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Kancha Ilaiah and his gems on ‘Nationalism’

Kancha Ilaiah

Imagine for a moment a Sakshi Maharaj or aYogi Adityanath saying, ‘Vegetarianism is anti-nationalism,’ or ‘West Indies won the match against India because they eat meat.’ MSM journalists would have had a field day. Thought provoking op-eds would have filled the newspapers. Snide remarks, to derisive comments would have flooded twitter.

What happens if these words of wisdom come from Kancha Ilaiah instead of from Sakshi Maharaj and Yogi Adityanath?

Stunning silence. Not just that. He passes off as intellectual. And if you think sanity is an essential requirement of an intellectual, you must be one of those ‘old types’, out of sync with the current secular thinking. Otherwise, how do you explain Sagarika Ghose lauding him as an ‘Earthy Pundit’ and sensing the ‘gaiety of robust combat’ in his ‘intellectual adventurousness’ a few years ago? Even the interviewer at Firstpost to whom he gave the secret behind West Indies’ victory uses a mild tone of appreciation for Ilaiah.

Anyone who has been observing Kancha Ilaiah since the publication of his book ‘Why I am not a Hindu’ in mid nineties would not have missed the singular aspect of his personality.


He is obsessed with Brahmins and meat.


For him only Brahmins are Hindus. He tells Sagarika, ‘Capture Hindu temples by expelling Brahmins from them.’ Off and on, he tags Baniyas along with Brahmins in his book ‘Why I am not a Hindu.’ He is unable to accept the fact that many other castes consider themselves as Hindus. He sees Brahmin-Baniya conspiracy in this—a conspiracy aimed at maintaining the hegemony of Brahmins by co-opting upper caste Sudras so that they can keep Dalitbahujans under check. He calls them neo-Kshatriyas (pages 37 and 38 of Why I am not a Hindu).

He hates Brahma. Why? Because he is a ‘light brown skinned Aryan’ (page 74). What about Vishnu who is a ‘blue-skinned God’? He still does not like because Vishnu, he is convinced, must have been created by Brahmins as a compromise when Kshatriyas revolted against them. And who are Kshatriyas according to Ilaiah? ‘A hybrid caste that might have perhaps emerged in cross-breeding between white-skinned Aryans and dark-skinned Dravidian Dalitbahujans’ (pages 76-77)!

Then Ilaiah must be liking Shiva, you would think; after all, Shiva is ‘dark-skinned and dressed like a tribal.’ No, Ilaiah will not fall so easily for the Brahmin conspiracy. Shiva, he opines, ‘plays a subordinate role’ to Brahma and Vishnu and was created to establish a ‘consent base among the tribals.’ Ilaiah is not content with slighting male Gods. Saraswati was created by Brahmins to deny education to Dalit-bahujans while Lakshmi would deprive them of wealth.

So, what is Ilaiah’s thought process about Hindu Gods? If the God is fair-skinned, He must be shunned because he represents Brahmins and does not look like Dalitbahujans. And if the God is dark-skinned and looked like Dalit-bahujans, still He must be shunned because it is a Brahmin conspiracy to mollify Dalit-bahujans.


Meat and beef, instead of being just matters of choice, are an obsession with him. In fact, he is ready to accept a God only if He makes meat permissible to him. According to this report in the blog Scroll, which translates and summarises one of his controversial articles in Telugu, Ilaiah feels that Bible and Koran have created democratic Gods. Who is a democratic God? One who places humans ‘superior to all animals (including cow)’ and defines that nature and its creatures are meant for food.

Yes, that’s democratic! Doesn’t matter if the same God wants those who don’t believe in him (not ‘her’) to be tortured and burnt alive in hell. Doesn’t matter if the same God wants to control every aspect of your life and punishes you for not surrendering to his wishes. That’s not undemocratic, because that God allows you to eat meat!

‘Hindus, including Brahmin priests, have historically eaten beef in India,’ he declared in Times Lit Fest. ‘Those who believe that the cow is sacred and should not be eaten should not call it Hinduism. They should call it the cow religion.’ If you feel like asking why he hates Hinduism if it permits meat, read again the 3rd paragraph above: Sanity is not a virtue of secular intellectuals.

Ilaiah declares that ‘he is not very tall and strong, but his brain is working because he ate lot of goat brain in his childhood.’ While he is happy that Narendra Modi is learning English, he still has an advice for him: Eat non-veg because with vegetarian food you don’t learn fast.

What is the proof or evidence he has for his views on Hindu Gods and the efficacy of meat?


Kancha Ilaiah’s CV says he was a professor of political science at Osmania University for many years. Currently he is a director of the Centre for Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy at Maulana Azad National Urdu University. It is not clear whether this role entails interactions with students. If it does, one wonders how many young minds he would have corrupted over the years with his perverted views.

At a time when Hinduism is trying to rise above the caste system, why are these elements bent on perpetuating it by corrupting the minds of OBCs and Dalits? Whose agenda are the likes of Ilaiah serving?

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