Recording of the session available on SoundCloud: Paul Divaker Mentors The Annihilation of Caste Reading Group
“..People sometimes ask…why the Pope does not introduce this or that reform? The true answer is that a revolutionist is not the kind of man who becomes a Pope and that a man who becomes a Pope has no wish to be a revolutionist.”
What will the legacy of B.R. Ambedkar mean to India and the world one hundred years from now? It is not uncommon or insignificant that extraordinary genius remains under-appreciated in its time, waiting in the wings as the lens of human consciousness develops the capacity to penetrate into its beckoning depths. Far ahead of its time, even in this day and age, Ambedkar’s The Annihilation of Caste is one such exceptional tract of extraordinary human insight. Though currently undervalued, its universal frame suggests that it must eventually take its place as a guiding beacon of the Indian nation.Like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X, the legacy of M.K. Gandhi and B.R. Ambedkar form an essential binary. One person paves the way for immidiate change, taking into consideration current sensibilities, while the other constructs the dreams of tomorrow–shattering every rotten, but dearly held sentiment that stands in the way. Today, we understand Gandhi and Ambedkar as polarities, in time perhaps we will see that they are two essential parts of the same puzzle of India.One hundred years from now, with the distance of time, we might realize that Gandhi was but India’s pope. His complicit charisma threaded together an unlikely nation. Ambedkar is our revolutionist. He set the terms for our freedom and through his drafting of the Indian Constitution, he won a victory that Gandhi never could. Unlike Gandhi, he did not see the nation that would exist in the next year, the next decade or the next five decades. He imagined the contours of a nation that persisted beyond this century and into the next. He constructed the strong foundations necessary for such longevity. His commitment to fundamental human equality and social justice sealed the nation together in an unbreakable bond. Through his words, his deeds, and his greatest legacy to the people of the Indian nation: the Indian Constitution, he has left us the foundations for the construction of an eternal nation. He has set his legacy in the strongest of stone. How our current generation decides to engage with his legacy, will determine the fate of our own legacy, as well as the fate of our nation.
Continue reading Paul Divakar Mentors “‘The Annihilation of Caste’ Reading Group” at Columbia
On February 28th and March 1st 2013, the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University will be hosting its annual graduate conference. Titled “Paradigmatic Conflict and Crisis,” the conference seeks to showcase the work of emerging scholars whose research is concerned with the spaces between conflicting, emerging, and established paradigms, and with new possibilities for our understanding of paradigm as both a discursive formation and a set of practices.
Continue reading Decolonizing the Digital
On December 16, a 23 year-old woman was brutally gang-raped, within an inch of her life, in a public bus with an illegal license that was driving through the streets for half an hour, unnoticed. Like Khaled Mohamed Saeed and Mohammed Bouazizi, this young anonymous woman has become the emblem of an angry nation. For students in New Delhi, this was the last straw. Their anger is justified.
Their reaction is dangerous and misguided.In the past year and a half, educated Indians have been willing to come out on to the streets to demand harsher punishment and more severe laws. As a nation, we are angry. We have been angry for a terribly long time. Unfortunately, we have not directed our anger towards the construction of responsible social values. Instead, in the course of our anger, we are demanding the construction of a brutal and violent tyranny that will only continue to serve those who are in power at the cost of the powerless.
Continue reading Protests in India: Who Will be the Final Victim of this Anger?
Prof. Ashis Nandy: Question 1 from Baraza Video on Vimeo.
Five Questions with Professor Ashis Nandy
2011 has marked a new model of revolution that stem from practical realities and shun standardized theory. What do you think the prospects are for such demands for change that function in the absence of macro-social frameworks and ideologies? What ideas or discourses are likely to rise to the fore in the future? Does the nation state have a future as the main unit of political organization? If not, how will people and societies be organized?
Continue reading Five Questions with Prof. Ashis Nandy
The recording is now available for the public conversation between Prof. Hamid Dabashi and Prof. Ashis Nandy.
The two eminent scholars raised crucial questions revolving around the theme of “state, culture, and human imagination.” Professor Dabashi and Professor Nandy brought to this discussion their respective conceptions of these central ideas. Of particular interest was the nature of the modern state and its viability within the context of changing epistemological, discursive, and temporal spaces. Professor Nandy suggests that the advent of the modern state has wreaked devastation upon societies by imposing the necessity of a cultural homogenization project. Building upon this idea, Professor Dabashi questions the viability of the modern state, in the Weberian sense, suggesting that the amorphous state has a greater tolerance for critical thinking than a totalitarian nation-state. The public conversation between Professor Dabashi and Professor Nandy is crucial to Baraza’s own work, which seeks to imagine – and create – a space that not only facilitates engagement within the geographic and disciplinary boundaries of Area Studies. It also encourages the production of new discursive modes around which these engagements can be centered.
Continue reading Recording: A Public Conversation between Professor Hamid Dabashi and Professor Ashis Nandy