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Why I Am Not a Hindu

Why I Am Not a Hindu
A Sudra Critique of Hindutva Philosophy, Culture and Political Economy

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

January 2019 | 192 pages | SAGE Select
‘The most gratifying thing for me [is] that [this book] was listed as a millennium book [by The Pioneer] along with Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s Annihilation of Caste. Moreover, it has been translated into several Indian languages. In a way it has become a weapon in the hands of Dalitbahujan activists’. 
-from the Afterword to the second edition. 

Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd 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. 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 learnt 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.’

Preface to the Second Edition
Preface to the First Edition
Childhood Formations
Marriage, Market and Social Relations
The Emergence of Neo-Kshatriyas and the Reorganization of Power Relations
Contemporary Hinduism
Hindu Gods and Us: Our Goddesses and Hindus
Hindu Death and Our Death
Dalitization Not Hinduization
Afterword: On Being an Un-Hindu Indian

‘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, 15 November 2018

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

The Indian Express
Key features
• Written from the author’s interactions with Dalitbahujan activists and his own experiences, this book is a cry against the injustice of centuries and for this reason is being brought out again. 
• It talks of Dalitbahujans as the ‘productive castes’. It shows how the small minority of upper castes live off the majority’s contributions. 
• It counters the concept of Sanskritization (how people lower down the caste hierarchy follow Brahmin practices to rise socially) with Dalitization (all people sharing Dalit beliefs and practicing equality). 
• The book talks about how Dalitbahujans let themselves be suppressed and exploited. It shows how they have nothing in common with the upper castes and how they can assert themselves and fight for equality and justice. 

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ISBN: 9789353282622