Ambedkar and the Indian Communists: the absence of conciliation

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Kirby, Julian
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Ambedkar’s role as an Indian political leader during the late colonial period has attracted increased attention politically and historically. However, there is a startling disconnect between the modern, often mythological, construction of Ambedkar and the near forgotten historical figure. His broader programme for social uplift of the underprivileged is often lost in the record of his conflict with M. K. Gandhi and the Indian National Congress and their role as the dominant nationalist group in India at the time. The deification that has resulted from his use of Buddhism as an emancipatory identity has obscured his interpretation of it as a secular political tool in a political debate shaped and dominated by religious identity. This thesis will argue that the Buddhist conversion was a continuation of his political and social programme, not, as some have suggested, a retreat to religion after failing to secure reforms to Indian law and society.
Ambedkar, Communists, Buddhism, Marx, Gandhi, Congress, India, Mahar, Dalits, conversion, caste, untouchable, democracy, socialism, Brahmin, nationalism, Bhikkhu, Sardesai, Engels, Namboodiripad