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God as Political Philosopher

God as Political Philosopher
Buddha’s Challenge to Brahminism

First Edition
  • Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd - Retired, Director, Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad

January 2019 | 260 pages | SAGE Samya
In this provocative and scholarly book, Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd propounds a view of Gautama Buddha as India’s first social revolutionary. Buddha did his best to give the principles of tribal democracy and egalitarianism a sanctuary in his own sangha. In so doing, he foreshadowed modern India’s experiment with parliamentary democracy. Critical of the caste system, Buddha inducted low caste members into the sangha and made them his trusted advisers. He gave women an honoured place in the sangha. Dissent was indeed permitted, and even Buddha was not above the law. 

Pre-dating Socrates and Plato by some years, Buddha also foreshadowed key elements of their philosophy.

Scholars on Buddha and Buddhism
Pre-Buddhist Society
Gautama Buddha’s Life and Philosophy
The State and Its Origins
Justice, Democracy and Administration
Property, Rights and Duties
Class and Caste

This book . . . shows that Buddhist theorizing is as powerful as that of the ancient Greek thinkers, and fulfils the dream of Ambedkar that Buddha should become the basis of our study of the ancient state, rights, property and justice.

Gopal Guru,
Political Scientist

Kancha Ilaiah’s work continues the legacy of Iyothee Thass, Rahul Sankirtayana and Ambedkar of interpreting Buddha for our times.

Uma Chakravarti,
Feminist Historian and Filmmaker

“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, 15 November 2018

“About lived realities, work, instruments, culture and social relations…products of years of field work.”

The Indian Express
Key features
• Buddha was against inequality, caste, untouchability, the harsh treatment of women. He challenged Brahminism and propounded different beliefs. This bestselling book is being brought out again as it shows how Buddha’s ideas are extremely relevant today.
• The book discusses what philosophy is in the western and Indian contexts and the different schools of thought, colonial, nationalist and post-independence.
• It examines pre-Buddhist socio-economic and political conditions that led to the rise of Buddha. It discusses Buddha’s ideas on justice and the new institution he founded.
• It analyses Buddha’s thoughts on class, caste, gender and how to achieve an equal society. It provides a detailed discussion on the position of the deprived and marginalized in Buddha’s times and also in modern India.

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ISBN: 9789353282592