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Political Thought In Modern India Thomas Pantham Pdf 23


Valerian Rodrigues (born 1949) is an Indian political scientist. He is known for his influential work on Babasaheb Ambedkar,[1] and for his formulations of themes in Modern Indian Political Thought.[2][3] Rodrigues has made substantial contributions to the debate on the working of the Indian Parliament,[4] constitutionalism in India,[5] and agrarian politics in India.[6] As a Professor at the Centre for Political Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi,[7] he was popular for his lectures on Indian Political Thought and Intellectual History, and critically reading the same through political concepts of modernity, secularism and nationalism. Before joining JNU, Rodrigues taught at the Department of Political Science at Mangalore University, Karnataka, India.[8]




political thought in modern india thomas pantham pdf 23



This research paper seeks to explain the idea of human dignity by analysing Gandhi's and Ambedkar's discourses on self, untouchability and the emancipatory social projects they propose in their writings and political practices. Convergences and divergences are evident in their shared enterprise to transcend humiliation for institutionalising a plural living world of self- respect, social recognition and dignity. They relentlessly tried to solve the problems of hierarchized and humiliating social order to ensue human dignity in their own ways. In India, day-to-day caste violence and oppression based on our horizontal and vertical identity often erodes human freedom and disallows equal respect as human being. These two founding fathers of modern India fought valiantly against these social evils and tried their best to rescue human dignity by changing individual from within to respect each other and to resist humiliating practices to open space for social recognition.


Among many of the modern Indian thinkers, activists and social reformers Gandhi and Ambedkar are of significance for many reasons. First, they developed experiential epistemology, through their political practices and daily life social transactions. Second, both of them were among the main leaders and social mobilizers of the independence movement and were well equipped with legal knowledge and negotiation tactics for their cause. They have produced a vast amount of original writings based on their belief; research and living and hold practices that place them as mass leaders with intellectual depth. Third, while critical to each other's views? both of them have a common objective of fighting oppression and to liberate individuals to realise their human worth and capability3 which is required for enhancing human dignity. Fourth, both the leaders were well versed with Indian traditions and social practices and were having a distinctive capacity to conceptualize their self-experience and theorize human dignity from Indian perspective.


In the case of Gandhi and Ambedkar, their experiences are sources of reflective consciousness that helped them to come out with their ideas of social change. They generate a set of moral or political categories that they deploy to motivate the masses for the purification of society and the purification of the soul. Both these thinkers of modern India gained an understanding of social nuances and an adequate understanding of India through voyages across Indian regions. For both of them, experience provides the vantage point for political mobilization of the masses.5


An enlightened thinker, Ambedkar, the self, had to be painstakingly carved out of the shaclding dross of a violent, hierarchical, and unequal society; it had to emerge out of the darkness of pre-modernity into the light of the rule of law, social justice, and egalitarian citizenship. Ambedkar rejected all interpretation of selfhood that subjected the self to rituals of humiliation, denied its intrinsic dignity, or resented its capacity for transformation and renewal. To Ambedkar, political freedom (swaraj) meant precisely the freedom to make the self. It was more a social self whose identity of being Dalit was cause of historical suffering and humiliation meted out to by caste Hindus.7


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