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

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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.

Welding the Two Visions of Democracy

Radical Equality: Ambedkar, Gandhi, and the Risk of Democracy by Aishwary Kumar; Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2015; pp xiv + 393, price notindicated.

In Defence of Pluralism

Pluralism, Equality and Identity: Comparative Studies by T K Oommen; Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2002; pp 189, Rs 475.

How Egalitarian Are the Social Sciences in India?

Social science practice in India has harboured a cultural hierarchy dividing it into a vast, inferior mass of academics who pursue empirical social science and a privileged few who are considered the theoretical pundits with reflective capacity which makes them intellectually superior to the former. To use a familiar analogy, Indian social science represents a pernicious divide between theoretical brahmins and empirical shudras.

Equality and Universality

The distinction between equality and universality is important theoretically as well as in matters of policy. With the example of education, the author shows the limits to which universality can be taken and beyond which inequalities are bound to come into play. Sometimes it serves the public interest or at least the interest of the most disadvantaged sections better if inequalities are allowed to increase instead of being artificially reduced. A strongly competitive system of higher education may be to the general social advantage rather than one that discourages competition on the ground that it encourages inequalities.

Community, Women Citizens and a Women's Politics

The articulation of women as citizens in India was imbricated within a web of discourses of liberation and equality which made the national-political and religious-cultural communities the primary, and often contesting, sources of a person's identity as citizen. The primacy given to community membership, and the manner in which women were implicated in it, has had important ramifications for giving voice to women as citizens and for carving out a space for women's politics.
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