Buffalo Nationalism: A Critique of Spiritual FascismKancha Ilaiah
demy octavo pb 206pp ISBN 978-81-85604-69-X/69-5 2004 3rd rpt 2012 Rs 300
The buffalo [Ilaiah says] represents the oppressed and least affluent class in our society. ‘Buffalo is an apt metaphor for the long-suffering Dalit. It is a symbol that reminds us of extreme violence perpetrated against them.’ ~The Week
‘O Mother Lachumamma, your blouse is torn,
Your hair is soiled, your sari in rags,
You have no money to buy new ones.
Even in that condition what have you done?
You planted saplings, walking backwards like a bull,
In order to produce food from the mud.’
Kancha Ilaiah translates these words of the Telugu poet, singer, activist Gaddar to emphasize the productivity of the ordinary people, the Dalitbahujans of India, who receive so little in return, deprived of the gains of development and globalization but not of the losses in their wake. Arguing forcefully for social justice, this book contains a selection from Kancha Ilaiah’s columns in popular newspapers like The Hindu, the Deccan Chronicle, the Deccan Herald, the Hindustan Times among others, and journals like Mainstream and the Economic and Political Weekly.
Strongly advocating the Dalitization of Indian society that will undo its moorings in spiritual fascism, which refuses equality or freedom to the majority, he commends the positive values of the buffalo as a productive animal that epitomizes the qualities of the Dalitbahujans. Among the many issues he tackles are the right to conversion, the role of the OBCs as providing muscle power to the Hindutva forces, the imperative need for the spread of English amongst all castes, for reservation quotas in education and employment, on globalization and gender. Combative, heartfelt, intellectually rigorous, these pieces present his vision of a more just society.
Kancha Ilaiah is professor and director, Centre for the Study of social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad, and an activist in the Dalit-Bahujan and civil liberties movement.
He is the author of Untouchable God published by Samya in 2012,God as a Political Philosopher:Buddha's Challenge to Brahminism and Why I am not a Hindu.
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