August 12. Cupertino, California, USA | TCN Staff
Indian political theorist and academic Prof. Kancha Ilaiah has been confirmed as the chief guest and key note speaker for the 2ndAmbedkar King Study Circle Annual Conference 2019 to be held on 7 Sep, Saturday, 2019 in Cupertino, California. The annual conference brings together intellectuals and activists for a discussion on class, caste, race, and socialism and concludes with setting an agenda for the next year.
Other speakers include Dr. Suraj Yengde from Harvard University, Mr. Kunal Shankar, journalist now at Columbia University, Ms. Boona Cheema, Chair of Healthcare for the Homeless, Alameda County California, Ms. Rachel Herzing, Director, Center for Political Education, California, and Mr. Anto Akkara, journalist and author from New Delhi.
Speaking with TCN the conference convener Mr. Karthikeyan explained that the discussions will focus on the nature of capitalism in India, a society where the top 1% holds half of the national wealth and the top 10% holds over 3/4th of the national wealth. He noted that in India this inequality is inextricably coupled with the caste system that manifests in control of bureaucracy and corporate houses by people from Brahmin and Bania caste. Inequality in India breaks down along caste lines with a large disparity observed between these ‘forward castes’ and SC, ST, OBC households. The focus on India will also include a discussion on right wing strategies to attack religious minorities and SCs and STs on religious pretext which diverts attention from overall exploitation of majority of Hindu population especially those from non-‘forward caste’ background.
Mr. Karthikeyan also noted that in USA there has been significant interest in socialist ideas among youth with almost half of people aged 23 – 38 attracted to socialism. The conference will also discuss the issues around race and socialism in the USA.
The theme of the conference is based on a quote by acclaimed educator and philosopher Paulo Freire “The oppressed, having internalized the image of the oppressor and adopted his guidelines, are fearful of freedom. Freedom would require them to eject this image and replace it with autonomy and responsibility. Freedom is acquired by conquest, not by gift.”
This will be the first time Prof. Kancha Ilaiah will be addressing this conference. The conference conveners noted that Dr. Ilaiah is a towering figure for academics interested in political theory as well for as progressive activists around the world. His writing and analysis of Hindutva and Hinduism especially from the vantage point of SC, ST, OBCs, provide critical insight and direction to fighting the right wing and capitalist forces in India today.
The registration information and further information about the organization are available here.