God as Political Philosopher: Buddha’s Challenge to Brahminism


Authors: Kancha Ilaiah

8185604770 | PB | pp. 244 | 2012 | SAMYA

This research work posits Gautama Buddha as a political thinker. It performs the task of interrogating historically the Buddhist and brahminical worldviews and shows that Buddha constructed a very powerful speculative political philosophy which can form the basis of reconstructing ancient Eastern political philosophy itself.

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In this provocative and scholarly book, Kancha Ilaiah propounds a view of Gautama Buddha as India’s first social revolutionary. Buddha did his best to give the principles of tribal democracy and egalitarianism a sanctuary in his own sangha. In so doing he foreshadowed modern India’s experiment with parliamentary democracy. Critical of the caste system, Buddha inducted low caste members into the sangha and made them his trusted advisers. He gave women an honoured place in the sangha. Dissent was indeed permitted, and even Buddha was not above the law. Pre-dating Socrates and Plato by some years, Buddha also foreshadowed key elements of their philosophy.


Kancha Ilaiah









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About the Editor

Dr Sameena Dalwai is Associate Professor and Assistant Director, Centre for Women, Law and Social Change, Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat. She has an LLM from Warwick and PhD from Keele, UK, and researches on caste, gender, sexuality and law. She has worked as a lawyer with human rights organisations in Mumbai as well as health NGOs in rural Maharashtra and writes non-fiction in Marathi. Ramu Ramanathan is a Mumbai-based journalist and playwright-poet. His plays include Cotton 56 Polyester 84, Jazz, Postcards from Bardoli, Mahadevbhai 1892-1942, and The Boy Who Stopped Smiling. His book 3 Sakina Manzil and other Plays is a collection of eight Indian plays. His collection of poems, My Encounters With a Peacock is recently published.


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