An Indian political theorist, writer and activist for Dalit rights Kancha Ilaiah is a prolific writer in both English as well as Telugu. In February 2013, at the Jaipur Literary Festival, Kanacha Ilaiah and Javed Akhtar engaged in a heated discussion over the implications of religion in Indian social life.
The most watched activist Kancha Ilaiah will take part in the third edition of Kerala Literature Festival happening on the Kozhikode Beach from 8th February to 11th February.
Kancha Ilaiah is often identified as a Dalit in the news reports, although he is not a Dalit but rather a member of an Other Backward Class. Illaiah has encouraged proficiency in the English language for Dalits, arguing that it would allow Dalits in India to intellectually engage the world outside India without non-Dalits speaking “for them”.
Ilaiah has also been criticized for believing in the Indo-Aryan Migration Theory, currently held by most scholars, as opposed to the Out of India theory, held mainly by Hindu nationalists. In November 2015, Ilaiah stated that if Vallabhbhai Patel, the first Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of India credited with forging national unity amidst the intense violence and bloodletting that followed the creation of Pakistan, had been Prime Minister of India, India “would have become Pakistan”.
Ilaiah credites his mother, Kancha Kattamma, as pivotal in shaping his political thought. According to Ilaiah, she was at the forefront of the Kurumas’ struggle against the forest guards’ discriminatory behaviour. Kancha Kattamma was killed during a violent confrontation while protesting against police brutality.
Kancha Ilaiah received an M.A. degree in political science and an M.Phil., awarded for his study of land reform in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. He has been a recipient of the Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Award and was a Nehru Fellow between 1994-97. Ilaiah earned a Ph.D on the basis of his work exploring the political dimension of Buddhism, culminating in God as Political Philosopher – Buddha Challenge to Brahminism.
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Registration is absolutely free. For those who wish to be a delegate can register for the same at Rs500 which includes Rs200 Gift Voucher (redeemable at the venue), Delegate Kit, Badges, Festival Souvenir, Calendar etc. Register at: http://www.keralaliteraturefestival.com/registration/