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July 2017
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Online Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Conference 2017 – Quest for Prabuddha Bharath
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 5:26 pm

Government of the State of Karnataka (India) will organize a three day
International Conference on the theme: ‘Reclaiming Social Justice,

About Babasaheb Dr.B.R. Ambedkar
Popularly known as Babasaheb, Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar is best remembered
for his role as Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Indian
Constitution. His visionary charter guarantees socio-economic equality
for all (“Right to Equality & Right against Exploitation”),
religious tolerance and secularism (“Right to Freedom of Religion”) and
equally importantly, the “Right to Live with Human Dignity”. Together
these vouchsafe legal protections for “life, liberty and the pursuit of
happiness” regardless of a person’s caste, religion, gender or
ideological inclination. Under his able leadership, our Constitution
made a drastic departure from the regressive social norms that had been
pervasive in India.

However, in hailing Dr. Ambedkar for
spearheading this pioneering social charter, we must not limit his
contribution to just the Constitution. It is critical that we revisit
the remarkable man, and the rich legacy that he has left behind for us.

First, Dr. Ambedkar was one of the foremost intellectuals that India
has seen. His seminal analyses of the root causes of socio-economic and
political inequities (not just in India, but in the Americas and Europe)
and his strategies to overcome these have continued to be a source of
inspiration to various struggles throughout the world. His masterful
analyses on Indian culture and religion, on labour rights, on macro and
development economics etc. continue to radically shape the study of
politics, sociology, human rights and economics. Apart from MK Gandhi
and J. Nehru, B. Ambedkar is the one of the few public figures from
India who is systematically studied in various universities across the

Second, Dr. Ambedkar was an institution builder, and he
has crafted a number of organisations of modern India. Most of these
survive even today, and are critical to the day to day functioning of
India. For instance, Dr. Ambedkar’s PhD thesis of 1923 titled “The
Evolution of Provincial Finance in British India” dealt with
centre-state finances in British India between 1833 and 1921. It
received international acclaim and went on to influence the federal
structures adopted by various nations including India. India’s 14
Finance Commissions, which address problems of vertical and horizontal
imbalances in finances, are an outcome of this seminal thesis.

Dr. Ambedkar was also inextricably connected with the Reserve Bank of
India (RBI). RBI was created on the basis of guidelines he presented to
the “Royal Commission on Indian Currency & Finance” in 1925 and his
book titled “The Problem of the Rupee- Its Problems and Its Solution”.

Similarly, Dr. Ambedkar was almost single handedly responsible for
establishing the Central Technical Power Board, the National Power Grid
System and the Central Water Irrigation and Navigation Commission. He
also played an important role in the establishment of the Damodar Valley
project, Hirakud project and Sone river project.

Third, B.
Ambedkar was a champion of labour rights at a time when the concept of
workers’ rights did not exist. In India, much before other nations even
started thinking about instituting just and fair conditions for workers,
Dr. Ambedkar successfully led the struggle for reducing work from 12
hours a day to 08 hours in 1942. He also vehemently (and successfully)
protested against the “Black Bill” which the colonial government was
using to suppress workers’ strikes.

His commitment to labour
rights is also visible in Article 19 (c) of our Constitution which
guarantees the fundamental right to form associations or unions.

Fourth, Dr. Ambedkar was one of the most prominent voices supporting the
empowerment of women. His first academic paper, which he presented to
Alexander Goldenweiser’s anthropology seminar in May 1916, specifically
addressed the position of women in India. He posited that women
traditionally enjoyed a high status in ancient India, and with unerring
accuracy pointed out that because of the inherent patriarchy of the
Manusmriti, women in India were accorded no rights to education,
property or divorce, or even of mobility. Thus, in Dr. Ambedkar’s mind,
reforming the social status of women was critical in the fight against

As India’s first Law Minister, Babasaheb Ambedkar
spearheaded the introduction of the Hindu Code Bill, giving rights of
inheritance and property ownership to women. Both he and Jawaharlal
Nehru believed it was a “vital step in the introduction of true
democracy in India, and would remove the practices and the logic that
underpinned the caste system. To them, it was state sanctioned legality
to secure the “ethical revolution” needed to implement “true democracy
in India.

