Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Untouchable God 
Kancha Ilaiah
This witty, tongue-in-cheek novel that laughs at the foibles and hypocrisies of Brahmins and upper castes across India begins with a crime. Paraiah, a dalit, is beaten to death for the crime of thinking about God, which might well lead to thoughts of equality . . . Six men representing the remarkable Brahmins of India celebrate his death, Veda Shastry of Tamil Nadu (where the purest examples of exalted brahminhood are to be found) is the rightful leader. Namboodri of Kerala is a from a caste that created the most perfect system of discrimination that the world has seen; Krishnamurthy of Karnataka and Appa Rao of Andhra Pradesh are slightly moderate; Tilak of Maharashtra dreams of increasing discrimination while Banerjee of Bengal believes he is above caste.As the men take their leave of Shastry, the author’s gaze follows them ironically. Lastly, comes Isaiah, an American black, who knows all about race, and journeys to India to find out about the non-violence movement that had inspired Martin Luther King, Jr., and discovers much else besides.

demy octavo pb 248pp ISBN 978-81-85604-33-6  Rs 350
Published by Samya

Kancha Ilaiah is Professor and Director, Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad. Amongst his writings is Why I Am not a Hindu: A Sudra Critique of Hindutva Philosophy, Culture and Political Economy (Samya rev ed, 2005).
Enquiries: 16 Southern Ave, Calcutta 700026  tel:033 2466 0812/ 033 6519 5737
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The Jaipur Literature Festival presented "Voices from Under" on 28 January 2013. Namita Gokhale described Untouchable God as "a witty and ironical novel about the hypocrisy about caste Brahmins and upper castes".

Get the details:

“Two very powerful motifs run through the different sets of narratives here. One is that the oppressed section of humanity has been given a voice. Prof. Ilaiah identifies the categories of persons who are the social constructs resulting from community practices, and closely examines those who touch “others” in intra communal/caste and inter-communal/caste relationship. He uses event and dialogue as representational platforms. What makes this fictionalised theory very effective is its sardonic tone and use of irony that is thoroughly sophisticated.
Prof. Ilaiah’s novel shall remain in my heart for long for its harsh truthfulness and also for the humane possibility it holds out. Problems are to be recognised; a single novel cannot provide solutions. This novel is true to both the above truisms. But it helps the reader to walk away, not with hatred, but hope in her/his heart.”
Amina Kishore: The Asian Age, 30 January 2013

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