UNDERSTANDING B.R. AMBEDKAR
BABG 171 Free Solved Assignment
BABG 171 Free Solved Assignment Jan 2022
Q 1. Describe Ambedkar’s notion of an ideal society.
Ans. A form and a method of government whereby revolutionary changes in the social life are brought about without bloodshed. That is the real test.
It is perhaps the severest test. But when you are judging the quality of the material you must put it to the severest test … Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, Writings and Speeches, Volume 17, Part 3
It is April 14, the birth anniversary of Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (1891-1956). The day has been turned into an occasion for political parties to remember and pay lip service to one of India’s unparalleled leaders, a multifaceted personality, the chief architect of Indian Constitution, a statesman, economist and a social revolutionary.
He had his education at some of the world’s premier institutions such as London School of Economics, Columbia University, and University of London.
The occasion has become a ritual where parties vie with one another to garland his statue rather than make his dreams of creating an ideal society with people following principles of equality, liberty and fraternity a reality.
Fondly called as Babasaheb Ambedkar’s birth anniversary celebrations have travelled as far as Austria, Hungary, Canada, United States and the United Kingdom.
Ambedkar emphasised the significance of institutionalizing legal and political measures to brazen out the social distinctions, inequalities and injustices of a caste-ridden society.
He drafted various articles to protect the dispossessed classes against oppression from the dominant. BABG 171 Free Solved Assignment
Faith in democracy :
It becomes important to remember Dr. Ambedkar as the democratic exercise of elections in some States are just over. Dr Ambedkar said: “Democracy is not a form of government, but a form of social organisation.”
He firmly believed that political democracy could not succeed without social and economic democracy.
Prominent political theorist and subaltern studies scholar Partha Chatterjee calls Ambedkar an unalloyed modernist who strongly believed in science, history, rationality, secularism, parliamentary democracy, and above all modern state as the site for actualisation of reason.
Prof. Chatterjee describes Ambedkar as a “staunch advocate of the interventionist modernising state and of the legal protection of the modern virtues of equal citizenship and secularism.”
In fact, Ambedkar used parliamentary democracy and other idioms of modernity to assimilate the subaltern sections of society as against the nationalist construction of modernity. BABG 171 Free Solved Assignment
In south India, EVR Periyar was another leader who invested in the idea of the modern to represent the cause of the oppressed.
But at the same time Ambedkar had his doubts over political modernity in not representing the cause and created adequate space for claiming the rights through legal enactments.
Dr. Ambedkar’s national status was proclaimed much later by the Indian state during the 1990s during the first phase of Mandal.
This, along with the emergence of Dalit movements during the same period, saw a proliferation of statues across the nation outnumbering any other leader in Indian history.
The emergence of this new trend of installing statues for Ambedkar in public spaces in cities and villages symbolised self-assertion of Dalits.
Dalit writers and intellectuals based in Madurai also agree that the celebration that we’ve been seeing on Ambedkar’s birth anniversary and the consciousness to espouse ideas of Ambedkar have flourished on a large-scale during the recent past with the rise of Dalit movements during the post-1990s, and also the through efforts of Communist parties in bringing about structural changes.
Installation of statues has played a greater role in supplementing the assertion of Dalits and spatial equality, for long denied, made visible this time not as a mark of a social position within a caste hierarchy but as a new political identity.
Thus, statue of Ambedkar has become a new deity on the horizons of the modern urban spaces. This also resulted in attacks on the statues which became routine such as the atrocities against the Dalits leading to violent clashes.
Urban historian Professor Janaki Nair says that the proliferation of Ambedkar statues and how these symbolic structures helped in the assertion should not be perceived wrongly.
She says that Ambedkar’s legacy should not be seen within the ambit of ‘de-ordering’ of public spaces through statues and other signs but it is a multi-faceted one like Buddhism, constitutional politics, and human rights for oppressed castes and women, and more.
Q 2 Discuss Ambedkar’s economic analysis of the caste system.
Ans. Dr Ambedkar first articulated caste inequality in Indian society. He was of the opinion that nothing can build on the foundation of caste.
On the other hand, he worked for the ‘annihilation of caste’ because he believed that anything that is built on caste is going to create inequality within. India cannot progress with its caste system which is the main source of inequality.
As we know, studies on caste hold their own importance and relevance in Indian academics.
There have been many transitions in the concept and, historically, it is not exactly the same as it was when originated. BABG 171 Free Solved Assignment
In an erudite analysis of castes, Jodhka argued that the connotation of caste has changes from the one closeted in culture and tradition to a more useful contemporary dynamics, and the traditional modes of discrimination are changing into new modes.
Recognising the complexity and regional peculiarities, he argued for regional sociology of caste (Jodhka, 2012).
Andre Beteille believes that the economic, technological and demographic changes are altering the operations of caste (The Hindu, 20 February 2012).
He did not go far off from the arguments in his earlier work on Caste Class and Power, wherein he brought in class as also power to buttress the caste hierarchy hypothesis. Caste characteristics have not remained the same as they were.
