Outraged by Social Scientist, Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd’s book ‘Saamajika Smugglerlu Kommatollu’ the Arya Vysya community members have resorted to a bizarre protest.
The community is offended by the book, and its title calling them ‘social smugglers' and in an attempt to humiliate the writer they have created door-mats with Kancha’s photo imprinted on it.
They have distributed these door-mats at temples and to shopkeepers belonging to the Arya-Vysya community to dust their feet and footwear.
This protest invited strong condemnation from Dalit activists and rationalists, who called the protest ‘casteist.’ They mocked that these silly attempts to humiliate Kancha show that they (Arya-Vysya community) can never engage in an intellectual debate with valid criticism against the book.
Dalit activist, Pasunoori Ravinder said that these protests exhibit a lack of intelligentsia from the Arya-Vysya community members.
“First of all, I don’t think they have read the book. If they had read the book and still have objections they should write a critique of it. That’s how you engage. Don’t they have any person, who can write a rebuttal?” he questioned.
He said that the protest was casteist in nature. "It is not just aimed at Kancha Ilaiah, but the entire Dalits and OBCs," he said.
Ravinder further remarked, “These open threats against Kancha Ilaiah that too from elected representatives like T G Venkatesh are really shocking. In a democracy, there should be a debate agreeing or disagreeing with one’s view, not with silly protests.”
Prominent educationist, Professor Haragopal, calling the protest ‘objectionable’ told TNM that the demand for banning the book or Kancha’s arrest is undemocratic.
“There is an increase in intolerance against thinkers and writers who question the status quo,” he observed.
Suspecting the role of BJP in this controversy Haragopal said, “I think there is a hand of BJP behind this controversy. Why is there a controversy after five years after the book was published?"
The book written in English was published in 2012 and a chapter from the book was translated to Telugu recently and was published.
Terming the protest ‘silly’ rationalist, T V Rao of the Jana Vignana Vedika said that this protest proves the Arya-Vysya community member’s inability to write a counter-criticism.
“Kancha has clearly stated that he will welcome any sort of harsh criticism against his book. If they have objections, they should prove his arguments wrong through writing, substantiated with evidence, not resort to these ‘cheap’ protests.”
Rao observed that in the several of Kancha's past books carried harsh criticism against Brahmins but they never protested.
He added, “Many have condemned the book for naming a particular caste in it. But what is wrong in it? When one can form Sangham’s [Associations] with caste name, why can’t he write about it? If they feel that Kancha’s arguments are flawed, the should write a rebuttal, point by point, proving his arguments wrong.”