From a Shepherd Boy to an Intellectual: My Memoirs

9789381345412

Samya-Sage,

359 pages

Price INR 595.00
Book Club Price INR 505.00
SKU

“The most known autobiography in India is that of Mahatma Gandhi, from a Baniya vegetarian background. The other most known autobiography is that of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who was to some extent a de-Brahmanized Brahmin (an un-Hindu in his own way, a meatarian, beefarian and an arch enemy of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh). Quite tragically no Shudra leader of a national stature has written an autobiography or memoirs that I know of, at least . . . Of late, many Dalit writers are writing their own autobiographies or memoirs. But the Other Backward Classes have not even been doing that. In that sense mine is the first story of a Shudra, written in English, to tell the truth upside down from the point of view of the Gandhian truth and also the historical brahminical truth . . . Truth and Untruth are two different and opposite values from the Dalitbahujan and Brahmin-Baniya points of view and value systems.” Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd

LWB501

“The most known autobiography in India is that of Mahatma Gandhi, from a Baniya vegetarian background. The other most known autobiography is that of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who was to some extent a de-Brahmanized Brahmin (an un-Hindu in his own way, a meatarian, beefarian and an arch enemy of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh). Quite tragically no Shudra leader of a national stature has written an autobiography or memoirs that I know of, at least . . . Of late, many Dalit writers are writing their own autobiographies or memoirs. But the Other Backward Classes have not even been doing that. In that sense mine is the first story of a Shudra, written in English, to tell the truth upside down from the point of view of the Gandhian truth and also the historical brahminical truth . . . Truth and Untruth are two different and opposite values from the Dalitbahujan and Brahmin-Baniya points of view and value systems.” Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd

Caste is Race in Ancient Times, Race is Caste in Modern Times, Untouchability is an Aryan Construct. They said God has not created Untouchables.’ Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd goes on to say, ‘Many people from the Brahmin–Baniya castes have written about their own greatness in their autobiographies, in English and in the regional languages. But I have not seen even a single autobiography of a person born and brought up in the shepherd community’. He adds that it is in writing about themselves that people gain a sense of self-respect. Shepherd’s evocative memoirs reveal the struggle for education and dignity that a great majority of Indians undergo. As a little boy herding sheep and goats, he and his brother were the first to go to school. The author writes of his long and often interrupted journey to becoming a writer and an intellectual, without support and having to overcome adversities.

Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd

Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd recently retired as Director, Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad. He is Chairman of Telangana Mass and Social Organizations (T-Mass) that works for English-medium education. He has helped to build up Dalit-Bahujan and civil liberties movements in India. He received the Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Award, 2000.

His paper ‘Experience as Framework of Debate’, which appeared in the Economic & Political Weekly, set up new terms for the debate on the reservation policy during the anti-Mandal struggle in 1990. His contributions have appeared in Economic & Political Weekly, Frontier and Mainstream, and in major national English dailies like The Hindu, The Times of India, Hindustan Times, The Indian Express, Deccan Herald and Deccan Chronicle. He is also a regular contributor to Telugu magazines and to dailies like Vaartha and Andhra Jyothi.

As his books raised a major debate in English and other regional media, he wrote a book in Telugu, Manatatwam (Our Philosophy), which put the Dalit-Bahujan productive philosophy in a new perspective. The book became an ideological weapon among Dalit-Bahujan and Left circles in Andhra Pradesh. Among his books are Turning the Pot, Tilling the Land: Dignity of Labour in Our Times and The Weapon of the Other: Dalit-Bahujan Writings and the Remaking of Indian Nationalist Thought.

Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd was a post-doctoral fellow with Dalit Freedom Network, Denver, Colorado, 2004-2005, and as a member of the network, he has deposed before several international committees about the historical role of caste and untouchability in sustaining a modern form of slavery in India. He was a member of the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) that took the caste and untouchability issue to the UN Conference on Racism, Racial Discrimination and Xenophobia at Durban in 2001.