Need to know the changes that occurred were acute and that provoked the central argument of Srinivas (1996) and others in Caste: Its Twentieth Century Avatar. The running core theme among the essays presented there is that the connotations of and use of caste have changed.
But the question whether the intrinsic hierarchical character has changed remained in the debate. BABG 171 Free Solved Assignment
The juxt a position of identity versus the hierarchical image of caste remained as a central point of the debate. The identity as also the hierarchy manifests in the context of class, power and regional specificities.
Caste as a word had originated from the Spanish and Portuguese word called ‘Casta’ which means lineage or race. It is derived from the Latin word ‘Castus’ which means pure.
The current spelling of the word is based on the French word ‘Caste’ which appeared in 1740 in the academies and is hardly found before the 18th century.
The word ‘Casta’ was applied to a mixed breed between European, American and Negroes. But caste was not used in its Indian sense till the 17th century.
The Indian use is the leading one now, and it has influenced all the other uses. The concept of graded purity was at the core of such hierarchical divisions.
Indian society is based on caste; individuals belong to the caste. As we understand, there are indigenous or local categories and concepts associated with caste such as Varna, Jati and Jat.
While referring to caste, most researchers make reference to Ketkar (1909) and often to Ghurye (1957) and Srinivas (1962, 1972).BABG 171 Free Solved Assignment
They emphasise the feature as hierarchy, endogamy, graded occupation, food and social intercourse disconnect in customs and dressing and civil or religious disabilities.
Ambedkar in his first essay emphasised control on resources, endogamy, immobility in occupation and operating irrational social institutions as the main issues (Ambedkar, 1916).
He termed the caste system as an ‘enclosed class’ and further in these enclosures ‘some closed the doors and others found the doors closed’.
His description taken further in his writing emphasises the control on resources and the idea of pollution or purity as the main drivers of sustaining the
A particular view of caste and Hinduism is central to this notion of Indian tradition and much of it has been constructed out of the Enological writings on Indian civilisation, colonial administrator reports and the nationalist imagination during the 19th and 20th centuries.
The history of modern-day theorisation of caste begins with Western and colonial encounters with the Indian civilisation. The British proved to be the most important of them.BABG 171 Free Solved Assignment
Not only were they successful colonisers, but also they wrote a great deal on the social and cultural life of the Indian people. Such theorisation of Indian social order was not merely an academic exercise. It helped them make sense of reality.
Relations between castes are governed among other things, by the concepts of pollution and purity and generally; maximum commensality occurs within the caste. Caste is usually segmented into several sub-castes and each sub-caste is endogamous.
Traditionally, it was the smallest group which constituted the unity of endogamy, and the identity of this tiny group stood out sharply against other similar groups.
In the case of lower caste, which was also rurally oriented than the higher, political factors have been responsible for the weakening of the barriers between sub-castes.
A distinction has to be made between caste at the political level and caste at the social and ritual levels (Srinivas, 1962, pp. 3-5).
The term ‘varna’ means a colour whereas the term ‘jati’ denotes caste, a group the membership of which is acquired by birth. BABG 171 Free Solved Assignment
The term “jati’ etymologically means something into which one is born. It is occasionally used by good ancient authorities as equivalent to ‘varna’.
Q 3 Discuss Ambedakar’s ideas on India’s pre colonial economy.
Ans. After long years of neglect, the ideas of B.R. Ambedkar seem to be gaining currency. While his thoughts on Indian society and politics have garnered more attention, some of his economic ideas too deserve greater attention.
Known largely as the father of the Indian Constitution and a leader of Dalits, Ambedkar began his career as an economist, making important contributions to the major economic debates of the day.
He was, in fact, among the best educated economists of his generation in India, having earned a doctorate in economics from Columbia University in the US and another from the London School of Economics.
Ambedkar’s London doctoral thesis, later published as a book, was on the management of the rupee. At that time, there was a big debate on the relative merits of the gold standard vis-à-vis the gold exchange standard.
The gold standard refers to a convertible currency in which gold coins are issued, and may be complemented with paper money, which is pledged to be fully redeemable in gold.
In contrast, under the gold exchange standard, only paper money is issued, which is kept exchangeable at fixed rates with gold and authorities back it up with foreign currency reserves of such countries as are on the gold standard.
Ambedkar argued in favour of a gold standard as opposed to the suggestion by John Maynard Keynes that India should embrace a gold exchange standard.
He argued that a gold exchange standard allowed the issuer greater freedom to manipulate the supply of money, jeopardizing the stability of the monetary unit.
Ambedkar’s Columbia dissertation was on the state-centre financial relations under the guidance of Edwin Seligman, one of the foremost authorities on public finance in the world.
Ambedkar argued that under a sound administrative system, each political unit should be able to finance its expenditure by raising its own resources, without having to depend too heavily on another.BABG 171 Free Solved Assignment
Q5 Discuss Ambedkar’s understanding of Buddhism.
