The Dalit Past and Future: Reading the Writings of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar

INSTUCEN Trust invites you to join a 3-day course titled “Educate, Agitate, Organize”, to be taught by Shri Aman Nawaz, Assistant Professor of English, Sri Venkateswara College, Delhi University.

Number of Sessions: 3
Dates: 28th to 30th June, 2023.
Timings: 7.30 p.m. to 9.00 p.m.
Venue: Zoom
Fees: ₹750/-
Resource Person: Aman Nawaz, Assistant Professor of English, Sri Venkateswara College, Delhi University

About the sessions:

The course will focus on a study of selective writings of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar spanning over forty years, beginning with Castes in India: Their Mechanism, Genesis, and Development to Buddha and His Dhamma. Ambedkar’s writings, as is well known, form an important part of his project for #Dalit emancipation, which brings together different facets of his career as an #anti-caste intellectual and an activist committed to “his” people. The lecture series is divided into three parts.

The first lecture discusses #Ambedkar as a student of #caste and later as an anti-caste activist who kept experimenting with different strategies for the #emancipation of the Dalits. It would discuss various forms of his activism, such as his negotiations with the colonial government for Dalit self-representation, his participation in various #Hindu #reform movements such as the #TempleEntry and #MahadSatyagraha, and his decision to leave the Hindu fold after the #PoonaPact debacle.

The second lecture would discuss Ambedkar’s counterfactual historical endeavours in order to “imagine” a past for the #Untouchables, giving the Dalit past a “language” of history. It would also discuss how his texts challenge the idea of a homogeneous Hindu India before the Islamic invasions and argue that there never existed a common Indian culture in ancient times. This would follow an interrogation of the history of ancient India and a critique of Indian historiography, as well as his attempt to trace the lineage of the Untouchables to #Buddhism as it comes across in his writings.

The final lecture discusses Ambedkar’s conversion to #Navayāna Buddhism and his “gospel” of Buddhism, The Buddha and His Dhamma, which stands as his “most complete exposition of an older tradition updated to suit the complex requirements of a modern, secular India,” in Gauri Vishwanathan’s words. The lecture would attempt to answer a few questions. Why did the same Ambedkar, who visualises a strong state as the protector of Dalits, convert to a different religion for emancipation? Why did the same Ambedkar who enshrines the Indian #Constitution with #secular and #democratic values convert to Buddhism? It would also discuss how his conversion to Buddhism makes a statement on the inefficiencies of the Indian #republican government and how Ambedkar considers #religion as a force that operates within the limits of the law by a reading of his 1956 magnum opus.

Registration Instructions:
1. Please register on the website at the following link
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The Dalit Past and Future Lecture 1
The Dalit Past and Future Lecture 2
The Dalit Past and Future Lecture 3
Enrolled: 18 students
Duration: 1.5 hours
Lectures: 3
Video: 4.5 hours
Level: Beginner


Working hours

Monday 9:30 am - 6.00 pm
Tuesday 9:30 am - 6.00 pm
Wednesday 9:30 am - 6.00 pm
Thursday 9:30 am - 6.00 pm
Friday 9:30 am - 5.00 pm
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed
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