- Kancha Ilaiah
Kancha Ilaiah is the
chairmanof the political sciencedepartment at Osmania University, a social activistand author. He is a BuddhistFact|date=July 2007and a major figure in the ideological movement against the Indian caste system. His polemic is often labelled as anti-Hinduby several of his critics (both Hinduand Muslim), [ [http://www.countercurrents.org/dalit-anand080603.htm Archive of Editorial on Himal Magazine] ] including Hindu advocacy groups [ [http://www.hinduamericanfoundation.org/newsletter/10-14-2005/newsletter.htm HAF Appreciates Congressional Hearing on Dalit Rights; Concerned by Biases] ] , and he has himself stated that he hates Hinduism. [In an interview, Dr. Kanch Illaiha said, "Yes, I hate Hinduism" [http://www.rediff.com/news/2001/jan/17inter.htm The Rediff Interview/Dr Kancha Ilaiah] ]
He was born into
KurumaGolla (an 'other backward caste' and not a "Dalit", or outcaste) family on October 5 1952and was brought up in a small south Indian village. His family's main profession was sheep husbandry. He earned his doctorate degree in political science at the Osmania Universityin Hyderabad, India. His Ph.D. thesis was based on Gautama Buddha's political philosophy.
He is an activist in the Dalit-Bahujan (Scheduled and Backwards Castes) movement. He is also affiliated with the
All India Christian Council, headed by Dr. Joseph D'Souza and other Indian Christian activists [http://www.engr.uiuc.edu/international/eng199/Kancha%20Ilaiah%20bio.pdf] . Ilaiah and D'Souza are also associated with the USA based Dalit Freedom Network. His books are promoted and sold by the Dalit Freedom Network[http://www.dalitnetwork.org/go?/dfn/resources] .
He has authored several books and publishes articles regularly in national news papers and magazines. His book published in 1996, "Why I am not a Hindu - A critique of Hindutva from a Dalit-Bahujan perspective" became the best seller. He also authored "God As Political Philosopher: Budha's challenge to Brahminism", "A Hollow Shell", "The State and Repressive Culture", "Manatatwam" (in Telugu), and "Buffalo Nationalism: A Critique of Spiritual Fascism". Dr. Ilaiah in his efforts to internationalize the Dalit issues for the first time, ; on 6th October, 2005, he testified before a
U.S. Congresssubcommittee against the practice of untouchabilityand urged the US Government to work with the Indian government to end what he said was the persecution of Dalits and religious minority groups in India.
"Why I Am Not A Hindu"
His book, "Why I Am Not A Hindu" purports to the life-experience of the Dalits and Other Backward Castes and alleges that their poverty-ridden experience holds little connection to the Brahmin religious experienceFact|date=February 2007. By explaining this dichotomy from his own personal experience as an OBC, he advocates the "Dalitization" of Indian culture. As Ilaiah claims, the Dalit philosophy prizes productivity over personal pleasure and values the graciousness of community over the "elevation of Brahmin men" at the expense of women and Dalits/OBCs. Ilaiah asserts that this shift in societal thinking will enable India to become a more prosperous and egalitarian societyFact|date=February 2007.
The book was criticized by leading historian and Kluge Chair holder
Romila Thaparfor promoting pseudohistorical views concerning the origins of Dalits, and for abusing Max Mueller's theories concerning the origins of social strata in India as ammunition for Casteconfrontation (see Aryan race#British Raj). Thapar essentially dubs this sort of historiography as "extreme" and "weak". [ [http://members.tripod.com/ascjnu/aryan.html THE ARYAN QUESTION REVISITED] , by Romila Thapar, Transcript of lecture delivered on 11th October 1999,at the Academic Staff College, JNU]
Ilaiah was censured by for publishing "Why I am not a Hindu" in a letter addressed to him by Dr. Pannalal, the registrar of
Osmania University. The registrar stated in his letter that, in his opinion, some articles in popular newspapers on the book were increasing social tension. He said that Ilaiah should "write within the canons of conduct of our profession" and his articles "should not accentuate prejudices and inflame hatred among various sections of society [http://www.rediff.com/news/2000/may/24ap.htm The Rediff Interview , Dr Kancha Ilaiah] ] . Ilaiah has responded in interviews that the book aims to suggest ways to "eliminate the caste system" and proposes "unity on an equal basis". Following a complaint from Ilaiah that the letter constrained his "basic right to academic freedom" the Osmania University Teachers Association submitted a "representation" asking the Registrar to withdraw the letter.
Reservation in India
*"Why I Am Not a Hindu: A
Sudracritique of Hindutvaphilosophy, culture and political economy"(Calcutta: Samya, 1996)
*"God as Political Philosopher: Buddha's Challenge to
Brahminism" (Calcutta: Samya, 2001)
*"Democracy in India: A Hollow Shell" (edited by Arthur Bonner)
*"Buffalo Nationalism: A Critique of Spiritual
Fascism" (Calcutta: Samya, 2004)
* [http://www.rediff.com/news/2000/may/24ap.htm Rediff.com interview] "The attempt to censor my writings is part of a larger game plan"
* [http://www.ambedkar.org/News/hl/Interview%20with.htm Ambedkar.org interview] with Ilaiah "Why Pull The Ratha Of Hinduism Without Having The Right To Sit In It?"
* [http://www.proxsa.org/resources/ghadar/v1n2/ilaiah.html "Ghadar" interview] "The State of Dalit Mobilization: An Interview with Kancha Ilaiah"
* [http://www.bharatvani.org/indology/Ilaiah.html Bharatvani.org article] "Kancha Ilaiah’s ‘Why I am Not a Hindu’: A Critical Review by Shri M. V. R. Sastry"
* [http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=1023204 DNA India Interview with Ilaiah] "Institutes like IITs and IIMs should be closed down"
* [http://www.epw.org.in/showArticles.php?root=2006&leaf=06&filename=10213&filetype=pdf Article by Ilaiah] "Merit of Reservations"
* [http://www.vigilonline.com/news/plain_speak/ps_view.asp?plainspeakid=12 Opinion piece] "Anger Is No Substitute For Substance, Mr. Kancha Ilaiah"
* [http://www.christiantoday.com/article/interview.with.dr.kancha.ilaiah.leading.dalit.rights.campaigner.in.india/4495.htm Christianity Today interview with Ilaiah] "Leading Dalit Rights Campaigner in India"
* [http://www.ambedkar.org/reformers/KanchaIlaiah.htm Ambedkar.org interview] with Ilaiah
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