Friday, December 11

21st Century Discourse on Dalits

I received the email below and this is what I responded. The sad part is that he and those other dolts are doing exactly to those poor benighted dalits what others have done to them. They are the useful idiots. If they were smart and they are getting smarter (otherwise the shrillness coefficient from these idiots will not have gone up), they would realise that their economic well being is more tied to being Indians rather than Dalits. Plus economic development and urbanisation will put paid to these people. Still, sometimes its cringe inducing….

Have people actually read the drivel that Kancha produces in the name of scholarship? Its political ideology rather than history, historiography, sociology, anthropology or even political geography. It is not sociology, it sure as heck isn't spiritual and by no means it is scientific. As for discourse, that shrill outpouring of bile and drivel is as conducive to debate and discourse as a sewer.

And looking at the book launch, it has unfortunately proven the point, none (except Professor Rodriguez who I don’t know) are purely there for either political or commercial purposes. I am also not sure what's the connection with Nagaland, or even Burma as she seems to be heading up some Burmese research centre.

Citing American civil war as an example is frankly bewildering and again shows a very large lack of understanding of the background & reasons of that war. For one people (integrationists) to go to war over somebody totally unrelated (the black population) with their own people (secessionists) has never happened in the history of humankind. Never. And spiritual democracy? And yet again, no religion actually claims that, every religion (if Hinduism can indeed be called as such) has discrimination actively built into it. Every one.

So it is not surprising that given the intellectual vacuity of his argument, one would immediately suspect that this was nothing to do with religion but everything to do with politics.

Curioser and curioser.


> Dalit Freedom NetworkP. O. Box 2174  Secunderabad, Andhra
> Pradesh – 500003, India Email Dr. Joseph D’souza - International > President For Press ReleasePost Hindu India by Kancha Ilaiah
> Released21st Century Discourse on Dalit Bahujan,
> Socio-Spiritual and Scientific Revolution in India New Delhi, 
November 26, 2009 In a historic gathering of campaigners for > Dalit Bahujan (India’s “untouchables” and lower castes) human
> rights, Dr. Alana Golmei, a Rongmei Naga tribal woman from 
North East India released Dr. Kancha Ilaiah’s book last evening > at Gulmohar, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. Following a
> short press conference, a panel discussion featured leading
> Dalit-Bahujan thinkers interacting on the themes of the
> book.While congratulating the author, Dr. Alana said, “I am
> delighted to release such profound and revolutionary book,
> which predicts the future of my people and Dalit  Bahujans at
> large, who have been classified as outcastes and untouchable
> by Brahminical hierarchies and kept under socio-political,
> socio-economic, socio-religion and socio-educational
> oppression for last 3000 years. Kancha’s ideology will create
> a welcome debate and discussion in the coming decade on these
> important issues of true freedom for Dalit Bahujans.” 
> Research scholars, students, civil society members, social
> workers, politicians, Dalit activists, and journalists --
> both national and international -- attended the book launch
> and joined the two hour panel discussion. Mr. Yogendra
> Makwana, Former Home Minister of Gujarat state, chaired the
> discussion. Panelists included: Prof. Gail Omvedt, an
> American-born scholar, sociologist, and human rights activist 
who is an Indian citizen; Dr. Joseph D’souza, International > President of the Dalit Freedom Network; Dr. Udit Raj,
> National Chairman of the All India Confederation of SC/ST 
> Organisations; Prof. Valerian Rodrigues, School of Social
> Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi; and Mr. Vivek
> Mehra, Managing Director of Sage Publications. Dr. Joseph
> D’souza, in his panel discussion remarks, said, “Kancha’s
> book, “Post-Hindu India” is the greatest 21st century
> challenge to the Brahminical portion of Hindu society. It
> rationally questions and respectfully reveals the caste
> apartheid facing untouchables, outcastes and the oppressed
> majority of India.” In his remarks, Professor Kancha Ilaiah 
said, “Any religion that says all human beings, men and women > are created by God equally is a spiritual democracy. Hinduism
> says all human beings -- men and women -- are not equally
> created. They were born unequal, live unequal, and die
> unequal. I call this spiritual fascism.” Professor Dr. Kancha
> Ilaiah teaches in the Department of Political Science, 
Osmania University, Hyderabad. He won the prestigious London  > Institute of South Asia (LISA) Award for 2008 for his book
> “Why I am Not a Hindu” and has provided expert testimony to
> commissions in India and abroad about the Dalit Bahujan
> struggle. “The oppressive system of spiritual fascism is
> detrimental to the future of religion and the flourishing of
> our great nation. The idea of spiritual justice or
> varnadharma, used to justify the caste system, as rooted in
> spiritual inequality is the main factor that will affect the
> future of Hinduism,” said Prof. Kancha. As Dalit Bahujans
> continue to struggle against spiritual fascism and search for
> equality and liberation, the nation seems to be heading
> toward a civil war, predicted Prof. Kancha. He cited American
> civil war history, “Racism of black and white in America came
> to end but only at the end of civil war. I hope we can avoid
> this.” The event was organised by Dalit Freedom Network in
> partnership with Sage Publications. Dr. Kancha  Ilaiah serves
> on the Advisory Board of the Dalit Freedom Network. The Dalit
> Freedom Network (, is a non-partisan,
> non-government human rights organization founded in 2002 to
> support the Dalit Bahujan quest for religious freedom, social
> justice, and human dignity through projects in education,
> health care, economic advancement, and social justice
> advocacy and intervention. Sage Publications is an
> independent, international publisher of books, journals, and
> electronic media with offices in India, London, and the 
> United States. Known for a commitment to quality and
> innovation, Sage is a world leader in scholarly, educational,
> and professional markets. See excerpt below about the book. 
Released by  Madhu. ChandraMedia In-chargeDFN - Delhi9716004939>  About the Book “Post-Hindu India” by Kancha IlaiahFrom: Kancha > Ilaiah, the author of the best selling  book Why I am Not a
> Hindu, pens a thought-provoking critique of Brahmanism and
> the caste system in India, while anticipating the death of
> Hinduism as a direct consequence of, what he says is, its
> anti-scientific and anti-nationalistic stand. This work
> challenges Hinduism`s interpretation of history, with a
> virulent attack on caste politics, and also takes a
> refreshing look at the necessity of encouraging indigenous
> scientific thought for the sake of national progress. It
> establishes Hinduism as a `backward` religion that suppresses
> the latent scientific and productive potential of the
> Dalit–Bahujan communities. The author says this oppressive
> system of spiritual fascism is detrimental to both the future
> of religion and the nation-state. He thus criticizes the idea
> of spiritual justice or varnadharma, used to justify the
> caste system, as rooted in spiritual inequality. On a
> micro-analytical level, it is based on a thorough study of
> the productive knowledge systems of the Dalit? Bahujan
> communities of Andhra Pradesh, and provides a detailed
> day-to-day analysis of the scientific technological processes
> and events at work in the life of a member of these
> communities. On a macro level, it shows how Hinduism fails to
> negotiate between faith and reason, unlike other major
> religions of the world. Kancha Ilaiah critiques the
> intellectual imagination of the dominant communities and
> inspires the marginalized. In the process of doing so he
> crafts a work of immense socio-political interest which
> appeals to academics, and also to all those who are concerned
> about contemporary India`s polity and social fabric.

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