Fifthly, Babasaheb firmly believed that a government’s
primary duty was to guarantee and deliver those conditions that would
actualise fullness of life for every citizen regardless of their caste,
gender, religion or class. Therefore, along with the Congress Party, he
gave India the world’s oldest and farthest-reaching affirmative action
programme, which guarantees equality of opportunity for all. Today this
programme is hailed the world over as the most radical programme of
social justice ever conceived.

This programme is specifically
designed to rectify centuries of historical injustices and create a
holistic future for people who have hitherto been excluded from
societies. It is nothing short of State sponsored social re-engineering
to establish a just and equitable society, something Dr. Ambedkar firmly
believed in. He saw in the institutions of Indian democracy the best
guarantee for the future development and welfare of all peoples’ in
India, especially the oppressed and marginalised.

Legislation related to
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Welfare

BD Sharma Draft Model Guidelines, Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act
Centre, State Acts and Rules on Manual Scavenging
Constitution (Eighty-Ninth Amendment)Act, 2003
Constitution (Sixty-fifth Amendment) Act, 1990
Draft Model Panchayat and Gram Swaraj Act
Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines Prohibition Act, 1993
Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, with amendments made in 1988
Model Rules for Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act
National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005
Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996
Prohibition of Manual Scavenging Act, 2013
Prohibition of Manual Scavenging Rules, 2013
Proposed amendments to Article 243 of the Constitution
Protection of Civil Rights Rules, 1977
The National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Act, 1993
The Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955
The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1994
The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 2015
The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2016
The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995
The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 2016
The Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006

“Humans are mortal. So are ideas. An idea needs propagation as much as a
plant needs watering. Otherwise both will wither and die.”
data on
scheduled castes and scheduled tribes

Access to Public Services
Economic data
Education data
Employment in Private Sector
Employment in Public Sector
Health data
Household Data

“Democracy is not merely a form of Government. It is primarily a mode
of associated living, of conjoint communicated experience. It is
essentially an attitude of respect and reverence towards our fellow
Papers and Articles
Filter By Author :

