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

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Ambedkar in 2021, Episode 3: Probing Caste Violence at the Visible, Symbolic, and Structural Levels

In this episode, we speak to Parthasarathi Muthukkaruppan about the everyday aspects of caste violence and cultural modes of opposing subordination.

Translating Public Protests into the Digital Realm

Notes from an Ambedkarite cultural troupe about taking the protest site online.

Ambedkar, Gandhians and the Indian Village

The paper attempts to understand the two competing models of postcolonial modernity on the issue of the village, that is, one representing a Gandhian perspective and the other a liberal Western perspective led by B R Ambedkar. M K Gandhi’s idea of the village was developed through his imagination...

Early India, Goats and Brahmins

Early Indians: The Story of Our Ancestors and Where We Came From by Tony Joseph, New Delhi: Juggernaut, 2018; pp 288, ₹ 699 (hardcover).

The Making of Ambedkarite Public Culture

Public culture is a mental and physical space where basic ideas of the self and world view get crystallised. It is the main space to form varied communicative lines. These communicative lines discipline person’s behaviour. Since the Dalit’s ideas about self and consciousness were largely shaped by their everyday experience, Ambedkar thoughtfully evolved the Dalit’s public culture towards conscientising mental and physical space. A number of nodal points in varied communicative lines were generated to cultivate the autonomous Dalit assertive self and emancipatory world view. It produced an atmosphere where social discursive engagements were developed along with Ambedkarite praxis. As Mumbai happens to be the place where Ambedkar conceived, started and developed the key emancipatory movements, the city turned out to be a precursor for the “Ambedkarite public culture.”

Reading Ambedkar in the Time of Covid-19

What lies behind the policy blindness towards concerns of the oppressed in India? The “social distancing” induced by the COVID-19 health crisis does not address the problem of deeper levels of distancing caused by “social isolation” and “social nausea,” two concepts used by B R Ambedkar. This article is an attempt to understand the factors behind the collective sociopolitical response towards the poorest sections characterised by lack of empathy, and to develop an Ambedkarite framework to understand social policy generally and, more specifically, in India.

Narrating an Epic Life

Gandhi: The Years That Changed the World, 1914–1948 by Ramachandra Guha, Gurgaon: Penguin Allen Lane, 2018; pp xx + 1129, ₹ 999.

How Did Ambedkar Imagine India After Independence?

A "free" India would be a model democracy that redistributed power to the marginalised, and purged society of oppressive social institutions, beliefs and practices.

Daring to Imagine Caste’s Antithesis

Republic of Caste: Thinking Equality in the Time of Neoliberal Hindutva by Anand Teltumbde, Delhi: Navayana, 2018; pp 432, ₹ 600.

Ambedkar Will Teach the Nation from His Statues

The pointed finger of Ambedkar statues symbolically conveys the meaning of lecturing, or teaching the nation about democracy and fraternity. The politics of proliferating Dalit iconography is one of seeking visibility and asserting one’s right to access public spaces. However, clashes routinely erupt over such iconography given the upper castes’ fear of their threatened hegemony.

Ambedkar as a Political Philosopher

Existing studies on B R Ambedkar largely focus on his substantive religious, sociological, political and constitutional concerns, and not on the concepts he deployed for the purpose or modes of his argumentation. His body of work demonstrates that he formulated a number of concepts to take stock of the social reality that he confronted, and/or reformulated existing concepts by critically engaging with the body of scholarship available to him. With regard to the conception of the political, he advanced a comprehensive and consistent design of what it means to live as a public and how best to do so in a setting very different from the West.

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