Controversial author Kancha Ilaiah has stirred up a new controversy when he said that vegetarianism is anti-nationalism.
“For me, my nation starts with eating beef. Unfortunately, we gave up eating beef and our brains are not growing now. There is not enough protein,” he said while speaking on BR Ambedkar’s political empowerment in a function.
He is well known for immensely controversial book, Why I am not a Hindu (1996).
Currently, the Director of the Centre for Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy at Maulana Azad National Urdu University and former associate professor at the Department of Political Science in Osmania University, his work has often been his critics as “cheap rhetoric” and provocative.
“You cannot compete with vegetarian nationalism with China, Korea, Japan and America who are full scale `beefarians’, `porkians’, fisharians and even `frogarians’. Whatever is now poison they are eating, there brain is growing,” he said and received a round of applause from the audience, mainly consisting of dalits, who make 50 per cent of the university’s population.
“The whole steel industry is collapsing from here to England because China is producing steel in such a manner that all our economists are in doldrums, nothing is being understood by Indian economists. This is because, the Chinese brain has gone so sharp, our economists vegetarians brains are not working,” he said.
Slamming the upper castes, particularly Brahmins, Ilaiah said at a time when Socrates and Plato were writing about justice and republic, scholars here were busy writing about Kamasutras.
Last year, the Hyderabad police have registered a case against Ilaiah, after Vishwa Hindu Parishad activists complained that an opinion piece he wrote in the Telugu newspaper Andhra Jyothi had hurt their religious sentiments. Ilaiah’s article was titled Devudu Prajasamya Vada Kada? (Is God a democrat?) was published.
VHP activists accused Ilaiah of insulting Hindu Gods by comparing them to mortals, mocking their worship, and for attempting to trigger clashes between upper and lower castes.
Soon after Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide, he wrote an article and said such Dalit students were creating a “new cultural idiom.”
“The institutions of higher education in India do not allow the Dalits to study and live with dignity. Obviously, what shocked him most was the letter of labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya that characterised his organisation — the Ambedkar Student Association (ASA) — as anti-national, casteist and extremist.”
“Since the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) stormed into power in 2014, this was the fourth major assault on Dalit rights and dignity in the country. First, the ban on the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle of IIT Madras, then the burning alive of Dalit children in Haryana and, finally, general VK Singh allegedly referring to them as animals. Now, it is Rohith’s death and Dattatreya and the HRD ministry’s perceived involvement in it.”