[Note: This post is a result of several discussions with friends and acquaintances on the recent publication of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s ‘Annhiliation of Caste’, by the publisher Navayana, with an introduction titled ‘The Doctor and the Saint’ by Arundhati Roy. Since then, based on the criticism of Brahminical hegemony it has evoked from Dalit sources, several academics, journalists and commentators have criticized the objections as being ‘essentialist’ and ‘reductive’. Read Dalit Camera’s ‘Open Letter to Arundhati Roy’ and ‘Arundhati Roy replies to Dalit Camera’, for some context, and below those posts on Round Table India, do read every single post by critics contributing to the debate around the introduction and what it represents.
This post is my own attempt to sort through the issues with my experience in academia, and to explain why I agree with those in Roundtable India on the appropriation of Ambedkar’s work and legacy.]
… I cursed another good hot curse.
The university buildings shuddered and sank waist-deep.
All at once, scholars began doing research
into what makes people angry.
– Keshav Meshram, ‘One day I cursed that mother-fucker God’, (trans. by Jayant Karve, Eleanor Zelliot with Pam Espeland)