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Ashis Nandy

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The Social Diarist

In a discussion about the nature of public intellectuals, Ashis Nandy once said a majority of Indian intellectuals are not public intellectuals because they are afraid of jeopardising their professional status. To 74-year-old Nandy, not speaking up in the face of injustice is criminal. Nandy is no kneejerk liberal though. In a world where posture comes long before insight, Nandy refuses to be tucked into neat pigeonholes. As a political psychologist and social theorist he has ruffled plenty of feathers by saying that the Leftist and Hindutva ideologies in India are not far from each other. In a dozen iconoclastic books he has displayed equal skepticism towards secularism and a state modelled after the colonial state that ruled India. He was Senior Fellow and Director of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) for several years. Today, he is a Senior Honorary Fellow at the institute and apart from being the Chairperson of the Committee for Cultural Choices and Global Futures, also in New Delhi. Nandy had received the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize in 2007.

In 2008 he appeared on the list of the Top 100 Public Intellectuals Poll of the Foreign Policymagazine, published by The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

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