e n

Entrepreneurship and Ambedkar’s economic justice

Ambedkar was quite certain about the part the State is going to play in the decimation of economic injustice. If Ambedkar were alive, he would certainly reject the retreat of the State from the economy

The hierarchical varna and caste system – which defines a person’s rights and duties depending upon his place in the hierarchy, which humiliates and stigmatizes a majority of Indians, and which forces them to lead an inhuman life – is very old. But the tradition of opposing this system intellectually is also equally old. The modern age brought with it the notion that capitalism would automatically put an end to the caste system. Besides capitalists, the Indian leftists were also protagonists of this notion. When, in 1990-91, India adopted the policy of liberalization (ie loosening of state control over the economy), it was claimed that it would transform the nation beyond recognition. And this transformation would not be limited to the economic arena; it would also extend to the social and cultural fields. It was also claimed that the new economic order would sound the death knell of the caste system. What was interesting was that “Dalit capitalist class” and a section of Dalit intelligentsia emerged as the strongest votaries of this claim. There are conflicting views on whether the post-1990s economic reforms (unbridled capitalism) have weakened the caste system. These need to be looked into. But we know that facts and arguments cannot be judged without an ideological perspective. The question is which ideological perspective should be used to analyze and understand these facts and arguments. Needless to say, only Dr Ambedkar can provide us with that perspective. He is the only philosopher, thinker and politician who had studied all the facets of the caste system and, after assessing and evaluating all the contemporary philosophies, ideas and thoughts, came up with not only social and political but also economic ideas to annihilate the caste system and do away with the economic injustice that springs from it. He dwelt deeply on whether capitalism could help end the injustices inherent in the caste system. This article attempts to evaluate and analyze the claims of the protagonists of the free-market system, of the “Dalit capitalist class” and of a section of Dalit intellectuals in the light of Ambedkar’s thoughts. Let us begin with the claims of the supporters of free-market system:

A 2011 document of the Planning Commission (now renamed Niti Aayog) says, “The economy has performed well on the growth front, averaging 8.2 per cent in the first four years … the pace of poverty reduction has accelerated … Nevertheless, it is heartening to note that looking ahead, India is well poised to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of 50 per cent reduction of poverty between 1990 and 2015.”[1] In other words, the market-driven development, borrowed from the West, is having a positive effect on India. The advocates of globalization see the “prosperity syndrome” at the micro level as well.

Dr B R Ambedkar with his professors and friends from LSE, London, sometime in 1916-17

Hence, to them, the rise of the capitalist class among Scheduled Castes is a “natural” consequence of the capitalist mode of production and vindicates liberalization. They say globalization not only gives equal opportunity to every individual but is also devoid of any discrimination in its structure and functioning. Is this a correct analysis of the current phase of capitalism in India? Can capitalism bring an end to casteism? Let’s try answering that question from the perspective of Ambedkar’s “broken people”. Obviously, we will draw on Ambedkar’s view of capitalism and the alternative model of development he proposed.

Emergence of Dalit capitalism

Liberalization led by the big bourgeoisie, under the hegemony of International Finance Capital (IFC), has had tremendous effect not only on the economy but also on culture and the academia. Currently, the academia is flabbergasted by the use of word ‘Dalit Capitalism’ and is pensively delving into the issue. What is Dalit Capitalism? Who are the Dalit capitalists? What is their agenda?

Writing about the rise of new capitalist class in India, Harish Damodaran (2008) argued that the pioneers in the making of Indian capital came from a few caste groups. He further argued that in post-independent India, especially after the green revolution, many new castes group like Kamma, Reddy, Raju, Naidu, Nadar and Ezhava have broken into the ranks of the capitalists. But his detailed analysis failed to capture the rise of the capitalist class among Dalits.

