Ram Dayal Ahirwar
The topic sounds like a fight between two parts of a research framework methodology under social science research. In the previous meeting of the Academic Council (AC) of the University of Delhi, Department of Political Science, the head of Department and associates have decided to strike down three books written by Kancha Illaih which were part of MA program course reading list. Books: God As Political Philosopher: Buddha’s challenge to Brahminism, Why I am Not a Hindu: A Sudra Critique of Hindutva philosophy, culture and political economy, and Post-Hindu India: A discourse on Dalit-Bahujan socio-spiritual and the scientific revolution. The reason cited by the AC “Ilaiah’s understanding of the Hindu faith is wrong, and there is no empirical data to establish his understanding.”
After this recommendation, Sukumar N, the professor who had worked hard to make these books as a part of the course under MA Political Science in the University, in a Facebook post, had spoken about the rationale behind the inclusion of Kancha Illaiah Shepherd’s books as being original contributions to pedagogy.
The response of teachers and the student community who are upset with this decision was expressed during a protest organized on 30th October. They are upset because of the underlying reasons, the new generation of marginal communities are unable to find any text in their academic journey which directly connects them to their own understanding of society. Most of the time students and young learners are reading the second and third-hand text, many times the narrations they encounter feels borrowed. The second reason that offended the scholars who are opposing this decision is that of subaltern political theory, where such texts are part of a strong foundation. These books are recognized well in many regions by the political thinkers. These books and approaches followed by the author while writing has opened new ways for first-generation learners. Third, a love to read the framework which is lived by the majority of non-savarna scholarship in India.
The Academic council that passed the resolution to strike down the three books by justifying the reason of empirical lack, then the University should spend resources for field work, research workshops, surveys and similar kind of studies. Secondly, before taking such a decision, the AC could have reached academics who had made an effort to constitute the course for Social Exclusion under which the books were included in the reading list. Or the AC could have consulted with the author of these books. Thirdly, the AC would have suggested the better text than these books as per the framework of the course on Social Exclusion.
Indian universities and the departments are becoming narrower in aspiring for and examining new approaches. Maybe due to the reason that the author of these books vocally alleges the divide of the brahminical order of social system where caste hierarchy is deciding the power structures. And the RSS and other Hindutva organizations don’t want any subaltern voice in India. The fight of the socially excluded and marginal’s is becoming more broad day by day due to such egoistic conflicts where you cannot win a debate of Empirical data Vs. Pedagogy by just stating that the author’s understanding of Hinduism is biased. India as a political community is not a homogenous classification. Before accepting India is a Hindu nation the seats headed by brahminical mindset personnel needs to face the resistance from the bottom of society, in fact, from the Bahujan.
Ram Dayal Ahirwar completed MA in International Relations from South Asian University, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. Bachelor of Engineering from RGPV Bhopal, then worked as Project Engineer, at Wipro Technologies Pvt. Ltd. Pune and Hyderabad location (2013-2015). He is interested in subaltern political thoughts, inspired by the Dalit – Bahujan philosophy. Associated with the Ravidasia ideological movement across the countries. Originally native of Rampura Village in Chhatarpur (Bundelkhand) District of Madhya Pradesh and from first generation learner family.