"The basic idea underlying religion is to create an atmosphere for the spiritual development of the individual."

Reclaiming Social Justice,Revisiting Ambedkar

This Conference takes place at a time when the values of social, political and economic justice are under attack at several levels: constitutional norms and public institutions created to fight against dominance and subservience have proved inadequate or have been subverted; norms and policies often pay lip service to egalitarian considerations; and the rise of social intolerance and exclusion tends to effectively whittle down or even sabotage an inclusive conception of polity and citizenship. The complexity of the social, political and economic environment in which the value of social justice has to be envisaged too has undergone significant changes too: we understand social inequality and diversity to be layered and multidimensional; and the state has to reckon with several competing centers of religious, communal and cultural allegiances. Despite these challenges new sites for social and political assertions have reemerged renewing the call for social justice. Social activism in India today is much inspired by Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s insightful work analyzing complex social and political challenges and proposing daring and radical policy measures in response. His approach to critical intellectual and policy challenges may inspire similar interventions elsewhere in the world, particularly in the global South.

This conference is an invitation to substantially re-think current social, political and economic paradigms motivated by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s imaginative and creative work.

The conference has the following objectives:

(a). To explore the idea of social justice for a society that encompasses manifold social inequalities, deep diversities, exclusion and marginality.
(b). To suggest constitutional, institutional and policy responses to the concern of social justice.
(c). To reformulate the conceptual and policy linkages between social justice on one hand and other related norms and concerns.
(d). To identify modes of thought and social and political practices inimical to the pursuit of social justice.
(e). To delineate social and political agency and modes of action conducive to the furtherance of social justice.

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s conception of social justice and his life’s work shaping the idea of India through it offers the Conference a vantage point for sustained reflection on concerns of social justice and its relation to other human values in India and elsewhere. Such a Conference would encourage a wide inter-disciplinary engagement among academics, scholars, activists and policy makers on the sub-themes outlined here below:

Idea of Justice

(a) Social justice and human equality
(b) Justice and the market
(c) Justice and culture
(d) Justice, exclusion and marginality

Conventionally the idea of social justice is primarily concerned with the distribution and redistribution of a variety of human wants and needs, powers and resources. While Ambedkar dwelt extensively on the wider concern of social justice he focused his attention primarily on social marginalities that keep people ‘outside the fold’ by denying them cultural and social access to social belonging. Under deep diversity which predisposes people to different ultimate values, social relations and cultural dispositions, he felt, some belief systems may even justify unequal access to social resources. Keeping the idea of human dignity in the forefront, Ambedkar embraced a model of social justice with radical equality and democracy at its core. The role and place of the market came to be redefined in the process.

Political Justice

(a) Nationalism and the idea of India
(b) Nation-state, citizenship and sovereignty
(c) Democracy and representation
(d) Rights, constitutionalism and rule of law

Ambedkar was deeply committed to democratic modes of resolving social and political disagreements. He understood democracy to be a political association of equal and free citizens defining itself in the indefinite future. He was committed to designing democratic institutions for post-colonial India as a politician, lawyer and the Chairperson of the Drafting Committee of the Constituent of India. While he endorsed modern political institutions he invoked a complex notion of citizenship: one that recognized deep cultural and religious diversities and a sustained conversation across them. This socially embedded character of citizenship motivated ideas of political representation of groups that was novel and unfamiliar to conventional liberal democratic theory. Further, the prospects of nationalism as a political ideal was informed and limited by the nature of citizenship.

Social Justice and Social Context

(a) Caste, class and identity
(b) Marginality, degradation and exclusion
(c) Categorizing the disadvantaged and public policy
(d) Social movements and social transformation

Dr. Ambedkar undertook many studies examining specific social formations, particularly India, and proposed new categories for social analysis. In this work he emphasized the need to concretely study social relations before developing social categories for public policy. These new social categories and analysis were at the core of the theories of social justice he advanced. Ambedkar argued that political democracy without social and economic democracy has little to offer to the vast masses of India. He emphasized the interrelated ways in which caste and ethnicity sustained relations of patriarchy and reproduced marginality of women. He advanced the view that the category of class could not be the basis for a viable political movement unless it addressed caste and other social cleavages undergirding it. He argued that a democratic polity should be partisan to social movements striving for social justice. While the substantive concerns of Ambedkar were deeply bound with Indian society and its transformation, the methodological perspective that he developed has wider application. In this context the conversation across class, caste and gender inequalities needs to be reopened, and new strategies of mobilizing for social justice need to be forged.

Economic Justice

(a) Constitutionalism and the market
(b) Development and redistribution
(c) Equity, marginality, and affirmative action
(d) Environmental concerns and social justice

Ambedkar envisaged a pro-active role for the state and public policy to intervene in favour of the disadvantaged and marginalized. While he supported state intervention in the economy, he also stressed the need to adopt strong policies for affirmative action that reshaped the state and made it representative, responsive and accountable. Above all, Ambedkar developed a pragmatic view on the relative ability of the state and the market to achieve social, political and economic justice. The turn to market oriented economic reforms in India and elsewhere poses new challenges for the social vision that Ambedkar bequeathed. This conference is an apt platform to think through Ambedkar and offer imaginative and creative strategies to achieve economic justice in a modern complex economy.

