Why I Am Not a Hindu

A Sudra Critique of Hindutva Philosophy, Culture and Political Economy

Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd

9789353282622

Sage, 2018

163 pages

Price INR 450.00
Book Club Price INR 360.00
SKU
pro_1869

Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd writes with passionate anger, laced with sarcasm, on the caste system and Indian society. He looks at the socioeconomic and cultural differences between the Dalit-Bahujans and Hindus in the contexts of childhood, family life, market relations, power relations, Gods and Goddesses, death and, not the least, Hindutva. Synthesizing many of the ideas of Bahujans, he presents their vision of a more just society.

In this second edition, Ilaiah Shepherd presents an Afterword that discusses the history of this book, often seen as the manifesto of the downtrodden Dalit-Bahujans. He talks of its reviews as well as of the abuse he has received from its detractors. He reminds us of the need for an ongoing dialogue. As he says, he wrote the book ‘for all who have open minds. My request to Brahmin, Baniya and neo-Kshatriyas [upper-class Sudras] is this: You learnt only what to teach others—the Dalit-Bahujans. Now in your own interest and in the interest of this great country, you must learn to listen and to read what we have to say.’

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.