I was not born a Hindu for the simple reason that my parents did not know that they were Hindus. My parents had only one identity and that was their caste: they were Kurumaas.
— Kancha Ilaiah, 1996: 1.
The lines above signify one of the most provocative statements from Kancha Ilaiah, who identifies himself as a Dalitbahujan, and testifies to the intense socio-economic disparities lacing the Indian society. These differences, he writes, are deeply entrenched within the Indian social hierarchy. Playing a central role in regulating an individual’s journey from life to death, they have a decisive influence on one’s location on the religious, economic and the political plane.