Case for Caste-based Quotas in Higher Education
Repairing Complex Historical Injustice
Punishing Dalit Assertiveness
For a New Rendezvous with Dr. Ambedkar
The Dalit Issue: A Hindu Perspective
Cultural Diversity Acclaimed but Social and Economic Diversity Ignored
Inclusive Development as an Effective Nation Building Strategy: A
Macro View of Status of Excluded and Marginalized Communities in India
Dalits To Accept Globalisation: Lessons from the Past and Present
Health Status of Dalits in India
Growing crimes against Dalits in India Despite Special Laws: Relevance of Ambedkar’s Demand for ‘Separate Settlement
Identifying Other Backward Classes
The Plights of Dalit: A Challenge to the Social Work Profession
U. P. Tops in Punishing Those Committing Crimes Against Dalits
Social Democracy in Indian Villages: The Experience of Dalits in Southern Tamil Nadu
Untouchability and Intercaste Relations in Rural India: The Case of Southern Tamil Villages
Reserved, but Restricted
The Political Economy of Capitalism, ‘Development’, and Resistance: the State and Adivasis in India
Situating Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Post-2015 Development Framework
Making Post-2015 Matter for Socially Excluded Groups in India
India: Moving Towards Equal Opportunities for All
When Women Farm India’s Land: How to Increase Ownership?
Protecting Women from Domestic Violence
Why India Needs the Women’s Reservation Bill
Thorny Transition: Women’s Empowerment and Exposure to Violence in India
Measuring Poverty
Poverty and Inequality in India: A Re-Examination
Food and Nutrition in India: Facts and Interpretations
Counting the World’s Poor: Problems and Possible Solutions
Data and Dogma: The Great Indian Poverty Debate
High income improves evaluation of life but not emotional well-being
Regional Poverty Estimates for India
Relative Deprivation, Inequality, and Mortality
Health, Inequality, and Economic Development
How to Monitor Poverty for the Millennium Development Goals
Inequalities in Income and Inequalities in Health
Is World Poverty Falling
Restoring ‘Title Deeds to Humanity’: Lawless Law, Living Death, and the Insurgent Reason of Babasaheb Ambedkar
Political Justice, Legislative Reservation for Scheduled Castes and Social Change
Humiliation and Justice
Emanicipation as Justice: Babasaheb Ambedkar’s Legacy and Vision
The Twilight of Human Rights in India
Why Did Poverty Decline in India? A Non-Parametric Decomposition Exercise
Access to Bank Credit: Implications for Dalit Households
Access to Health Care and Patterns of Discrimination: A Study of
Dalit Children in Selected Villages in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
Addressing Group Inequalities Social Inclusion Policies in the Great Transformation of Emerging Economies
Capturing Benefits from Public Policy Initiatives in
India-InterGroup Differences in Access to and Usage of the Rashtriya
Swasthya Bima Yojana Health Insurance.
Caste and Social Exclusion Issues Related to Concept, Indicators and Measurement
Caste Discrimination and Social Justice in Sri Lanka-An Overview
Caste, Employment, and Wages in India How do Employees from Different Social Groups Fare in India’s Labour Market
Caste-Based Discrimination and Atrocities on Dalit Christians and the Need for Reservations
Caste-Based Discrimination in South Asia- A Study of Bangladesh.
Christian Communities of India-A Social and Historical Overview.
Comparative Contexts of Discrimination Caste and Untouchability in South Asia
Dalit Children in Rural India- Issues Related to Exclusion and Deprivation
Dalit Christians in India: Discrimination, Development Deficit and the Question for Group-Specific Policies.
Dalit Empowerment and Vocational Education — An Impact Study
Dalits and the Right to Food Discrimination and Exclusion in Food-related Government Programms.
Dalits in Business- Self Employed Scheduled Castes in Northwest India.
Dalits with Disabilities-The Neglected Dimension of Social Exclusion
Discriminatory Behaviour- A Review of the Issues
Dr. Ambedkar’s Strategies Against Untouchability and the Caste System
Engaging with Caste Academic Discourses, Identity Politics and State Policy
Ethnicity, Religion and Culture based Discrimination- A Study of Malaysia
Evaluating the Social Orientation of India’s Integrated Child Development Services (Anganwadi)
Exclusion and Discrimination in Schools Experiences of Dalit Children
Gender and Caste-Based Inequality in Health Outcomes in India
Gendered Risks, Poverty and Vulnerability in India- Case Study of the Indian National Rural Emploment Act (Madhya Pradesh)
Health Status and Access to Health Care Services Disparities among Social Groups in India
Hostel Schemes for Dalit Students How Inclusive and Incentive Oriented for Higher Education
Housing Situation among the Poor and Marginalised Rural Households-
A Study of Indira Awaas Yojana in Selected Districts of Odisha and
Human Development and the Status of Social Groups in Gujarat
Human Development Index Calculations for Social Groups in India
with Extensions to Include Living Conditions and Social Networks
In the Footsteps of Ambedkar: Mobility, Identity and Dalit Initiatives for Change
In the Name of Globalisation-Meritocracy, Productivity and the Hidden Language of Caste
Interactions between Religion and Development in India-Values, Organizations and Social Movements
Local Governance in the Fifth Scheduled Tribal Areas-A Study of Maharashtra and Odisha
Observations on the Dalits in Indian Villages — 1963-2004
Religious Communities in India -A Development Profile
Reservation in Employment, Education and Legislature — Status and Emerging Issues
Reservation Policy in India - Dimensions and Issues
Reservations in the Private Sector – Issues, Concerns and Prospects
Rural Non-Farm Employment of the Scheduled Castes – A Comparative Study
Socio-Economic Characteristics of Tribal Communities That Call Themselves Hindu
Urban Labour Market Discrimination
Will India’s Attainment of MDGs Be An Inclusive Process
Blind Spots- Measuring the Limitations of Polio Vaccination Delivery in Dalit Communities in Gujarat, India
Broken Can Heal: The Life and Work of Manjula Pradeep of India
Dalit Rights
Equality- Study on Manual Scavenging
From Promise to Performance- Ecological Sanitation As a Step Towards The Elimination of Manual Scavenging in India
Gender Violence and Access to Justice for the Dalit Woman
Is the Present Education a Tool for Liberation of Dalit Women.
Justice Undelivered- Public Hearing on the Lack of Enforcement of
The Scheduled Castes and The Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities)
Act, 1989 in Gujarat
Education for Social Engineering
A Legally Immune Form of Discrimination: A Report on the Socio-Economic Boycott of Dalits in Gujarat
Story of Denial: What the Media Has to Say
Struggle for Justice and Survival: A Study on Socio-Economic
Condition of Families Affected due to the Death of Head of the Family
Working as Manhole Worker
Lesser Humans: Scavengers of the Indian Republic
Understanding Untouchability: A Comprehensive Study of Practices and Conditions in 1589 Villages
Untouchable in School: Experiences of Dalit Children in Schools in Gujarat
Caste, Inequality, and Poverty Inter-Household Income and Consumption Disparities in India
Caste-Based Discrimination in Nepal
Ambedkarites against Ambedkar
Caste in the Play of Corruption
Counting Castes Advantage the Ruling Class
Dalits Cry on the Eve of the Ambedkar Festival
Dance of Demonocracy
Debating Dalit Emancipation
Deconstructing Ambedkar
Dichotomisation of Caste and Class
Dismantling Dalit with a Poisonous PIL
High Courts Verdict on Khairlanji Justice Diminished
How the State Treats Friends and Foes of the Oppressed
Humiliation - Class Matters Too
In Thy Name Ambedkar
Indias Jati Panchayati Raj
Khairlanji and Its Aftermath Exploding Some Myths
No Swachh Bharat without Annihilation of Caste
One More Reservation
Reverting to the Original Vision of Reservations
Subalternism vs Dalitism
The Holy Cow
To the Self Obsessed Marxists and Pseudo Ambedkarites
Two Years of an Ambedkar Bhakt and the Plight of Dalits
Caste and the Power Elite in Allahabad
Philosophies and Respect, Self-Respect, Freedom, Recognition and Liberation
The Thought and Ideology of Jotirao Phule
Reinventing Mahatma Jotiba Phule for the Twenty First Century
Dalits and African Americans in 21st Century- Learning from Cross-Cultural Experiences
Changes in Dalit and Afro-American Identity in the Context of Intensified Capitalism
Ambedkar’s Legacy Viewed From The 21st Century
Contesting ‘Self’ and ‘Other’- Identities of Caste, Tribe, Gender and Beyond
Revolutionary Traditions of Indian Feminism
The State, Religious Conflicts and Tribal Oppression
Higher Education and the Scheduled Castes in Maharashtra

