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Dr. Ambedkar The Instigator of Indian Enlightenment Movement: Prof. Umesh Bagade


Pune: Symbiosis Centre for Ambedkar Studies, Symbiosis International (Deemed University), Dr. Ambedkar Chair organized a lecture on “Dr. Ambedkar’s View on Education and Caste” on Wednesday, 28th February, 2024 at Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Museum and Memorial, SB Road, Pune.

Prof. Umesh Bagade, Department of History, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, Aurangabad, Maharashtra was invited as the Guest Speaker for this lecture. Prof. Surendra Jondhale, Prof. Department of Civics and Politics University of Mumbai, Professor and Coordinator, Dr. Ambedkar Centre for Social Justice, University of Mumbai was the ChairPerson of the Program and Mrs. Sanjeevani Mujumdar, Hon’ble Director Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Museum and Memorial was the Guest of Honor of the program.

Prof. Bagade started his talk by building connections from Immanuel Kant’s philosophy and finding its evidence in the writings of Dr Ambedkar. He showcased how radical structuralists like Mahatma Phule and Dr Ambedkar were the product of the Indian Enlightenment Movement and curled out the ideas of education as proposed by Dr Ambedkar from his review of Bertrand Russel’s Book.

Prof. Bagade emphasised the idea of Dr Ambedkar, according to which reason alone cannot do away with the caste and how caste has a structure of forced labour. He also talked about Sant Chokhamela and Buddha, according to whom no knowledge is final and Knowledge is an ever-evolving process. He connects to the concept of Buddha’s eradication of Avidya, which became the mission of eradication by Mahatma Phule and Dr Ambedkar.

The Chair of the session, Prof. Surendra Jondhale, addressed the audience by sharing his concerns on the persistence of Caste today and the condition of education in contemporary times. He showed why Dr Ambedkar’s ideas are still relevant today. He highlighted the importance of Indian thinkers like Mahatma Phule and Dr Ambedkar and their critical writings when philosophers like Foucault, Derrida, etc, were being discussed. He raised critical, self-reflexive, and thought-provoking questions, such as whether untouchability is an exploitative practice, whether the spaces of modernity will abolish the caste system etc.

Dr. Jyoti Chandiramani, Dean, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, SIU and Dr. Ajay Choudhary, Chair Professor, Dr. Ambedkar Chair, SIU were the other distinguished dignitaries present for the program.

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