B.R. Ambedkar

In March 2006, the upwardly mobile section of Scheduled Castes (SCs) planned to take out a rally of Dalit capitalists wearing a “three-piece suit and an umbrella in hand on the roads of Delhi to demonstrate their progress”.[2] However, the organizers, coming under pressure from progressives, called it off. Half a decade later, these individuals formed the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DICCI), whose chairman, Milind Kamble, believes “caste and capital cannot coexist”. According to Kamble, “Capitalism dismantles rural societies and feudalism. Capitalism dismantles traditions and traditional cultures. Capitalism produces urban societies, democracy and modernity. India’s caste system thrived and survived on agrarianism and traditional culture. Caste is losing its grip over Dalits because India is industrializing, urbanizing and modernizing. Dalit capitalism will accelerate that process and will accord a human face to Indian capitalism. Caste and capital can’t coexist. One has to give way to the other.”[3]

For DICCI, a liberalized economy is the ideal. Kamble noted: “Globalization triggered economic reforms and the world turning into one mandi (market) made big corporations more competitive. Competition revolved around cost-cutting and quality improvement. New and small business players got opportunities. Some opportunities landed in Dalits’ laps as well … Today, some Dalits are making ancillaries to Tata’s Indigo and Nano, Bajaj and Hero bikes. Also, the reforms triggered by the market economy have caused ‘market markers’ to replace ‘social markers’. If you are an upper caste without a cell phone, TV antenna on the rooftop or a bike, then you are nobody. Your social marker – the sacred thread, for instance – becomes a burden. The chase of wealth has become a social phenomenon. Isn’t it a revolution that an upper-caste woman running a beauty parlour gives massage to Dalits? Economic reforms unleashed Adam Smith to chase Manu away from this planet.”[4]

The capitalists among SCs are highly influenced by the “Black Capitalism” of the United States. “We at DICCI are unanimous on this – without economic independence, Dalits can never gain social independence,” said Kamble. “Without economic equality, there can never be social equality. Without a strong capitalist class within Dalits, Dalit politicians can never become strong. Barack Obama’s rise was preceded by the rise of Black Capitalism.”[5]

Black Capitalism seems to be the guiding light of Dalit Capitalism. In the 1960s, many African American activists embraced Black Capitalism because they saw how developing strong economic institutions, both for-profit and non-profit, could boost their politics. They saw businesses as platforms for political action. This brought about a definite shift in their approach towards the eradication of poverty and integration of African Americans into the mainstream – from community-based development to individual progress and from State intervention to private initiatives. Dalits want to emulate this experience of Black Capitalism.

Bringing back Ambedkar

In his pursuit of justice to people who have been victims of “graded inequality”, Ambedkar sought answers from all the existing philosophies, be it political or religious, and was not entranced by one particular strand like the Dalit capitalists are today. He studied liberalism, Marxism, Islam, Buddhism, and Christianity to locate liberatory principles and their relevance in the given context. Some scholars see him as a modernist[6], others as a modernist who was never able to break away from tradition. For some, he was a liberal and for others he was more like Marx.

Ambedkar with members of the Independent Labour Party

Anand Teltumbde argues, “In his ‘Buddha or Karl Marx’ he (Ambedkar) comes closer to accepting Marx but for his methods, which according to him were overcome in Buddhism.”[7] Gail Omvedt has even written that Ambedkar, in his later part of life, renounced “state socialism” in favour of private property, citing Buddha’s sermon to his disciple Ananthapindika. Prof Valerian Rodrigues (2011) explained that Ambedkar’s approach was rationally modern. “Ambedkar advanced a volley of reasons why modernity is an advance over the earlier epochs. Modernity provides a platform of diverse tendencies. It was a site of contestation and combat as well as an advance over the epochs; it prepared stage for general emancipation…”[8] Upendra Baxi asks, “As there were many Ambedkars, so which Ambedkar do we commemorate?” Ambedkar interpreted all the available ideologies and philosophies to suit his goal of liberation of Dalits and his thoughts cannot be branded as one or the other.

Ambedkar’s idea of economic freedom

While describing an ideal society in Annihilation of Caste (1936), Ambedkar writes, “What is your ideal society if you do not want caste, is a question that is bound to be asked of you. If you ask me, my ideal would be a society based on Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. And why not?”[9]

Liberty for Ambedkar was non-negotiable. He argued, “Few object to liberty in the sense of a right to free movement, in the sense of a right to life and limb. There is no objection to liberty in the sense of a right to property, tools, and materials, as being necessary for earning a living, to keep the body in a due state of health. Why not allow a person the liberty to benefit from an effective and competent use of a person’s powers? The supporters of caste, who would allow liberty in the sense of a right to life, limb, and property, would not readily consent to liberty in this sense, inasmuch as it involves liberty to choose one’s profession.”[10] Ambedkar considered any opposition to liberty equivalent to an attempt to push humans back into slavery.

