In this provocative and scholarly book, Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd 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.