Colonialism and Liberation: Ambedkar’s Quest for Distributive Justice

Economic and Political Weekly 34 (39):2804-2810 (1999)
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Abstract
Ambedkar denounced caste system for violating the respect and dignity of the individual; yet his critique of caste-ridden society also foregrounds the limits of the theory and practice of citizenship and liberal politics in India. Since membership of a caste group was not a voluntary choice, but determined by birth and hence a coercive association, the liberal view of the self as a totally unencumbered and radically free subject seemed plagued with difficulties. Though the nation state envisages a political community co-extensive with one cultural community, it need not, Ambedkar argued, necessarily lead to abolition of discriminatory caste practices in civil society. To restore the cultural rights of stigmatised populations, unredeemed by the nation state, propelled Ambedkar to seek solution in B
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