Equality was, for Ambedkar, the most contentious element of the French Revolution. “Equality may be a fiction but nonetheless one must accept it as the governing principle. A man’s power is dependent upon (1) physical heredity, (2) social inheritance or endowment in the form of parental care, education, accumulation of scientific knowledge, everything which enables him to be more efficient than the savage, and finally, (3) on his own efforts. In all these three respects men are undoubtedly unequal”.[11]

But, then Ambedkar, put forward a moral question: “Shall we treat them as unequal because they are unequal? This is a question which the opponents of equality must answer. From the standpoint of the individualist it may be just to treat men unequally so far as their efforts are unequal. It may be desirable to give as much incentive as possible to the full development of every one’s powers. But what would happen if men were treated unequally as they are, in the first two respects? It is obvious that those individuals also in whose favour there is birth, education, family name, business connections and inherited wealth would be selected in the race. But selection under such circumstances would not be a selection of the able. It would be the selection of the privileged”.[12] 

Ambedkar delivering a speech

In India and Communism, before dealing with the Hindu social order, Ambedkar theorized what constituted a “free social order”. He talked about two main principles: a) the individual is an end in himself and his/her overall development is the aim of society. It means the individual is not subordinate to society; b) governing principles of the associational life of the individual should be liberty, equality and fraternity. Ambedkar focused on moral equality as it rises above inequalities in physical strength, talents, industry and wealth. Later, he explained liberty as civil and political liberty, leading scholars to argue that Ambedkar was “working within the Enlightenment worldview … but still reposing faith in liberal democracy.”[13]

But Ambedkar knew that there is an inherent problem in the economic structure prescribed by liberalism and hence is not suitable for the toiling masses of India. D.R. Jatava, in his The Political Philosophy of B.R. Ambedkar (2001), noted that Ambedkar was not a votary of capitalism. Jatava wrote, “It is his firm belief that capitalism in its unalloyed form cannot sustain itself for long, because in pure capitalism, pauperism, unemployment, hard labour, long hours, dangerous and insanitary condition and oppressive supervision are a common lot of millions of people.”[14]

The Great Depression after the First World War and the rise of Soviet Union as the vanguard of the poor justifies Ambedkar’s views on the problems of capitalism. He pushed the boundary of the philosophy of liberation to match the contemporary struggle in the world and declare that Dalit has two enemies: Brahmanism and Capitalism. “By Brahmanism I do not mean the power, privileges and interests of the Brahmins as a community. By Brahmanism I mean the negation of the spirit of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. In that sense it is rampant in all classes and it is not confined to Brahmins alone though they have been the originators of it.”[15]

At this juncture, Ambedkar thought of socialism as the way to protect the poor in society. He analyzed the Marxist theory of liberation in Buddha or Karl Marx. Borrowing the liberal critiques of Communism, Ambedkar pointed out that:

“The Marxian Creed was propounded sometime in the middle of the nineteenth century. Since then it has been subjected to much criticism. As a result of this criticism much of the ideological structure raised by Karl Marx has broken to pieces. There is hardly any doubt that Marxist claim that his socialism was inevitable has been completely disproved. The dictatorship of the Proletariat was first established in 1917 in one country after a period of something like seventy years after the publication of his Das Capital the gospel of socialism. Even when the Communism – which is another name for the dictatorship of the Proletariat – came to Russia, it did not come as something inevitable without any kind of human effort. There was a revolution and much deliberate planning had to be done with a lot of violence and bloodshed, before it could step into Russia. The rest of the world is still waiting for coming of the Proletarian Dictatorship. Apart from this general falsification of the Marxian thesis that Socialism is inevitable, many of the other propositions stated in the lists have also been demolished both by logic as well as by experience. Nobody now accepts the economic interpretation of history as the only explanation of history. Nobody accepts that the proletariat has been progressively pauperised. And the same is true about his other premises.”[16]

Yet, Ambedkar was convinced that on four counts, Communist philosophy was still relevant:

  1. The function of philosophy is to reconstruct the world and not to waste time in explaining the origin of the world.
  2. That there is a conflict of interest between class and class.
  3. That private ownership of property brings powerto one class and sorrow to another through exploitation.
  4. That it is necessary for the good of society thatthe sorrow be removed by the abolition of private property.

