Telugu writer under fire for terming trading community ‘social smugglers’
Kancha Ilaiah, an author-activist known for his pro-Dalit stand, complained to the Hyderabad police that he has been receiving threat calls from unidentified people.andhra pradesh Updated: Sep 11, 2017 20:25 IST
Kancha Ilaiah, a popular writer and activist, has landed in a controversy over a Telugu book that describes Vysyas – members of the trading community – as “social smugglers”.
Ilaiah, known for his pro-Dalit stand, complained to the Hyderabad police on Monday that he has been receiving threat calls from unidentified people ever since his book was launched. “The calls and messages are abusive, and they have even threatened to cut off my tongue,” the retired political science professor with Osmania University told mediapersons. “Maybe they intend to murder me just like Gauri Lankesh was killed in Bengaluru.”
A particularly caustic extract from the book – Samajika Smugglurlu Komatollu (Vysyas are social smugglers) – goes thus: “Vysyas have always hated Shudras, Dalits and OBCs who are involved in the production of goods. They never take up the job of protecting the country – there is no baniya regiment in the Army. They are part of the ruling class – Narendra Modi and Amit Shah are baniyas – and they are backed by business tycoons like the Ambanis and Adanis. They are culturally vegetarians, so how can they fight mighty enemies like Pakistan and China if they don’t eat meat or beef?”
The Arya Vysya Sangham held protest rallies across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh after the contents of the book were circulated in the social media. According to association members, Ilaiah habitually insults certain castes and communities through his writings. “He also made derogatory comments against Hindu gods in the past, hurting religious sentiments,” one of them said on the condition of anonymity.
J Venkateshwar, president of the Andhra Pradesh Arya Vysya Mahasabha, said a complaint would be lodged against Ilaiah. Pointing out that several members of the Arya Vysya community – including Mahatma Gandhi – had played a crucial role in the freedom struggle, he said: “Ilaiah should apologise to the Arya-Vysya community people, failing which we will register protests wherever he goes in the state.”
The Vysya community demanded that the book be banned, and Ilaiah placed under arrest immediately.