Tag Archives: Kancha Ilaiah

Statement of Solidarity with Kancha Ilaiah

[The following is a statement in support of scholar-activist Prof  Kancha Ilaiah, who is under attack from a number  of Hindutva organizations and  against whom the Hyderabad police recently registered a case for ‘hurting religious sentiments’. The tendency to  resort to police cases, in order to stifle any criticism of Hindutva and the regime has assumed menacing proportions, against which we stand  firmly with Kancha Ilaiah. Those who wish to add their names to the statement and express solidarity may do so by adding them as comments.]

We, the undersigned, strongly condemn the continued harassment, attacks on and intimidation of Prof Kancha Ilaiah at the hands of various Brahmin / brahminical organizations, police and the state administration of Telengana for his political writings and views.  We also hold responsible for this intimidatory environment, the Telugu media that reportedly published distorted and misleading reports of Prof Ilaiah’s speech.

While speaking at the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, a wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on May 14, 2016, at Vijayawada (Amaravathi), Prof. Ilaiah had  said: “The Brahmins as a community have not contributed anything to the production process of the Indian nation. Even now their role in the basic human survival based productive activity is not there. On the contrary, they constructed a spiritual theory that repeatedly tells people that production is pollution.” Continue reading Statement of Solidarity with Kancha Ilaiah

Condemn the Attack on Kancha Ilaiah for asking, ‘Is God a democrat?’

[We at Kafila condemn the repeated  attacks on scholar activist Professor Kancha Ilaiah by the Hindu Right and  the recent case registered against him by the Hyderabad police. According to a Times of India report, Ilaiah had on May 14 delivered a lecture in Vijayawada in a programme entitled `Nationalism and Divergent Views’ organised by CITU where he reportedly criticised Hindu gods and scriptures, according to the police. Following this an advocate filed a private petition in the court of the XI Metropolitan Magistrate court, Ranga Reddy , requesting to register an FIR under relevant sections of IPC. The court directed cops to register a case under sections 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs),153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion) and 298 (uttering, words, etc. with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person) of IPC.”

Earlier, last year the  VHP had initiated a campaign against him which was followed by the filing of a case against him by the Hyderabad police. That was in relation to an article Kancha Ilaiah had written, asking ‘Is God a Democrat?’ The story by Ajaz Ashraf from Scroll.in linked below refers to last year’s case but due to an inadvertent mix-up, was initially extracted by us as the one in the eye of the current controversy. The error is seriously regretted and we thank one of our readers for pointing this out. The Times of India report linked to above gives refers to the speech that is currently in the eye of the storm.

Professor Ilaiah has now himself described the current attacks on him in this piece in Scroll.in, where he signs his article as Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd, recalling his caste name (translated into English, in order to mark his distance from the brahmans).

The attacks on  Professor Ilaiah are totally unacceptable. We have all read and long admired his writings. Many of us have hugely benefited and learnt a lot from them. The time has come for us to collectively put our heads together and fight this menace of Hindutva, which after hurting every living being’s dignity and sentiments, has now begun claim to be the perpetual and universal victim. Dalits today cannot speak of the indignities and oppression that they have suffered at the hands of the Hindus – even that has become a matter of ‘hurt sentiments’. The response has to be worked out politically and intellectually so that the law is not repeatedly turned into a surrogate of Hindutva politics.]

The Hyderabad police have registered a case against renowned social scientist Kancha Ilaiah, after Vishwa Hindu Parishad activists complained that an opinion piece he wrote in the Telugu newspaper Andhra Jyothi had hurt their religious sentiments.

They filed their complaint at Hyderabad’s Sultan Bazar Station was filed on May 9, the day Ilaiah’s article titled Devudu Prajasamya Vada Kada? (Is God a democrat?) was published.

VHP activists Pagudakula Balaswamy, Thirupathi Naik and two others accused Ilaiah of comparing Hinduism with Islam and Christianity, insulting Hindu Gods by comparing them to mortals, mocking their worship, and for attempting to trigger clashes between upper and lower classes (by which they presumably meant castes).