Thus, among the number of available models of socialism he opted for “state socialism”, which maintains the correct balance between the private and public enterprises. In State and Minorities, Ambedkar spelt out his detailed plan for “economic justice”. In the proposed “Constitution of the United States of India” he has laid out in the book, Article 2, Section 2, Clause 4 is “Protection against Economic Exploitation”, which states:

“(1) That industries which are key industries or which may be declared to be key industries shall be owned and run by the State;

(2) That industries which are not key industries but which are basic industries shall be owned by the State and shall be run by the State or by Corporations established by the State;

(3) That Insurance shall be a monopoly of the State and that the State shall compel every adult citizen to take out a life insurance policy commensurate with his wages as may be prescribed by the Legislature;

(4) That agriculture shall be State Industry;

(5) Agricultural industry shall be organized on the following basis:

(i) The State shall divide the land acquired into farms of standard size and let out the farms for cultivation to residents of the village as tenants (made up of groups of families) to cultivate on the following conditions:

(a) The farm shall be cultivated as a collective farm;

(b) The farm shall be cultivated in accordance with rules and directions issued by Government;

(c) The tenants shall share among themselves in the manner prescribed the produce of the farm left after the payment of charges properly leviable on the farm;

(ii) The land shall be let out to villagers without distinction of caste or creed and in such manner that there will be no landlord, no tenant and no landless labourer;

(iii) It shall be the obligation of the State to finance the cultivation of the collective farms by the supply of water, draft animals, implements, manure, seeds, etc;

(iv) The State shall be entitled to ­–

(a) to levy the following charges on the produce of the farm: (i) a portion for land revenue; (ii) a portion to pay the debenture-holders ; and (iii) a portion to pay for the use of capital goods supplied; and

(b) to prescribe penalties against tenants who break the conditions of tenancy or wilfully neglect to make the best use of the means of cultivation offered by the State or otherwise act prejudicially to the scheme of collective farming.”

Hence Ambedkar, unlike Dalit Capitalists, was quite certain about the part the State is going to play in the decimation of economic injustice. If Ambedkar were alive, he would certainly reject the retreat of the State[17]. There are two fundamental objectionable goals of liberalization: retreat of the State and giving market (private sector) free hand and profit maximization.

Has Market been defeating Manu?

Without realizing that it would have a negative effect, a few Dalits intellectuals promoted the market as the “panacea” for all problems: “New turn is the offshoot of globalization and encompasses ‘caste withering’” (Chandra Bhan Prasad, 2004), thereby escaping “hunger and humiliation” (Chandra Bhan Prasad cited in Sengupta, 2008); opportunity to own material goods, enter the middle class and challenge Upper Caste Consumer Club (Prasad, 2009a); and replacement of caste capitalism (Prasad, 2009b).[18] The Bhopal Document (2002) echoes these sentiments.

Ambedkar at a march of the Samta Sainik Dal

In the recent Wikileaks exposes of US embassy cables, Dalits find a mention. The interlocutors report that after a year of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) rule in India, limited government efforts to improve Dalits’ socio-economic status had shown little success, and Dalits continued to face severe economic and social discrimination. What the cables do with regard to Dalits is that: a) they tell us that the Indian State is not taking enough measures to improve the lives of the Dalits; b) they question the model of development. The cables record the view that a comprehensive education policy at the primary level would help Dalits. They also seem to suggest that economic reforms have helped in decreasing the cases of discrimination, especially in the employment sector.

