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The Inaugural Dr. Ambedkar Memorial Lecture at York will be delivered by Vivek Kumar (Jawaharlal Nehru University). In his talk, Dr. Kumar will deconstruct the reductionism of Babasaheb Dr. B. R. Ambedkar by mainstream academia, intelligentsia and media in Indian society. It will decode the process by which Babasaheb Ambedkar has been viewed only as messiah of dalits or the ‘Chief Architect’ of the Indian Constitution. By decoding the ideas of modernity and nation building in Ambedkar’s work, the lecture will also highlight why his idea of self-representation assumes importance in the process of nation building. The Lecture will trace the evolution of different shades of movements launched by Ambedkar – social, political, religious etc. and the role he played in the making of the Indian Constitution. The Lecture will conclude with an analysis of how Babasaheb Ambedkar has come to acquire an image of global icon.
Vivek Kumar is Professor of Sociology at the Centre for the Study of Social Systems, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, where he earned his Ph.D. He was a recipient of a Nehru-Fulbright Teachers Fellowship held at the Department of Sociology at Columbia University, New York. Professor Kumar was also a visiting faculty at the Institute of Asian and African Studies, Humboldt University in Berlin Germany. His latest book is Caste and Democracy in India: A Perspective from Below. He teaches courses on social science methodology, development and modernization in South Asia and the Indian diaspora at the Masters level.