ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Hitching Dalit Modernity to Anti-Modernist Wagon


The anti-Enlightenment intellectuals have a mad aunt living in the attic. They cannot disown her; they do not want to disown her. On the contrary, they want to speak for her, protect her against the oppressive Enlightenment Rationality outside. But the trouble is that they cannot keep her quietly hidden away, for she insists upon singing praises of the same old big bad modern world that the Enlightenment has wrought. The mad aunt bears many names, from those brave women at Seneca Falls in upstate New York, Martin Luther King Jr, the May 4th students in China, to Ambedkars Buddha who speaks in the language of John Dewey, the quintessential philosopher of reason, secularism and democracy. Through modern history, the oppressed have embraced the universalism of reason in the service of a universal spread of the spirit of liberty, equality and fraternity, the Enlightenment ideals that so embarrass our ever-so-sophisticated intellectuals. They smile patronisingly at such naive enthusiasm, for they have seen through the maya of reason and realised that all is power.

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