Here, we can find a consensus among Dalit elites and capitalists over the model of development for Dalits. Dalit capitalists believe that an economic rise will lead to Dalits moving up in the social sphere: “Our analysis suggests that for the surveyed Dalits, the description of the market reform era should come with an “and”, not a “but”. Prosperity raised the standard of living and the social and cultural fabric of the village has changed, much for the better. Debates about the effects of economic reforms on inequality in India based on changes in consumption inequality have so far completely missed these much larger changes in social and cognitive inequality”.[19] However, previous studies like Kulke (1976), Ram (1988) et al, reveal the fact that economic mobility of Scheduled Castes does not necessitate an equal social mobility and there is an incongruity between their social and economic mobility. In fact, Ambedkar warned the nationalists about the industrialization based on private ventures: “Private enterprise could not do it (industrialization) and, if it did, it would produce those inequalities of wealth which private capitalism has produced in Europe and which should be a warning to India.”[20]

A young Ambedkar

Many scholars have claimed the impact of reform on SCs and STs. Sukhadeo Thorat and Amaresh Dubey (2012) wrote that poverty incidence both in rural and urban areas between 1993-94 and 2009-10 had declined. Also, monthly per capita expenditure had gone up aggregately for the same period. “Across social groups, the rate of decline in rural poverty has been higher for the upper castes, followed by SCs and STs – the per annum decline being 2.7%, 2.4%, 2.1%, respectively … During 1993-94 – 2004-05, [monthly per capita expenditure] MPCE (rural) increased at the rate of 1.3%. The STs experienced the lowest annual increase at 0.5%, followed by 1.3% for the SCs and 1.4% for the upper castes. Among the religious groups, Muslims experienced a higher increase (1.7%). Among the social groups, the [monthly per capita return] MPCR (urban) growth has been the highest for STs (3.1%), followed by the upper castes, while for the SCs and Muslims’ growth has been lower (1.9% and 2.1%, respectively).”[21]

However, India – Human Development Report 2011 presents another side of growth story. All the indicators suggest that SCs and STs are lagging far behind the national average.

Table 1: Highlights of the differences in performance across various social groups.

IndicatorsSCs (%)STs (%)All groups (%)
Malnutrition among Women (BMI<18.5)41.246.633
Underweight Children47.954.539.1
Pucca Housing38.357.966.1
No toilet facility6569.149.2
Electricity for domestic use61.266.475

Child Immunization39.75.443.5

Source: India – Human Development Report 2011: Towards Social Inclusion, Institute of Applied Manpower Research, Planning Commission, GOI. BMI= Body Mass Index, IMR= Infant Mortality Rate, U5MR= Under-5 Mortality Rate, TFR= Total Fertility Rate

Although HDR (2011) recognized the faster declining SC poverty rate than the national average, but STs’ poverty is falling slower. SCs’ rural poverty rate fell by 11.5 per cent between 1993-94 and 2004-05, while the national average fell by 9 per cent. SCs’ urban poverty rate fell by 9 per cent over the same period, but the national rate fell only 6.7 per cent. But the incidence of poverty surveyed on Mixed Reference Period (MRP) in 2007-08 is higher among SCs and STs.Source: India – Human Development Report 2011: Towards Social Inclusion, Institute of Applied Manpower Research, Planning Commission, GOI. BMI= Body Mass Index, IMR= Infant Mortality Rate, U5MR= Under-5 Mortality Rate, TFR= Total Fertility Rate

Table 2: Incidence of Poverty, by Social Groups, 2007-8 (per cent)

Social GroupRuralUrban
Scheduled Castes20.622.8
Scheduled Tribes25.320.6
Other Backward Classes12.019.0
All Social Groups14.914.5

Source: Calculated from NSS Database, 64th Round Consumer Expenditure Survey

They also face discrimination at economic and social level. Though, the traditional structure of power and domination has loosened its grip on society, “it (caste) is not simply a matter of past tradition or value system incompatible to contemporary market economy but a reality that continues to be experienced as discrimination by the Dalit entrepreneurs. Notwithstanding the promise of inclusive development, the process of globalization and liberalization has not always worked in favour of Dalits. One of the immediate effects of the new economic policy has been the steady decline in the availability of jobs in the state sector where Dalits have the chance of securing a job under the quota system.”[22]

Hence, it is important to have social reform in parallel to political and economic reforms. Ambedkar had said that social reform is needed prior to political and economic reform. “If the source of power and dominion is at any given time or in any given society social and religious then social reform and religious reform must be accepted as the necessary sort of reform”.[23] However, Dalit capitalists are arguing for just the opposite.

