK
128. Debjani Ganguli, Australian National University, Australia
129.Kavita Daiya, George Washington University, USA
130. Jonathan Woolf, University of Liverpool, UK
131. Soumhya Venkatesan, University of Manchester, UK
132.Kriti Kapila, University of Cambridge, UK
133. Shirin Rail, University of Warwick, UK
134. Radmila Nakarada, University of Belgrade, Serbia
135. Gul Khattak, Sustainable Development Policy Institute, Islamabad, Pakistan
136. Suketu Bhavsar, Cal Poly, Pomona USA
137. Jishnu Das, Center for Policy Research, Delhi, India
138.Swati Chattopadhyay, UC Santa Barbara, USA
139.Dineshwar Tiwari, Deshkal Society, Delhi, India
140. Ranjeet Nirguni, Deshkal Society, Delhi, India
141.Mary JaJehanbegaloo, University of Toronto, Canada
142.. Imtiaz Ahmad, Dhaka University, Bangladesh
143. Shard Chandra Behar, Bhopal, MP, India
144.Arthur Kleinman, Harvard University, USA
145. Aamir Mufti, UC Los Angeles, USA
146.Nauman Naqvi, Brown University, USA
147. Steven Caton, Harvard University, USA
148. Ziauddin Sardar, City University, London, UK
149. Ohashi Masaki, Keisen University, Japan
150. Jessica Marglin Princeton University, USA
151. J. Mohan Rao, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA
152. Sylvia Marcos, Center for Psycho-ethnological Research, Cuernavaca, Mexico
153. Jean Robert, Architect, Mexico
154. Partha Chatterjee, Columbia University, USA
155. Rajeev Bhargav, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi
156. Baber Johansen, Harvard University, USA
157. Srirupa Roy, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA
158. Fredrique-Apffel Marglin, Smith College, Northampton, USA
159. Shudana Yusaf, Princeton University, USA
160. Sudhir Kakra, Psychoanalyst and Writer, Goa, India
161.Daho Djerba, University of Algeria, Algeria
162. Upendra Baxi, Warwick University, UK
163. Harsh Kapoor, South Asia Citizen’s Web
164.Govinda Rath, G.B.Pant institute of Social Sciences, Allahabad, India
165.William Connolly, Johns Hopkins University, USA
166.Dipankar Gupta, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, India
167.Indrani Chatterjee, Rutgers University, Delhi
168. Peter Ronald deSouza, Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Simla
169. Triloki Madan, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi, India
170. Mara Kamdar, World Policy Institute, New York, USA

Varun Gauri

Varun Gauri is Senior Economist in the Development Research Group of the World
Bank. His research focuses on politics and governance in the social sectors and
aims to combine quantitative and qualitative methods in economics and social
science research. His research has addressed HIV/AIDS policies in Brazil, South
Africa, and Mozambique, basic immunization in Pakistan, the behavior of
development NGOs in Bangladesh and Uganda, payment modalities for health care
providers in Costa Rica and Nigeria, litigation for social and economic rights
in developing countries, and the relationship between international human rights
treaties and development outcomes. He is the author of School Choice in Chile:
Two Decades of Educational Reform. He has published widely in development
journals, including World Development, the Journal of Development Studies,
Studies in Comparative International Development, World Bank Research Observer,
and Health Policy and Planning. Since joining the World Bank in 1996, he has
also worked on and led a variety of operational and analytic tasks, including
project and program evaluations, investments in privately owned hospitals,
health care decentralization, and public expenditure reviews.

Geetanjali Srikantan

Geetanjali Srikantan is a doctoral student at the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore. Her research interests lie in the area of law and religion. Her present research which draws from jurisprudence and legal history revolves around the site of the religious place.