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All for Rational Voices

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“A Critical Defence of Kancha Ilaiah’sVoice” (EPW, 4 November 2017) is thought-provoking. Anand Teltumbde examines the attack against Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd by putting his critical arguments on the theoretical formation of “social smugglers” by the latter. He has also rightly argued the way intellectuals in our country have been threatened, tortured, and eventually killed by the so-called patriots. It is interesting to note here that the series of attacks that has been carried out against intellectuals and rationalists in the country has been perpetuating every passing year. Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, M M Kalburgi, Santanu Bhowmik and Gauri Lankesh were some of the critical voices that tried to build a “system of solidarity” against the inhuman practices of discrimination and irrationality. The recent attack on Ilaiah Shepherd manifests the anxiety of the “nervous hegemonic groups” against his arguments that challenge their domination in Indian society. Interestingly, the Bharatiya Janata Party which is running a “nation building project” has remained tight-lipped on the series of attacks against intellectuals, journalists, and student activists.

Not surprisingly, intellectuals like Ilaiah Shepherd have been identified as a threat by the socially and economically dominant elites who have been mainly responsible for maintaining the structure of socio-economic inequalities. The term “social smugglers” coined by Ilaiah remains relevant in various contexts. The socially dominant communities through their accumulation activities, have successfully dominated the economic structure by controlling production activities, which are further linked with the oppression of the workers from minority and marginalised communities. Any rational argument that exposes the injustice by these communities is not well taken.

Swapnil Dhanraj

New Delhi

Updated On : 10th Nov, 2017

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