A few questions for the Dalit capitalist

Dalit capitalists in India looking to Black Capitalism as their inspiration forget that racism and casteism are two different kinds of discrimination and marginalization. Ambedkar said, “To hold that distinctions of castes are really distinctions of race, and to treat different castes as though they were so many different races is a gross perversion of facts.”[24] He asked: “What racial affinity is there between the Brahmin of the Punjab and the Brahmin of Madras? What racial affinity is there between the untouchable of Bengal and the untouchable of Madras? What racial difference is there between the Brahmin of the Punjab and the Chamar of the Punjab? What racial difference is there between the Brahmin of Madras and the Pariah of Madras? The caste system does not demarcate racial division. The caste system is a social division of people of the same race.”[25]

Despite this clear understanding of the difference between race and caste being available to them, in the era of globalization, some Dalit rights advocacy NGOs and academicians have been trying to equate caste and race. D.L. Sheth warned that the “political implications of viewing the problem of caste from the perspective of race could be quite serious and should, therefore, be examined as dispassionately as possible”.[26]

Another mistake that the Dalit capitalists are making is that rather than sticking to the communitarian approach they have opted for individualism. This will only lead to the gulf between the elites and the others among the Dalits growing wider. Third, Dalit capitalists claim that if an individual is efficient, they can economically advance without any support from the State, though all those Dalit capitalists benefited from the reservation policy in education and employment. Yet, Milind Kamble, chairman of DICCI, has said, “Quota is not a must for success.”[27] What about the 50 per cent of Indian population for whom reservations are a lifeline? Such a statement is a shot in the arm for the opponents of reservation who want to do away with reservations.

Fourth, Dalit capitalists treat all Dalits as one type of people. That could be true in terms of the historical understanding of humiliation and indignity they have suffered but in the recent past the group has experienced uneven development. Dalits have different classes (upper, middle, lower), religions, languages, etc, hence their needs and attitudes differ. Gail Omvedt (2001) noted that there is difference of attitudes even among the upcoming Dalit middle class. She has differentiated between the old Dalit middle class that resists discrimination and the new Dalit middle class that feels proud of its identity. But there are some who don’t care about other fellow brothers. “Not all of the new Dalit middle class are radicals. Many are simply enjoying the benefits of the new life. They call themselves Hindus and are trying to live as others do …”

A 1942 photograph of the members of the Viceroy’s Executive Council. Ambedkar (seated, second from left) was the Labour member

A recent study by S.S. Jodhka (2010) produced empirical data about the caste composition of Dalit entrepreneurship in northwest India. The study found that most businessmen belong to Chamar and Valmiki castes. Their “association with a lower caste does affect their business directly or indirectly. They are considered ‘odd ones’ in the social universe of business.”[28] Hence, the market is not free from prejudices as projected by Dalit capitalists and these prejudices are against a group rather than an individual.

It is important to recognize the symbolic importance of Dalits making their mark in the world of business, for such an accomplishment breaks the casteist myth that an individual born into a Dalit family doesn’t possess the ability to helm anything political, administrative or economic. But the capitalist approach to put an end to casteism is erroneous. Yes, economic reform has led to some success stories among the Dalits but that should not lead us to believe that globalization and capitalism will drive away casteism from society. While discussing capitalism and globalization with respect to the Dalits, persistent discrimination and indignity, uneven pattern of development, cost cutting and automation leading to loss of jobs, among other things, cannot be overlooked.

[1] Faster, Sustainable and More Inclusive Growth: An Approach to Twelfth Five Year Plan, Planning Commission, GOI, October 2011, pp 1-3.

[2] Anand Teltumbde, Dalit Capitalism and Pseudo Dalitism, countercurrents.org, 7 March 2011

[3] ‘Caste and Capital Can’t Co-exist’, Times of India, 3 October 2011.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Partha Chatterjee, ‘B.R. Ambedkar and the troubled time of Citizenship’, in Mehta & Panthem, (ed), Political Ideas in Modern India: Thematic Explorations, Vol X, part 7, page 77. Chatterjee points out that “Ambedkar was an unalloyed modernist. He believed in science, history, rationality, secularism and, above all, in the modern state as the site for the actualization of human reason. But as an intellectual of the Dalit peoples, he could not confront the question: what is the reason for the unique form of social inequality practised within the so-called caste system of India? Being a modernist, he rejected all answers that relied on a faith in mythical religion or the sanctity of the scriptures. He wanted an answer that would stand the tests of science …”

[7] Anand Teltumbde, op cit, page 3.

