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Radical EqualityAmbedkar, Gandhi, and the Risk of Democracy$
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Aishwary Kumar

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780804791953

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804791953.001.0001

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Of Faith in Equality

Of Faith in Equality

Toward a Global Measure

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 Of Faith in Equality
Source:
Radical Equality
Author(s):

Aishwary Kumar

Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804791953.003.0001

What sort of relationships did anticolonial mobilizations for national sovereignty forge between faith and politics, sacrifice and democracy, philosophy and resistance? This chapter traces a crucial moment in this genealogy to 1914-15, when Gandhi returned to India after spending two decades in South Africa, and Ambedkar arrived in New York as a student at Colombia University. Over the next three decades, the two created an unparalleled body of work engaged with questions of belief, action, and truth, replacing the nationalist aspiration for sovereignty with a resolute commitment to what this book calls unconditional equality. Reconstructing their inseparable and irreconcilable convictions, reclaiming the richness of Ambedkar’s formulation “faith in equality” as an interpretive, performative, and methodological coup de force, this chapter charts out an alternative history of ethical responsibility and political realism in the modern nonwest. At stake, it argues, is the tension between the political and “the social question” itself.

Keywords:   Philosophical History, theologico-political, “Social Question,” sacrifice, Phule, Tilak, samata, constitution, dharma, freedom

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