Conversations with Ambedkar

10 Ambedkar Memorial Lectures

Edited by Valerian Rodrigues

978-81-941260-8-9

Tulika Books, New Delhi, 2019

Language: English

xiv+254 pages

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The book is a collection of ten public lectures that were delivered annually from 2009 to 2018 as part of the Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Memorial Lecture Series, instituted by Ambedkar University Delhi. The lectures are an engagement with and a celebration of the memory of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. At the same time, they reflect the speakers’ specific concerns within their own domains of expertise and scholarship. The texts of the ten lectures included in this volume are by Bhikhu Parekh, Veena Das, Deepak Nayyar, Ashis Nandy, Upendra Baxi, Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Aruna Roy, Romila Thapar, Gopal Guru, and Homi K. Bhabha.

The lectures at Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD) brought together in this volume dwell on some of the most telling concerns that our age confronts: concerns of justice, social closures, bare life and sovereign power, political agency, discrimination and affirmative action, displacement and migration, new modes and languages of command and control, social movements under the shadow of global capital, and politics of epistemic and normative frames on offer today. While several of the lectures take off from some of B.R. Ambedkar’s writings and interventions, others meet Ambedkar in shared concerns by remaining within the frame of their distinct academic specialisation or professional pursuits. The result is a deep conversation where scholarship and social concerns converge, begetting a complex tapestry of their own. The introduction to the volume, which highlights the distinctiveness of Ambedkar as a scholar and the scholarship that goes in his name, acts as a connecting thread to the themes and concerns mounted in these lectures.

This volume is envisaged as the first in a series of dialogues with Ambedkar and his thought as embodied in the annual Dr B.R. Ambedkar Memorial Lecture series. The first ten lectures (2009–18) presented here mark the first decade in the life of Ambedkar University Delhi.

Valerian Rodrigues

Valerian Rodrigues, the editor of the volume, is currently Ambedkar Chair, Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD). His recent books include The Essential Writings of B. R. Ambedkar (2002), The Indian Parliament: A Democracy at Work (2011, co-authored with B. L. Shankar), and Speaking for Karnataka (2018, co-authored with Rajendra Chenni, Nataraj Huliyar and S. Japhet). He served as a member of the Advisory Committee for the international conference, ‘Quest for Equity: Reclaiming Social Justice, Revisiting Ambedkar’, held in Bangalore during 21–23 July 2017.