Guest Lecture on Ambedkar Jayanti, 2018 – ‘Will the Dalits Survive?’

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Poster. Text: Will the Dalit Survive? P.G. Jogdand, Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Mumbai. Professor and Head, Department of Sociology, University of Mumbai. NLUO Saturday April 14, 2018. 11:30 a.m. - 1:00. p.m. Seminar Hall. Logo of IDIA. Background image is a black and white image of Dr. Ambedkar.At the outset, let me introduce myself. My name is Trilok Chand and I am proud to be an IDIA scholar. Recently, we organized a lecture on “Will the Dalit Survive?” to commemorate Ambedkar Jayanti 2018 at National Law University, Odisha (“NLUO”). The lecture was delivered by Dr. P.G. Jogdand, a renowned sociologist, and retired Dean – Faculty of Arts, University of Mumbai. We were happy to see that the lecture was a great success in spite of us organising it at a very short notice.

Why do we need to celebrate Ambedkar Jayanti?

I would like to start by sharing an incident that left a deep impact on me and motivated me to organise this event at NLUO. I joined NLUO in 2016, and surprisingly, Ambedkar Jayanti was just a date on our academic calendar and a holiday for the students, in spite of our calendar being full of fests and events. It is ironic that being in law school, we don’t celebrate the anniversary of a man who dedicated his whole life to the nation and made an indispensable contribution to our Constitution.

Image of students sitting on chairs in a conference room.So, last year, we decided to celebrate Ambedkar Jayanti, but unfortunately couldn’t garner much support. Undaunted, we planned a small event involving a group discussion on the views and ideals of Dr. Ambedkar on different issues. It was a humble enterprise – we bought some chocolates, printed few posters and distributed them among the students. We believe we made a difference even with our limited reach.

A negative remark from a friend left me completely disheartened, and also determined to celebrate Ambedkar Jayanti at a larger scale, so to as to create greater awareness about its significance.

Ambedkar Jayanti 2018

Image of Dr. Jogdand and another lady sitting on a podium with table mics in front of them. They are looking towards someone in the audience.

This year, we organised a guest lecture on “Will Dalits Survive?” in collaboration with IDIA Odisha Chapter and the Ambedkar Study Circle, to celebrate Ambedkar Jayanti on a much larger scale and to commemorate the memory of the father our Constitution. The lecture was divided into two sessions. In the first session, Dr. P.G. Jogdand talked about the views of Dr. Ambedkar on the emergence of caste and class. He discussed Dr. Ambedkar’s role in the various social movements in India and his contribution towards the exercise of nation-building. He also delved upon how Dr. Ambedkar is often misunderstood. Although  a Dalit leader, his impact on labour laws, personal laws, banking, water distribution etc. impacted every citizen in our country. Dr. P.G. Jogdand also emphasised on Dr. Ambedkar’s crucial contribution to the Constitution of India, his role in making an inclusive society, his foresight and his struggles.

The second session was a “Q and A” session. The audience raised a lot of questions and many students found the lecture to be eye opening and empowering. Most of the questions revolved around reservation policy, caste politics, recent cases of atrocities against minorities, and the relevance of Dr. Ambedkar’s views in contemporary India.

Group photo of students, Dr. Jogdand and a professor standing together in the auditorium.

Overall, the session went extremely well, and I personally feel it served an important purpose – that of having a thought-provoking session and clearing some misconceptions about Dr. Ambedkar and his ideology.

I would like to extend special thanks to Prof. Rita Ray (Professor of Sociology at NLUO) for her involvement in both the sessions and for her kind support in organsing them. Last but not the least, I am grateful for Prof. Shamnad Basheer’s support and guidance -it has always been an eternal source of motivation for me and the IDIA team. I would also like to thank the Ambedkar study Circle for making the session a grand success.

We sincerely hope to organise more such thought-provoking sessions in the future.

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