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

AmbedkarSubscribe to Ambedkar

On the Ambedkar–Gandhi Debate

In response to the discussions around Arundhati Roy’s introduction to B R Ambedkar’s Annihilation of Caste, this article draws on Ambedkar’s views on caste in government policy to reiterate his continuing relevance today.

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.

On Introducing Ambedkar

For an act of representation by savarnas to seem fair and unremarkable to dalits, we need to have achieved a society in which to be a dalit is not a stigma, and to be a savarna is not a marker of superior status. Until that day arrives in India, the dalit objection to B R Ambedkar's Annihilation of Caste being introduced and annotated by savarnas will remain a worthy objection.

The Time of the Dalit Conversion

More than a reference to the mass conversion of dalits to Buddhism in 1956 and to other religions in subsequent years, "dalit conversion", in this article, also denotes their conversion to full citizenship that followed with the abolition of untouchability, institution of universal adult franchise, extension of legal and political rights to all sections of the population, with special safeguards for disadvantaged groups. It could also denote a conversion to the "modern" - signified by a certain sensibility, particular kinds of dress and comportment and particular rules of social and political engagement. The time of the dalit conversion is also then the time of Indian democracy â?? a time of definition, anticipation and struggle, as seen in the call to educate, organise and agitate.

Rights versus Representation

In the name of democracy, the constituent assembly of India adopted certain specific individual and collective rights to religion. Democracy, however, is not just about rights; another integral component of democracy is representation. This essay argues that the granting of a range of individual and collective religious rights to the minorities was used, in the constituent assembly, to justify the refusal of their demand for more adequate mechanisms of representation, for instance, for proportional representation or for reserved seats in the legislatures.

Interpreting Liberalism

True Gods – False Gods by H S Sarkar; Adhikar, Bhubaneswar, 2001.

The Race for Caste

Until now, in international conferences on apartheid and racism India saw itself as a fighter of freedom and was the official advocate condemning racism, colonialism, apartheid. Suddenly this great role is being threatened, and from within. India is being condemned in the name of universal freedoms as a violator and for what we all along glibly thought was 'an internal affair', caste. Why is caste like race? What are the claims for entry and the objections? What is the method and manner of the argument? And will the move to get caste discrimination to be read as racial discrimination succeed as politics?

Constitution 91st Amendment Bill: A Constitutional Fraud?

The Constitution 91st Amendment Bill seeks to cancel the redistribution of parliamentary constituencies due after the 2001, 2011 and 2021 censuses. In doing so it undermines what should be an essential and prized characteristic of the Lok Sabha, that each voter has an equal voice in the national parliament. When considering the bill, parliament should therefore consider whether a short-term expedient to prevent delimitation should be allowed to undermine the democratic core of the Constitution.

Understanding Ambedkar's Construction of National Movement

Dalit responses to the critique of Ambedkar's role in the freedom struggle and his construction of the national movement have led to a re-examination of his ideas, and perceptions of the nationalist discourse of the time. Why he and the dalits did not participate directly in the national movement, as directed by the Congress, is a question that needs to be addressed.

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