Skip to main content

Telugu Dalit scholar gets death threats, says: Social smuggling denotes tight caste business encirclement

By Our Representative
Noted Dalit scholar Kancha Ilaiah is again news for his book “Post-Hindu India” where he controversially describes caste economic exploitation as “social smuggling”. While his effigies are being burnt across Telegana and Andhra Pradesh by Arya Vysya Sangam, demanding a ban on the book and his immediate arrest, he has been receiving death threats, too.
Refusing to budge, in his sharp defence, Ilaiah has said that his concept of “social smuggling” in his 2009 book essentially denotes to “the Vysya model of caste based business historically leading to a massive amount of wealth being hidden underground called Guptha Dhana.”
The chapter, “Social Smugglers”, which was first published by a local book seller with the title “Samajika Smugglerlu: Komatollu” as a booklet is being burnt in the two Telugu-speaking states to “pressure” the two state governments to ban the book, alleges Ilaiah.
Explaining the concept, Ilaiah says, “The social smuggling process started from the post-Guptha period of fifth century AD and continues to operate even today. Till British colonialism came to India the completely caste controlled business was only in the hands of the Banias. Even the British did not touch the caste-centred business from the villages upwards, including the ritual economy around Hindu temples.”
Contending that wealth and gold were “hidden in the temple treasuries without allowing it to reenter market transactions”, Ilaiah says, “This whole process of wealth accumulation by exploiting the labour of the productive masses, drawing it into a caste economy and not allowing it to plough back into society, cannot be understood by the concept ‘exploitation’ that was very apt for the West.”
“Indian exploitation”, according to him, “Has a massive component of the use of caste ‘social borders’ to control the accumulated wealth within that border of heavily exploited wealth. It was used by the traders for their good life and gave enough to the temples for better survival of priests.”
“The remaining surplus”, he notes, “Was hidden underground, over ground and also in the temples. This process did not allow the cash economy to come back in the form of investment either for agrarian development or for promotion of mercantile capital. This whole process is nothing but social smuggling. The wealth did not go outside India but did get arrested and used only within the caste borders.”
Pointing out that this process is “continuing even now”, Ilaiah insists, “In all grain markets the Shahukars are the main buyers of the produce for very low cost from the farmers and sell the same goods for huge prices for the same producers of wealth.”
According to him, “From the Bombay mills to all petroleum products, ownership is established by a mix of class exploitation and caste business encirclement. This trader caste based encirclement does not allow any other caste business person to survive.”
Ilaiah further argues, the “socially smuggled economy” does not have “any human empathy for the lower caste poor”, insisting, “The poor among the same caste get some help but the wretched of the earth —the Dalit, Adivasi poor—do not get sympathetic treatment. They are not able to establish some Social Justice Fund in their caste organizations, like the Muslim rich do in the name zakat for the poor of their own religion. The upper castes claim that the SC/ST/OBCs are Hindus. But they never share a rupee with them in the ritual or social realm.”

Comments

TRENDING

Nirma varsity demand for higher fees 'illegal', violates Article 14: Letter to Gujarat HC

Counterview Desk
Students of Gujarat’s top private institute, Nirma University, situated in the outskirts of Ahmedabad, in a letter to the Chief Justice the state High Court, have complained that the authorities are demanding “full fees” from students, without taking into account the “disproportionate impact” the lockdown has on the livelihood of students and families.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Vulnerable to Covid-19, sharp rise in murder of Indian journalists during pandemic

By Nava Thakuria*
Vulnerability of working journalists in India is no way an alien issue as the populous country loses a number of working journalists to assailants as also medical emergencies. Even though there was only one casualty in the Indian media fraternity during the first half of 2020, who was targeted for journalistic work, India has begun witnessing an alarming number of media casualties during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Govt 'assures' Gujarat HC no action against MBBS students defying corona sahayak order

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government has assured the High Court that no action would be taken against Part-I and Part-II MBBS students of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC)-controlled NHL Medical College and LG Hospital and Medical College. The assurance follows the direction by Justice SH Vora to the State government not to prosecute or initiate action against the students who were defying the college authorities’ order to work as corona sahayaks (helpers).

Renounced US citizenship to serve workers, tribals, Sudha Bharadwaj 'odiously' in jail

By Atul, Sandeep Pandey*
Professor Sudha Bharadwaj has been in jail since August 2018. She was taken into police custody on August 26, 2018 on suspicion of being involved in Maoist terror activities after Republic TV claimed that she had allegedly written a letter to Maoists and was conspiring to create public disorder and unrest in India.

Cruel legacy of Green Revolution? Covid-19 underscores 'risky, fragile' food system

By Moin Qazi*  The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the risks of an unhealthy diet and the extreme fragility of food systems. The economic reconstruction that will follow the pandemic is the perfect opportunity to provide better nutrition and health to all. The pandemic should spur us to redefine how we feed ourselves, and agricultural research can play a vital role in making our food systems more sustainable and resilient.

Plant organic, eat fresh: Emlen Bage's journey from migrant labour to agri-entrepreneur

By Chandrashekar and Kriti*
Who is a farmer? Type this question in the google search and check out the images? You can see men thronging the screen. This is the popular perception around the globe. Well one can understand how difficult it would be for a woman to defy this perception.

High youth unemployment: India 'fails' to take advantage of demographic dividend

By Varun Kumar
As coronavirus pandemic continues amplifying challenges among youth with regard to employment opportunities, government policies have further resulted in economic slowdown, leading to mass unemployment and loss jobs. According to the International Labour Organisation report “Covid-19 and the World of Work” (May 27, 2020), around 94 percent of the world’s workers are living in countries with some sort of workplace closure measures in place.

Dichotomy? US Hindutva groups oppose racism, mum on Modi's 'anti-minority' stance

By Our Representative
The Hindus for Human Rights (HHR), a US-based advocacy group, has noticed a major dichotomy between the stance taken by RSS’ US arm, Hindu Swayamsewak Sangh (HSS), expressing “shock” at the “painful killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others”, all of which suggest “the tragic tale of racial injustice” in US, and HSS’ “hatred” for India’s religious minorities and Dalits.