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Join us for an educational book review and discussion of "Why I Am Not a Hindu: A Critique of Hindutva Philosophy, Culture and Political Economy" by Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd. The author takes a frank look at Hindu nationalism and caste divisions that continue in Indian society.
From the publisher:
"The author writes with passionate anger, laced with sarcasm, on the caste system and Indian society. He looks at the socioeconomic and cultural differences between the Dalitbahujans and Hindus in the contexts of childhood, family life, market relations, power relations, Gods and Goddesses, death and, not the least, Hindutva (Hindu nationalism). 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 Dalitbahujans. 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 learned only what to teach others―the Dalitbahujans. 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."
In fairness to everyone attending who expects to have a meaningful discussion and a productive learning experience, you must have read this entire book in order to attend this meeting.
For this video conference meeting, you must have a computer with a camera, microphone, and speakers or headset. We are using RingCentral to host this meeting, but you don't need a RingCentral account to join the meeting.
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Why I Am Not a Hindu: A Sudra Critique of Hindutva Philosophy, Culture and Political Economy
by Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd
SAGE Publications,[masked] pages
About the Author
"Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd recently retired as Director, Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad. He has helped to build up Dalit-Bahujan and civil liberties movements in India.
His contributions have appeared in Economic and 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.
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,[masked], 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."
"Ilaiah’s trenchant attack on the spiritual fascism that excludes the weak and the poorest, makes him one of the most passionate and philosophical voices of the Ambedkarite movement and its challenge to Brahminical Hindu society. Ilaiah is one of the foremost thinkers of that powerful counterargument."
― Sagarika Ghose, Consulting Editor, The Times of India
"Mr. Ilaiah’s books such as God as Political Philosopher: Buddha′s Challenge to Brahminism, Why I Am Not a Hindu, Post-Hindu India: A Discourse in Dalit-Bahujan Socio-Spiritual and Scientific Revolution explore new ideas and are provocative . . . challenge conventional thinking, the majority Hindu view and the caste system as an element of Hindu practice."
― The Indian Express
"About lived realities, work, instruments, culture and social relations . . . products of years of field work."
― The Indian Express