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

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Reinterpreting Buddhism: Ambedkar on the Politics of Social Action

B R Ambedkar's reinterpretation of Buddhism gives us an account of action that is based on democratic politics of contest and resistance. It relies on a reading of the self as a multiple creature that exceeds the constructions of liberal autonomy. Insofar as Buddhist groups do not jeopardise or restrict their members' capacities and opportunities to make any decision about their own lives, they do not risk violating democratic principles. But to remain socially relevant they must continue to contribute to a practical impact on the social world which is so neatly intertwined with the political in present-day India.

SPECIAL ARTICLE

Reinterpreting Buddhism: Ambedkar on the Politics of Social Action

Vidhu Verma

B R Ambedkar’s reinterpretation of Buddhism gives us an account of action that is based on democratic politics of contest and resistance. It relies on a reading of the self as a multiple creature that exceeds the constructions of liberal autonomy. Insofar as Buddhist groups do not jeopardise or restrict their members’ capacities and opportunities to make any decision about their own lives, they do not risk violating democratic principles. But to remain socially relevant they must continue to contribute to a practical impact on the social world which is so neatly intertwined with the political in present-day India.

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