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Understanding and debating the Legacy of Ambedkar

Date: April 10-13, 2017
Venue: Azim Premji University, Bangalore

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On Dr. B.R Ambedkar's 126th Anniversary, students and faculty members at Azim Premji University have come together to organise a week-long programme from 10th April to 13th April, with the objective of understanding the legacy of Ambedkar through a series of discussions, debates and cultural events.


"The roots of democracy lie not in the form of Government, Parliamentary or otherwise. A democracy is more than a form of Government. It is primarily a mode of associated living. The roots of Democracy are to be searched in the social relationship, in the terms of associated life between the people who form a society."- Dr. B.R Ambedkar

Last year, we tried to understand Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar beyond his constructed imagery, within the popular discourse. We tried to engage with different ideas and identities of Ambedkar, which were explored in talks around Ambedkarite politics, and his ideas on feminism, identity and constitutionalism.

In these times when dissent is being seen as ‘seditious’, and there is a continuous attack on free speech, we wish to engage with how Ambedkar with others debated the most controversial and pressing issues of those times, which continue to be relevant. Understanding of this person, who was raised in the Kabirpanthi tradition (the backbone of the ‘untouchable’ strain in the Bhakti movement), and who went on to become a radical thinker, politician and activist, can be one of the major steps towards understanding the idea of democracy as a whole.

At this juncture, it is important for us to gather as university students, and reflect on the ideas and writings of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, in context of the unfolding scenario in our country. By doing so, we need to see for ourselves, whether there is a growing dissonance or resonance between Ambedkar’s ideas on democracy, the actual situation on the ground, and our role in confronting the challenges that lie before it.

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