“What are we having this liberty for? We are having this liberty in
order to reform our social system, which is full of inequality,
discrimination and other things, which conflict with our fundamental

A Handbook of Dalit Human Rights Defenders, Swadhikar-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights
Caste Discrimination and UN Human Rights Bodies, International Dalit Solidarity Network
Dalit Rights, National Human Rights Commission
Draft Recommendations, Essential Elements of the Implementation
Framework of Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan, National Advisory Council
Draft Recommendations, Working Group on Denotified and Nomadic Tribes, National Advisory Council
Equality at work, the Continuing Challenge, International Labour Organisation
Equality in Aid – Addressing Caste Discrimination in Humanitarian Response, International Dalit Solidarity Network
First Report of Review Committee on the Backward Region Grants Fund, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Government of India
Human Development Report, 2011, Planning Commission
Impact of Climate Change on Life and Livelihoods of Dalits,
National Dalit Watch of National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights and
Society for Promotion of Wasteland Development
Implementation of
Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers Act, 2006,
Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment, Lok Sabha
Institutional Exclusion in Education, Centre for Social Equity and Inclusion and Swadhikar
Joint Stakeholders’ Report on Caste Based Discrimination in India,
27th Session of the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights
Council, National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights
Leave No One Behind - Inclusion of Dalits in Sendai Framework of Action 2015-2030, Asia Dalit Rights Forum
Raghav Chandra Report on Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled
areas) Act, 1996, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Government of India