The Dalit Buddhist movement (also known as the Neo-Buddhist movement) is a religious as well as a socio-political movement among Dalits in India which was started by B. R. Ambedkar.
It radically re-interpreted Buddhism and created a new school of Buddhism called Navayana. The movement has sought to be a socially and politically engaged form of Buddhism.
The movement was launched in 1956 by Ambedkar when nearly half a million Dalits – formerly untouchables – joined him and converted to Navayana Buddhism.
It rejected Hinduism, challenged the caste system in India and promoted the rights of the Dalit community.
The movement also rejected the teachings of traditional Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions of Buddhism, and took an oath to pursue a new form of engaged Buddhism as taught by Ambedkar.BABG 171 Free Solved Assignment
Buddhism originated in ancient India and grew after Ashoka adopted it. By the 2nd century CE, Buddhism was widespread in India and had expanded outside of India into Central Asia, East Asia and parts of Southeast Asia.
During the Middle Ages, Buddhism slowly declined in India, while it vanished from Persia and Central Asia as Islam became the state religion.
According to Randall Collins, Buddhism was already declining in India by the 12th century, but with the pillage by Muslim invaders it nearly became extinct in India.
In the 13th century, states Craig Lockard, Buddhist monks in India fled to Tibet to escape Islamic persecution, while the monks in western India, states Peter Harvey, escaped persecution by moving to south Indian Hindu kingdoms that were able to resist the Muslim power.
Q 6 Ambedkar’s social democracy
Ans. In the invasion of Sindh by Mahommed-Bin-Kasim, the military commanders of King Dahar accepted bribes from the agents of Mahommed-Bin-Kasim and refused to fight on the side of their King. BABG 171 Free Solved Assignment
It was Jaichand who invited Mahommed Gohri to invade India and fight against Prithvi Raj and promised him the help of himself and the Solanki Kings.
When Shivaji was fighting for the liberation of Hindus, the other Maratha noblemen and the Rajput Kings were fighting the battle on the side of Moghul Emperors.
When the British were trying to destroy the Sikh Rulers, Gulab Singh, their principal commander sat silent and did not help to save the Sikh Kingdom.
In 1857, when a large part of India had declared a war of independence against the British, the Sikhs stood and watched the event as silent spectators.
Q 7 Poona pact
Ans. The Poona Pact was an agreement between Mahatma Gandhi and B. R. Ambedkar on behalf of depressed classes and upper caste Hindu leaders on the reservation of electoral seats for the depressed classes in the legislature of British India government in 1932.
It was made on 24 September 1932 at Yerwada Central Jail in Poona, India.
It was signed by Ambedkar on behalf of the depressed classes and by Madan Mohan Malviya on behalf of Hindus and Gandhi as a means to end the fast that Gandhi was undertaking in jail as a protest against the decision made by British prime minister Ramsay MacDonald to give separate electorates to depressed classes for the election of members of provincial legislative assemblies in British India. BABG 171 Free Solved Assignment
They finally agreed upon 148 electoral seats. Nearly twice as many seats were reserved for Depressed Classes under the Poona Pact than what had been offered by
MacDonald’s Separate Electorate.
Q 8 Ambedkar’s view on social justice
Ans. Social justice is the spirit and vision of the Indian Constitution.
It is the duty of the state to secure a social order in which the legal system of the nation promotes justice on the basis of equal opportunity and, in particular, ensures that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities.
This article makes an attempt to explore Ambedkar’s ideas on social justice.
Thereafter, it focuses on Ambedkar’s struggles and ideas on social justice in the Indian context and it finally explores the relevance of his mission for social justice in the present times.
Q 9 Ambedkar’s contribution towards gender equality in India
Ans. Ambedkar paved the way for Indian women to legally vote, divorce, and own property. He was indeed a feminist.BABG 171 Free Solved Assignment
Dr BR Ambedkar made this statement in a gathering of over 3,000 women in 1927.
In another speech in 1936, to communities of Joginis and Devadasis – who typically belonged to the Dalit community – Ambedkar urged these women to fight the regressive religious practice of offering pubescent girls to gods in temples and become “sexually available for community members”.
He said: “You will ask me how to make your living. I am not going to tell you that. There are hundreds of ways of doing it.
But I insist that you give up this degraded life…. and do not live under conditions which inevitably drag you into prostitution.
Q 10 Small landholding
Ans. A smallholding or smallholder is a small farm operating under a small-scale agriculture model.
Definitions vary widely for what constitutes a smallholder or small-scale farm, including factors such as size, food production technique or technology, involvement of family in labor and economic impact. BABG 171 Free Solved Assignment
Small holdings are usually farms supporting a single family with a mixture of cash crops and subsistence farming.
As a country becomes more affluent, smallholdings may not be self-sufficient, but may be valued for the rural lifestyle.
As the sustainable food and local food movements grow in affluent countries, some of these smallholdings are gaining increased economic viability.
There are an estimated 500 million smallholder farms in developing countries of the world alone, supporting almost two billion people.
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