Dr Ambedkar and Untouchability


Author: Christophe Jaffrelot

9788178241562 | PB | pp. 205 | 2005 | Permanent Black

This is a thoughtful study focusing on Ambedkar as social theorist; as statesman and politician; and as an opponent of caste Hinduism and advocate of Buddhism.

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B.R. Ambedkar (1891-1956) was the first Dalit or low-caste Hindu to be formally educated to the highest level, gaining his PhD in the West. Despite this achievement he remained true to his origins, fighting for Dalit rights throughout his life. No one today doubts Ambedkar’s Status as India’s first and foremost Dalit.

For years, Ambedkar waged a lonely battle against india’s higher-caste political establishment, which included Mahatma Gandhi, who resisted Ambedkar’s effort to formalize and codify a separate identity for lower-caste Hindus.

Nonetheless, Ambedkar became Law Minister in the first government of independent India, and chairman of the committee which drafted the Indian constitution, and was able to modify Gandhian attempts to influence India’s polity.

Jaffrelot focuses on the three key areas that are central to a full understanding of India’s pioneering Dalit: Ambedkar as social theorist; Ambedkar as statesman and politician; and Ambedkar as an opponent of caste Hinduism and advocate of Buddhism.

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Christophe Jaffrelot





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About the Author

The author is director of the Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Internationales (CERI). His books include The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics (1996) and India’s Silent Revolution: The Rise of the Low Castes in North Indian Politics (2003).


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