Recommendations of Technical Advisory Group on for the development of
Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-nomadic Tribes, Ministry of Social Justice
and Empowerment, Government of India
Recommendations on Measures to Eradicate Manual Scavenging, National Advisory Council
Report Card on the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention
of Atrocity) Act, 1989, National Coalition for Strengthening SCs and STs
(Prevention of Atrocities) Act
Report of the Task Group on Development of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Planning Commission
Report on Constitution (Scheduled Caste) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2014
Report on Denotified and Nomadic Tribes in India, Forum for Facting Finding Documentation and Advocacy
Report on Development of Primitive Tribal Groups, Standing Committee on Labour and Welfare, Lok Sabha
Report on Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their
Rehabilitation Bill, 2012, Standing Committee on Social Justice and
Empowerment, Lok Sabha
Report on Reservation in Judiciary, National Commission for Scheduled Castes
Report on Reservation in Promotion, National Commission on Scheduled Castes
Report on Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of
Atrocity) Amendment bill, 2014, Standing Committee on Social Justice and
Empowerment, Lok Sabha
Report on Scholarship Schemes for
Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Castes, Standing
Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment, Lok Sabha
Report on Sub-Group on Safai Karmacharies, Working Group on the “Empowerment of Scheduled Castes, XI Five Year Plan
Report on The Problems of Migrant Scheduled Castes in Obtaining
Caste Certificates, National Commission for Scheduled Castes
Report on the Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination, General Assembly, United Nations
Report on the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India
Report on the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of
Atrocities) Act for the year 2008, Ministry of Social Justice and
Empowerment, Government of India
Status of Special Component Plan for SCs and Tribal Sub Plan for STs, National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights
Study of Cases of Exploitation of Scheduled Caste Labour in the Brick Kiln Sector, National Commission of Scheduled Castes
Task force to Review Guidelines under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Sub-Plans, Planning Commission
UPA Government’s report to the People, 2004-’08
Working Group on Empowerment of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs)
and Nomadic, Semi-nomadic and Denotified Tribes, Planning Commission

“Political tyranny is nothing compared to the social tyranny and a
reformer who defies society is a more courageous man than a politician
who defies Government”
Principles of
Human Rights

Declaration on the Rights and Responsibilities of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society.
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Declaration on the Rights of Persons belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and linguistic minorities.
Human Rights Committee concluding observations under article 40 of the covenant.
ILO Convention 107.
ILO Convention 169.
International Bill of Human Rights.
International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.
International Conventions, instruments on manual scavenging.
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“Constitution is not a mere lawyer’s document, it is a vehicle of Life, and its spirit is always the spirit of Age.”

Babasaheb Dr. Ambedkar
Legislation related to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Welfare
Data on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
Papers and Articles
Principles of Human Rights
Idea of India
International Conference
Speaker Schedules and Topics
Press and Media
Event Live Stream

Idea of India

At a time when other political and cultural organisations were sowing
the seeds of partition, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar
Vallabbhai Patel, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Sarojini Naidu and all of
India’s founding fathers and mothers were crafting the idea of India and
Indian-ness at the Karachi session of the All India Congress Committee
in 1931.

Presided over by Sardar
Patel and spearheaded by Pandit Nehru, the Indian National Congress
unanimously resolved to institutionalize socio-economic equality for
all, irrespective of their religion, caste, gender and birth (which
subsequently became the Right to Equality & Right against
Exploitation in the Constitution of India), abolition of untouchability,
religious tolerance and secularism (the Right to Freedom of Religion),
safeguarding minority rights (affirmative action and Cultural and
Educational Rights of minorities), the right to form associations,
freedom of expression of thought, universal adult franchise, inclusive
industrial development, and socialism. Each of these norms and
principles are deeply enshrined in the Indian Constitution, which
defines who we are as a people.

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar saw his own
principles mirrored in the Congress Party’s resolution. That is why he
closely partnered with the Congress in embedding each of its principles
in the Constitution of India, eventually becoming the principal author
of the Constitution Bill. Despite their disagreements, their fundamental
agreements on ideology and issues overshadowed everything else. Working
in close collaboration, they strived to to forge an India which is
just, empowering, and inclusive.