On the basis of their complaint, Inspector P. Shiva Shankar Rao wrote a letter to the Senior Assistant Public Prosecutor, who advised the police to register a case under Section 153 (A) and Section 295 (A), which empower the authorities to act against people who commit deliberate and malicious acts aiming at outraging religious sentiment and spreading enmity between groups.

Case under investigation

The public prosecutor’s legal opinion led to a case being filed on May 15 against Ilaiah, the management of the Andhra Jyothi newspaper, its editor and publisher. The case is currently under investigation, at the completion of which a decision will be taken to whether to chargesheet them.

A police officer at the station told Scroll that Ilaiah is in the habit of articulating provocative views in his articles, which can and do hurt the sentiments of people. “Why does he have to make comments against practices which are dear to people?” the officer said, declining to give his name.

Read the full article here

A civil-war is on the doorstep of India: Interview with Kancha Ilaiah by Mahmood Kooria

This is a guest post by Mahmood Kooria

We are publishing an English translation of an important interview of the intellectual and academic Kancha Ilaiah, conducted by Mahmood Kooria for the Malayalam weekly Mathrubhumi. While what I see as Professor Ilaiah’s underestimation and perhaps misreading of the historic role of the Communists in Indian politics leaves me severely uncomfortable, especially when he exonerates the right from commensurate charges of elitism, his framing of Hindustva and Modi’s appeal within the great stream of caste in the subcontinent is brilliant and thought-provoking, as always. 

Kooria conducted the interview as well as translated it in to English. His introduction is as follows, “At a time when there was no any such discussion, in 2002 Professor Kancha Ilaiah predicted that Narendra Modi will be the prime-ministerial candidate of Baratiya Janata Party. It has come true and now Modi is in the office. At this point, I talked with him at Moulana Azad Urdu University Hyderabad where he chairs the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy. In the conversation, he talked about the future of Modi government and he predicted that a civil war is going to break out in India if Modi does not cater the needs of backward classes. A Malayalam-version of this interview was published in the Mathrubhumi Illustrated Weekly (August 24, 2014).”

Mahmood Kooria: Ten years ago you wrote that Modi will be the prime ministerial candidate of BJP. What would be your response as your prediction has come true?

Kancha Ilaiah: Well, at that time I was predicting that based on the Left parties’ indifference to understand the caste question. The caste question is not been seriously taken by the Left parties. And, after Mandal, the BJP and the RSS wings started looking at caste-question seriously because when Babari Masjid was demolished they mobilized a lot of backward classes. Though they oppose Mandal reservation, they wanted the backward classes to be part of the Hindu religion. Around 1994, a non-Brahmin called Rajju Bhaiya became the Sarsanghchalak of the RSS. Then he recruited a large number of backward classes, large number of youth, and he promoted the people like Narendra Modi, Uma Bharati at that time. Earlier, the first backward-class chief minister of Uttar Pradesh was a BJP man: Kalyan Sing. He was the chief minister in 1992 when the Babri Masjid was demolished.

The Sangh Pariwar was responding to the backward class demands more. But the Left or the Congress was not responding to the OBCs. The Congress was responding to the Dalits and Muslims. There was upper caste all the time on the top. So, when Narendra Modi became the chief minister and this whole atmosphere was created, I was writing a column in The Hindu. I thought that this seems to be cause/course of India, since the Hindu religion is surviving because of the backward classes. It is inevitable for the Hindutva organizations that they will have to project an OBC for the prime-ministership. But there was resistance from within itself. It is not that the Brahmins have given up the principle of varna-dharma. After that article came and of course after my writing Why I am not a Hindu itself, the backward classes even within RSS seemed to use that material for their advantage. The communists did not use or recognize it. The question of labour and caste which I have been consistently raising, which was also part of their theory, they did not care about. So the Communist Party remained tightly under the control of upper castes.

Continue reading A civil-war is on the doorstep of India: Interview with Kancha Ilaiah by Mahmood Kooria