Kanch Illaiah

The Question Of Capital Accumulation

It is more than evident now that the Hindutva brigade consisting of predominantly lumpen sections, basing themselves on the cultural and social backwardness prevalent in the society threaten anybody and everybody, and even execute their threats by physically eliminating them.

Very soon after the assassination of Gauri Lankesh, another fearless public intellectual, fighter and author Prof. Kancha Ilaiah, is being hounded, verbally threatened (over the phone)on the publication of a translated pamphlet, originally published in 2007 as a research paper on the historical evolution of castes in the Indian society.

As I am privileged to understand spoken Telugu, was able to internalise the excellent arguments of Prof. Kancha Ilaiah, who is currently the eye of the storm for penning ‘SAMAJIKA SMAGLARLU KOMATOLLU’ (Community of merchants are Social Smugglers). I was informed that even in Bangalore Ilaiah’s effigy was burnt and shoes were thrown at.

Prof. Kancha wrote his research papers in the year 2007, and now this chapter got translated to Telugu, which the Arya Vyshas speak predominantly. If one dispassionately reads and understand the above pamphlet correctly in the historical context, and compares the same with chapters in Karl Marx’s Capital Vol. III Part IV.

“Conversion of Commodity-Capital and Money-Capital into Commercial Capital and Money-Dealing Capital (Merchant’s Capital)” where Marx enunciates the same aspects as lucidly as Prof. Kancha.

Maybe the title which terms the community as ‘smugglers’ may be bit extreme, but if one goes by the methodology of arguments of Ilaiah as why he uses that term, there is nothing disparaging or defaming any community.

In the context of the raging debate, particularly in the Telugu vernacular TV channels, Prof. Kancha raises very important and pertinent points that the proponents of Hindutva will have to answer. He particu larly refers to the point, when the UPA regime tried to initiate Job Reservations in Private Sector, there was fierce opposition from the Industrialists lobby, which Prof. Kancha identifies as the Baniya lobby, such as Ambanis, Adanis, Bajaj etc.

Prof. Ilaiah challenges this mercantile community to give a single example in the entire country if they have as a community responded to the Peasants/Farmers distressed families who have lost lakhs of their kith and kin due to the vicious circle of loan sharks. Kancha dares to say historically it is this community of traders who have mastered the art of hoarding grains and capital, which in turn become the oppressive tools to exploit the rural peasantry.

The methodology and daring arguments of Prof. Kancha may irk many sociologists and status-quo political pundits, but it is essential to have a rippling effect in a society that is cosily living with Savarna-Rich Caste, Class nexus.

New Socialist Alternative (CWI-India) un-equivocally stands by Prof. Kancha and condemn the perpetrators of these threats, and demand proper security for him. The mass organisations of the Working People, Dalit organisations and human rights defenders and all progressive-minded must stand by Kancha and thwart these reactionary forces from any attempt to harm him. Hats off to Kancha Ilaiah….!

Jagadish G Chandra.

New Socialist Alternative, Bangalore