Kancha Ilaiah

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Kancha Ilaiah (born 5 October 1952) is the chairman of the political science department at Osmania University, a social activist and author. He is a Buddhist and a major figure in the ideological movement against the Indian caste system. His position is often called anti-Hindu, as noted by his critics.


  • Hinduism has destroyed all positive elements that normally exist in a human being. During the post-colonial period their energies were diverted to manipulate education, employment, production and development subtly. Their minds are poisoned with the notion that productive work is mean and that productive castes are inferior. No ruling class in the world is as dehumanized as the Indian brahminical castes. They can be rehumanized only by pushing them into productive work and by completely diverting their attention from the temple, the office, power-seeking, and so on.
  • Hinduism is a religion of violence. All Hindu gods killed their enemies and became heroic images. This is the only religion in the world where the killer becomes god. Whom did they kill? From Brahma to Krishna, those who were killed were Dalitbahujans. Now these images and the stories and narratives and everything is out there in the civil society. Now, because of this, the consciousness of worshipping the killer or worshipping violence did not give any space for human rights. So my question is the human rights discourse must start with an anti-warrior position.
  • Hinduism always used violence as creed. For Hinduism, for Hindu dharma, resolving of a conflict is only by killing. There is no other discourse. Debate is not there. You have to kill the enemy. Whereas Buddha believed in discourse and resolving the conflict. So in a system where you have the two streams of thought, debate and discourse, human rights and anti-human rights, even the left has to take that historical tradition and examine its potential and use it for its propaganda systems. It is in this context that I have been saying that there is no use if you simply borrow concepts from the West. Christianity has a different ethic; it was an ethic of sacrifice. Christ's crucifixion is a symbol of sacrifice, it is not a killing symbol. The lamb is a productive symbol.
    • "The State of Dalit Mobilization : An Interview with Kancha Ilaiah" in Ghadar Vol. 1, No. 3 (26 November 1997)
  • I have a feeling that if a Dalitist state gets established it will be a far better Socialist model for the world than the other models which were already established because Dalitbahujan society was never so religiously fundamentalist, there is no such constructed religion like that, it has been much more spontaneous, and they have lived for such a long time with that kind of a thinking. So from that to a kind of conscious educated Dalitist socialist system, I think that the productive forces would get released a thousand times, and equality will come much better but it should be under Dalit leadership. Now if under Dalit women leadership if a Dalitist state and society is established I think we will see a very bright future for the whole country.
    • "The State of Dalit Mobilization : An Interview with Kancha Ilaiah" in Ghadar Vol. 1, No. 3 (26 November 1997)
  • Yes, I hate Hinduism. Hinduism is not ours, it is against us. If we have to become Hindus, the Brahmins will have to change the entire religious texts, our food habits, our gods and goddesses and images. I am angry at the Hindu gods.
    Look at the images of Hindu gods. They wield weapons. We read that Hindu gods killed our own ancestors. How can I worship the killers as divine? What kind of a religion is it? There are three major religions — Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. These major religions were constructed by prophets who sacrificed and struggled in life for people's liberation. All these three religions never said that the larger sections of their people were born from the feet of God.
  • Just as the Brahmins are shouting Hinduise India, we should shout Dalitise India. Shout that we hate Hinduism, we hate Brahmanism. Capture the Hindu temples by expelling the Brahmins from them. … The hated must hate. They must become powerful and organised. I want to create anger.

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