It is because of the discipline
of the Congress Party that the Drafting Committee was able to pilot the
Constitution in the Assembly with the sure knowledge as to the fate of
each article and each amendment. The Congress Party is, therefore,
entitled to all the credit for the smooth sailing of the Draft
Constitution in the Assembly.

Making of Idea of India
Idea of India

Babasaheb Dr.B.R. Ambedkar
Idea of India
International Conference
Speaker Schedules and Topics
Press and Media
Event Live Stream


Reclaiming Social Justice,Revisiting Ambedkar
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Concept Note
Conference schedule
Contact us

This Conference takes place at a time when the values of social,
political and economic justice are under attack at several levels:
constitutional norms and public institutions created to fight against
dominance and subservience have proved inadequate or have been
subverted; norms and policies often pay lip service to egalitarian
considerations; and the rise of social intolerance and exclusion tends
to effectively whittle down or even sabotage an inclusive conception of
polity and citizenship. The complexity of the social, political and
economic environment in which the value of social justice has to be
envisaged too has undergone significant changes too: we understand
social inequality and diversity to be layered and multidimensional; and
the state has to reckon with several competing centers of religious,
communal and cultural allegiances. Despite these challenges new sites
for social and political assertions have reemerged renewing the call for
social justice. Social activism in India today is much inspired by Dr
B.R. Ambedkar’s insightful work analyzing complex social and political
challenges and proposing daring and radical policy measures in response.
His approach to critical intellectual and policy challenges may inspire
similar interventions elsewhere in the world, particularly in the
global South.

This conference is an invitation to substantially
re-think current social, political and economic paradigms motivated by
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s imaginative and creative work.
The conference has the following objectives:

(a). To explore the idea of social justice for a society that
encompasses manifold social inequalities, deep diversities, exclusion
and marginality.
(b). To suggest constitutional, institutional and policy responses to the concern of social justice.
(c). To reformulate the conceptual and policy linkages between social justice on one hand and other related norms and concerns.
(d). To identify modes of thought and social and political practices inimical to the pursuit of social justice.
(e). To delineate social and political agency and modes of action conducive to the furtherance of social justice.

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s conception of social justice and his life’s work
shaping the idea of India through it offers the Conference a vantage
point for sustained reflection on concerns of social justice and its
relation to other human values in India and elsewhere. Such a Conference
would encourage a wide inter-disciplinary engagement among academics,
scholars, activists and policy makers on the sub-themes outlined here
Idea of Justice

(a) Social justice and human equality
(b) Justice and the market
(c) Justice and culture
(d) Justice, exclusion and marginality

Conventionally the idea of social justice is primarily concerned with
the distribution and redistribution of a variety of human wants and
needs, powers and resources. While Ambedkar dwelt extensively on the
wider concern of social justice he focused his attention primarily on
social marginalities that keep people ‘outside the fold’ by denying them
cultural and social access to social belonging. Under deep diversity
which predisposes people to different ultimate values, social relations
and cultural dispositions, he felt, some belief systems may even justify
unequal access to social resources. Keeping the idea of human dignity
in the forefront, Ambedkar embraced a model of social justice with
radical equality and democracy at its core. The role and place of the
market came to be redefined in the process.
Political Justice

(a) Nationalism and the idea of India
(b) Nation-state, citizenship and sovereignty
(c) Democracy and representation
(d) Rights, constitutionalism and rule of law

Ambedkar was deeply committed to democratic modes of resolving social
and political disagreements. He understood democracy to be a political
association of equal and free citizens defining itself in the indefinite
future. He was committed to designing democratic institutions for
post-colonial India as a politician, lawyer and the Chairperson of the
Drafting Committee of the Constituent of India. While he endorsed modern
political institutions he invoked a complex notion of citizenship: one
that recognized deep cultural and religious diversities and a sustained
conversation across them. This socially embedded character of
citizenship motivated ideas of political representation of groups that
was novel and unfamiliar to conventional liberal democratic theory.
Further, the prospects of nationalism as a political ideal was informed
and limited by the nature of citizenship.
Social Justice and Social Context

(a) Caste, class and identity
(b) Marginality, degradation and exclusion
(c) Categorizing the disadvantaged and public policy
(d) Social movements and social transformation

