21st Century Discourse on Dalit Bahujan, Socio-Spiritual & Scientific Revolution

In a historic gathering of campaigners for Dalit Bahujan (India's "untouchables" and lower castes) human rights, Dr. Alana Golmei, a Rongmei Naga tribal woman from North East India released Dr. Kancha Ilaiah's book last evening at Gulmohar, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. Following a short press conference, a panel discussion featured leading Dalit-Bahujan thinkers interacting on the themes of the book.
While congratulating the author, Dr. Alana said, "I am delighted to release such profound and revolutionary book, which predicts the future of my people and Dalit Bahujans at large, who have been classified as outcastes and untouchable by Brahminical hierarchies and kept under socio-political, socio-economic, socio-religion and socio-educational oppression for last 3000 years. Kancha's ideology will create a welcome debate and discussion in the coming decade on these important issues of true freedom for Dalit Bahujans."
Research scholars, students, civil society members, social workers, politicians, Dalit activists, and journalists - both national and international - attended the book launch and joined the two hour panel discussion. Mr. Yogendra Makwana, Former Home Minister of Gujarat state, chaired the discussion. Panelists included: Prof. Gail Omvedt, an American-born scholar, sociologist, and human rights activist who is an Indian citizen; Dr. Joseph D'souza, International President of the Dalit Freedom Network; Dr. Udit Raj, National Chairman of the All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations; Prof. Valerian Rodrigues, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi; and Mr. Vivek Mehra, Managing Director of Sage Publications.
Dr. Joseph D'souza, in his panel discussion remarks, said, "Kancha's book, "Post-Hindu India" is the greatest 21st century challenge to the Brahminical portion of Hindu society. It rationally questions and respectfully reveals the caste apartheid facing untouchables, outcastes and the oppressed majority of India."
In his remarks, Professor Kancha Ilaiah said, "Any religion that says all human beings, men and women are created by God equally is a spiritual democracy. Hinduism says all human beings - men and women - are not equally created. They were born unequal, live unequal, and die unequal. I call this spiritual fascism."
Professor Dr. Kancha Ilaiah teaches in the Department of Political Science, Osmania University, Hyderabad. He won the prestigious London Institute of South Asia (LISA) Award for 2008 for his book "Why I am Not a Hindu" and has provided expert testimony to commissions in India and abroad about the Dalit Bahujan struggle.
"The oppressive system of spiritual fascism is detrimental to the future of religion and the flourishing of our great nation. The idea of spiritual justice or varnadharma, used to justify the caste system, as rooted in spiritual inequality is the main factor that will affect the future of Hinduism," said Prof. Kancha.
As Dalit Bahujans continue to struggle against spiritual fascism and search for equality and liberation, the nation seems to be heading toward a civil war, predicted Prof. Kancha. He cited American civil war history, "Racism of black and white in America came to end but only at the end of civil war. I hope we can avoid this."
The event was organised by Dalit Freedom Network in partnership with Sage Publications. Dr. Kancha Ilaiah serves on the Advisory Board of the Dalit Freedom Network.
The Dalit Freedom Network (www.dalitnetwork.org), is a non-partisan, non-government human rights organization founded in 2002 to support the Dalit Bahujan quest for religious freedom, social justice, and human dignity through projects in education, health care, economic advancement, and social justice advocacy and intervention.
Sage Publications is an independent, international publisher of books, journals, and electronic media with offices in India, London, and the United States. Known for a commitment to quality and innovation, Sage is a world leader in scholarly, educational, and professional markets. See excerpt below about the book.