Contents: Introduction. 1. Childhood Formations. 2. Marriage, Market and Social Relations. 3. The Emergence of Neo-Kshatriyas and the Reorganization of Power Relations. 4. Contemporary Hinduism. 5. Hindu Gods and Us: Our Goddesses and Hindus. 6. Hindu Death and Our Death. 7. Dalitization Not Hinduization.
‘The most gratifying thing for me [is] that [this book] was listed as a millennium book [by The Pioneer] along with Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s Annihilation of Caste. Moreover, it has been translated into several Indian languages. In a way it has become a weapon in the hands of Dalitbahujan activists’ (from the Afterword to the second edition).
Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd writes with passionate anger, laced with sarcasm, on the caste system and Indian society. He looks at the socioeconomic and cultural differences between the Dalitbahujans and Hindus in the contexts of childhood, family life, market relations, power relations, Gods and Goddesses, death and, not the least, Hindutva. Synthesizing many of the ideas of Bahujans, he presents their vision of a more just society. In this second edition, Ilaiah Shepherd presents an Afterword that discusses the history of this book, often seen as the manifesto of the downtrodden Dalitbahujans. He talks of its reviews as well as of the abuse he has received from its detractors. He reminds us of the need for an ongoing dialogue. As he says, he wrote the book ‘for all who have open minds. My request to Brahmin, Baniya and neo-Kshatriyas [upper class Sudras] is this: You learnt only what to teach others—the Dalitbahujans. Now in your own interest and in the interest of this great country, you must learn to listen and to read what we have to say.’