Dr. Ambedkar undertook many studies examining specific social
formations, particularly India, and proposed new categories for social
analysis. In this work he emphasized the need to concretely study social
relations before developing social categories for public policy. These
new social categories and analysis were at the core of the theories of
social justice he advanced. Ambedkar argued that political democracy
without social and economic democracy has little to offer to the vast
masses of India. He emphasized the interrelated ways in which caste and
ethnicity sustained relations of patriarchy and reproduced marginality
of women. He advanced the view that the category of class could not be
the basis for a viable political movement unless it addressed caste and
other social cleavages undergirding it. He argued that a democratic
polity should be partisan to social movements striving for social
justice. While the substantive concerns of Ambedkar were deeply bound
with Indian society and its transformation, the methodological
perspective that he developed has wider application. In this context the
conversation across class, caste and gender inequalities needs to be
reopened, and new strategies of mobilizing for social justice need to be
Economic Justice

(a) Constitutionalism and the market
(b) Development and redistribution
(c) Equity, marginality, and affirmative action
(d) Environmental concerns and social justice

Ambedkar envisaged a pro-active role for the state and public policy to
intervene in favour of the disadvantaged and marginalized. While he
supported state intervention in the economy, he also stressed the need
to adopt strong policies for affirmative action that reshaped the state
and made it representative, responsive and accountable. Above all,
Ambedkar developed a pragmatic view on the relative ability of the state
and the market to achieve social, political and economic justice. The
turn to market oriented economic reforms in India and elsewhere poses
new challenges for the social vision that Ambedkar bequeathed. This
conference is an apt platform to think through Ambedkar and offer
imaginative and creative strategies to achieve economic justice in a
modern complex economy.
Social Justice and the Cultural Domain

(a) Religion and social justice
(b) Religion and communalism
(c) Secularism and cultural pluralism
(d) Cultural dominance and the cultures of the marginalized

For Ambedkar, religion is of critical personal and social value as it
upholds the moral fabric of a society and ensures its creative
reproduction. In his work he emphasized the public and social effects of
religion. However, his critical engagement with existing religions was
far-reaching and he saw in the Buddha’s teachings essential ingredients
to sustain a good society. He understood the relationship between
culture and human agency dialectically: cultures can undermine human
agency and sustain subservience and marginality or they can nurture a
positive and affirming human agency. There is only one world to cherish:
the human world. The secular domain of everyday and ordinary living
becomes the space for self-perfection. He strongly believed that the
clue to resolution of incommensurable beliefs lies in the expansion of
the secular domain.
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Babasaheb Dr.B.R. Ambedkar
Idea of India
International Conference
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In its commitment to
establishing a just and equitable society, the Indian National Congress
has viewed India’s constitutional framework as the principal means to
rectifying centuries of historical injustices and to further liberty,
equality and fraternity. It has strived to guarantee and deliver those
conditions that would actualise fullness of life, especially for those
who have hitherto been excluded from society.

However, despite this
radical charter and the efforts of successive governments, segregation
and discrimination against historically excluded and marginalised groups
is pervasive throughout India. Equality of opportunity and status is a
norm followed more in the breach.

This is a major
challenge for India. In trying to understand how to make the promise of
this nation equitably accessible, it is imperative that we continuously
study why and how marginalised groups are discriminated against or
excluded. It is only then that scholars, activists and policy makers
can evolve and re-calibrate India’s social justice paradigm to uplift
and empower.

“Quest for Equity”
aims to further that cause, and serve as the definitive platform for
data, research and legislation on issues related to Scheduled Castes,
Scheduled Tribes, and minority communities. In doing so, it hopes to
take Babasaheb Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s spirit forward by encouraging
critical analyses of contemporary socio-economic and political issues
that India faces.

This website was made
possible with the kind support of the following individuals and

  • Columbia
    University, which has granted permission to host some of Dr. BR
    Ambedkar’s books; Dr. Ambedkar Foundation, for providing archival
    pictures and the collected works of Dr. Ambedkar; the National Archives
    of India, for providing manuscripts of Dr. Ambedkar’s correspondence;
    and Rajya Sabha Television for allowing us to host Samvidhaan, a
    ten-part mini-series on ‘The Making of the Constitution of India’.

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