Who discovered the first detergent soap in India?
Who created scripts as they crafted pots?
Who selected and standardised most of the food items we eat today?
How did cotton come to be spun into cloth?
Who originated the science of making leather out of animal skin?
In this book, Kancha Ilaiah throws light on the science, art and skill of adivasis, cattle-rearers, leatherworkers, potters, farmers, weavers, dhobis and barbers. The book documents the contributions to the betterment of human life by castes and communities despised as ‘lowly’ and ‘backward’.
Recently, students opposed to reservation in educational institutions expressed protest by polishing shoes, sweeping the roads and selling vegetables. Why such resentment against labour? Could these students make shoes or till the land? Could they make a pot? This book—with stunning illustrations by Durgabai Vyam—is the first ever attempt to inculcate a sense of dignity of labour among India’s children.
Kancha Ilaiah is Professor of Political Science at Osmania University, Hyderabad. He is the author of Why I am Not a Hindu, and God as a Political Philosopher: Buddha’s Challenge to Brahmanism.
Durgabai Vyam is a Pardhan Gond artist who lives in Bhopal. She started making dignas, colourful clay patterns drawn on walls, at the age of six. She is the co-author of The Night Life of Trees and co-illustrator of Bhimayana (published by Navayana), which she says is her most accomplished work yet
‘…a hugely important book. Every Indian child should read it’—UNICEF
‘This book is a valuable addition to those who teach social sciences in schools’—The Hindu-Young World
‘Wonderfully designed book ... A much needed resource for both parents and teachers’—Tehelka
‘The book can certainly go a long way in getting children to think differently’—Time Out