Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Kancha Ilaiah: Why I Am Not a Hindu

Vishnu surrounded by his ten avatars

Bertrand Russell’s 1927 book Why I Am Not a Christian created a new genre of writing by apostates—books with the title ‘Why I am Not of this religion or that movement’ became common.

In 1996, Kancha Ilaiah published his book Why I Am Not a Hindu. His book is written in a typical Russell style—the content of his book, not just the title, seems inspired (plagiarized) from Russel. In so many passages of his book, Iliah has used Russell’s arguments against Christianity to make his own case against Hinduism. 

Koenraad Elst  has reviewed Ilaiah’s book, and found parallels between Ilaiah’s denunciation of Hindus and the anti-Jewish caricatures of the Nazis. Here’s an excerpt from Elst’s review: 

“These anti-Hindu forces are exploiting the Aryan Invasion Theory to the hilt, infusing crank racism in vast doses into India’s body politic.  Read, e.g. Kancha Ilaiah’s book Why I Am Not a Hindu (Calcutta, 1996), sponsored by the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, with its anti-Brahmin cartoons: move the hairlocks of the Brahmin villains from the back of the head to just in front of the their ears, and you get exact replicas of the anti-Semitic cartoons from the Nazi paper, Der Stumer.”

Ilaiah is not a human rights activist. He is a Hindu hater. He is a propagator of racial myths. In his book, he posits racial categories which never existed in Hinduism. He depicts the Hindu Gods as oppressors. He wants his readers to believe that the Ramayana was a race war in which the Aryan North suppressed the native South. Just replace the word Hindu in Ilaiah’s book with Jew or black, and you will find yourself reading the worst kind of anti-semitic or racist literature. 

Here’s another passage from Elst’s review:

“Why I Am Not a Hindu is a caricature for simpletons. It starts out with a few interesting sketches of caste life in his childhood village, but then descends into unwarranted theoretical speculations for which he is simply not equipped. Essentially he assumes, like most haters of Hinduism, that “Hinduism is caste, wholly caste and nothing but caste”, and that the only way to break free from caste is to destroy Hinduism root and branch.”

No comments: