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The Radical in Ambedkar

with Anand Teltumbde

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An extraordinary collection of immense breadth and scholarship.

This landmark volume, edited and introduced by Suraj Yengde and Anand Teltumbde, establishes B.R. Ambedkar as the most powerful advocate of equality and fraternity in modern India.

While the vibrant Dalit movement recognizes Ambedkar as an agent for social change, the intellectual class has celebrated him as the key architect of the Indian Constitution, and the political establishment has sought to limit his concerns to the question of reservations.

This remarkable volume seeks to unpack the radical in Ambedkar’s legacy by examining his life work from hitherto unexplored perspectives. Although revered by millions today primarily as a Dalit icon, Ambedkar was a serious scholar of India’s history, society and foreign policy.

He was also among the first dedicated human rights lawyers, as well as a journalist and a statesman. Critically evaluating his thought and work, the essays in this book—by Jean Drèze, Partha Chatterjee, Sukhadeo Thorat, Manu Bhagavan, Anupama Rao and other internationally renowned names—discuss Ambedkar’s theory on minority rights, the consequences of the mass conversion of Dalits to Buddhism, Dalit oppression in the context of racism and anti-Semitism, and the value of his thought for Marxism and feminism, among other global concerns.

An extraordinary collection of immense breadth and scholarship that challenges the popular understanding of Ambedkar, The Radical in Ambedkar is essential reading for all those who wish to imagine a new future.


“Ambedkar, like Gandhi, provides a great subject for global and comparative studies. This volume aims to do just that, moving away from any spirit of uncritical adulation, and the result is a series of fresh perspectives on a man whose relevance to discussions of social justice and politics increases with every passing day. A timely collection of some truly powerful and incisive essays”

Dr Dipesh Chakrabarty, Lawrence A. Kimpton distinguished service professor, University of Chicago

“Confining Ambedkar to a community is a historical error that has cost India dearly, both its politics and academics.”

Ashutosh Bhardwaj, fellow at Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla

“Taken together, these papers reposition Ambedkar as a global thinker addressing some of the most intricate problems that our world still wrestles with. Meticulous investigative essays, infectious concerns and combative advocacies admirably blend together in this volume suggesting several pathways of research and political action. The scholar-collective that the volume has brought together could not have been better in assessing Ambedkar’s distinctive contribution in a comparative perspective particularly in relation to the struggles of the Dalits in India, the African Americans, and the Blacks in Africa.”
Professor Valerian Rodrigues, Ambedkar chair, Ambedkar University Delhi