[8] Valerian Rodrigues, ‘Reading Texts and Tradition: The Ambedkar-Gandhi Debate’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol XLVI, No 2, 8 January 2011.

[9] Dr B.R. Ambedkar, Annihilation of Caste, Chapter 14, 1936.

[10] Ibid, Section 14.

[11] Ibid, Section 14.

[12] Ibid, Section 14.

[13] S.D. Kapoor, ‘B.R. Ambedkar, W.E.B. Du Bois and the process of Liberation’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol 38, No. 51-52, 2004.

[14] D.R. Jatava, Political Philosophy of Dr Ambedkar, National Publishing House, New Delhi, 2001.

[15] Sanjay Paswan and Pramanshi Jaideva, Encyclopedia of Dalits in India – Struggle for Self-Liberation, Kalpaz Publication, New Delhi, 2004.

[16] Dr B.R. Ambedkar, Buddha or Karl Marx, Siddharth Books, Delhi, 2009, p 10.

[17] Indian Marxists intellectuals like Prabhat Patnaik argue that the retreat of the State is a myth. According to them, it has withdrawn from the social service sector but is highly intrusive in other spheres. In fact, they say, the state has become a police state.

[18] Dhananjay Rai, ‘Dalit, Globalisation and Economism’, Think India Quarterly, Vol 13, No 3, 2011.

[19] Devesh Kapur, Chandra Bhan Prasad, D. Shyam Babu and Lant Pritchett, ‘Rethinking Inequality: Dalits in Uttar Pradesh in the Market Reform Era’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. XLV, No. 35, 2010, p 48.

[20] W.N. Kuber, Ambedkar: A Critical Study, People’s Publishing House, New Delhi, 2009, p 211.

[21] Sukhadeo Thorat & Amaresh Dubey, ‘Has Growth Been Socially Inclusive during 1993-94 – 2009-10?’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol 47, No 10, March 10-16, 2012.

[22] S.S. Jodhka, ‘Dalits and Development’, in ed Manoranjan Mohanty India: Social Development Report 2010 – The Land Question and the Marginalised, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2011, pp 51-59.

[23] Ambedkar (1937), op cit


[25] Ibid.

[26] D.L. Sheth, ‘Caste in the Mirror of Race’, Seminar, 2001, p 2.

[27] Kajal Iyer, ‘Quota not a must for success’, IBN, 4 October, 2011.

[28] S.S. Jodhka, ‘Dalit in Business – Self-Employed Scheduled Castes in North-West India’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol XLV, No 11, 2010, pp 41-48.

Forward Press also publishes books on Bahujan issues. Forward Press Books sheds light on the widespread problems as well as the finer aspects of Bahujan (Dalit, OBC, Adivasi, Nomadic, Pasmanda) society, literature, culture and politics. Next on the publication schedule is a book on Dr Ambedkar’s multifaceted personality. To book a copy in advance, contact The Marginalised Prakashan, IGNOU Road, Delhi. Mobile: +919968527911.

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About The Author

Manjur Ali

Dr Manjur Ali is an assistant professor at the Giri Institute of Development Studies (GIDS), Lucknow. An alumnus of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Ali titled his PhD dissertation ‘Liberalization and Its Impact on Handloom Industry in India: A Case Study of Muslim Weavers of Banaras’. He studied the democratic assertion of Bihar’s Pasmanda Muslims for his MPhil. Prior to joining GIDS, Ali was a research officer in the Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA), New Delhi. Besides co-authoring a working paper titled ‘Social Security Provisioning in Bihar: A Case for Universal Old Age Pension’, he has published four research papers and two commentaries in international journals and contributed to several publications

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Why Jagdeo Prasad insisted on a Savarna-free party
The Shoshit Dal came into being as a ‘nichhakka’ party of the exploited. Given the political scenario prevailing then Jagdeo Prasad underlined the need...