Social Justice and the Cultural Domain

(a) Religion and social justice
(b) Religion and communalism
(c) Secularism and cultural pluralism
(d) Cultural dominance and the cultures of the marginalized

For Ambedkar, religion is of critical personal and social value as it upholds the moral fabric of a society and ensures its creative reproduction. In his work he emphasized the public and social effects of religion. However, his critical engagement with existing religions was far-reaching and he saw in the Buddha’s teachings essential ingredients to sustain a good society. He understood the relationship between culture and human agency dialectically: cultures can undermine human agency and sustain subservience and marginality or they can nurture a positive and affirming human agency. There is only one world to cherish: the human world. The secular domain of everyday and ordinary living becomes the space for self-perfection. He strongly believed that the clue to resolution of incommensurable beliefs lies in the expansion of the secular domain.

Day 1 - 21st July
Time Session Details
05.00 pm - 06.30 pm Inaugural Ceremony Welcome speech by Dr. H C Mahadevappa
Introduction to conference by Prof. S.K.Thorat
Lighting of the Lamp
Speech by Kailash Satyarthi
Speech by Prof. Cornel West
Speech by the Chief Minister of Karnataka
Speech by Vice President
Speech by Martin Luther King Jr.
06.30 pm - 08.00 pm Cultural Programme Contemporary Indian Dance performance by Nritarutya
Religion and Social Justice

09.15 am - 11.00 am

Plenary Session

Mr. K. Raju

Prof. Cornel West

Prof. S K Thorat

Lord Bhikhu Parekh

11.15 am - 12.45 pm

K1-Key Note 1

Prof. Upendra Baxi

Prof. James Manor

Ananya Vajpaye

Chair : Deepak Nayyar

Parallel Sessions 1













Caste, class and

Categorizing the disadvantaged and public policy

Democracy & representation

Equity, marginally and affirmative action

Secularism and cultural pluralism

Social movements and social transformation

Political power and Social Justice

Karnataka, Ambedkar amd Buddhism

Nationalism and the idea of India

Social movements and social transformation

Women's Movement : Equality, Reservation, Development , Empowerment

Religion and Social Justice

12.55 pm - 01.55 pm

02.00 pm - 03.30 pm

Key note 2

Prof. Ashis Nandy

Prof. Shiv Vishwanathan

Dr. Meena Dhanda

Chair : Prof. Sudhir Krishnaswamy

Parallel Sessions 2













Caste, class and Identity

Cultural dominance and the cultures of the marginalized

Democracy & representation

Equity, marginally and affirmative action

Marginality, degradation and exclusion

Social movements and social transformation

Ambedkarism and karnataka Dalit Movement : Success Stories

Karnataka, Ambedkar amd Buddhism

Religion and Social Justice

Social justice and human equality

Women's Movement : Equality, Reservation, Development , Empowerment

Rights , constitutionalism and rule of law

03.45 pm - 05.15 pm

Key Note 3

Prof. Thomas Weisskopf

Prof. Samuel Myers

Mr.Jairam Ramesh

Chair : Balachandra Mungekar

Parallel Sessions 3













Caste, class and Identity

Cultural dominance and the cultures of the marginalized

Democracy & representation

Nation State, citizenship and sovereignity

Marginality, degradation and exclusion

Special Session - Narratives from the Marginalized : comparative perspective

Karnataka Society : Caste, Gender, Class - Challenges and Remedies

Dalit literature, culture , Art and Ambedkar

Religion and Social Justice

Social movements and social transformation

Social justice and human equality

Rights , constitutionalism and rule of law

05.30 pm - 07.00 pm

Keynote 4

Prof. Laurence Simon

Dr. Kancha IIaiah

Prof. Rajeev Gowda

Chair : Prof. Valeriam Rodrigues

Parallel Sessions 4













The Minority Question

Cultural dominance and the cultures of the marginalized

Democracy & representation

Justice, exclusion and marginality

Social justice and human equality

Social movements and social transformation

Ambedkarism and Religion - Linguistic Minorities

Jai Bheem Poets conference and Revolutionary Songs

Religion and Social Justice

Globalization, Privatization : Dalits and Backward Classes

Justice and culture

Environmental concerns and social justice/constitutionlism and the market

07.15 pm Onwards

Cultural Program

Cultural performances

09.30 am - 11.00 am

Keynote 5

Dr. Shashi Tharoor

Prof. Thomas Pogge

Mr. Prakash Ambedkar

Chair : Prof. Aakash SIngh Rathore

Parallel Session 5













Caste, class and Identity

Special Session

Media & Publications

Ambedkar, social justice and social movements of Karnataka

Karnataka : Development, Urbanization and Displacement

Re-Polarization of people movements - Debate

Cultural Karnataka and Social Justice : Achievements, Challenges

Social Justice and human equality

Categorizing the disadvantaged and public policy

Caste, Class and Identity

Social Justice and Human Equality

11.15 am - 12.45 pm

Keynote 6

K-6 Mr Jairam Ramesh

Prof James Manor

Prof. Neera Chandhoke

Chair : Prof. G Haragopal

Parallel Session 6













Caste, class and Identity

Cultural dominance and the cultures of the marginalized

Development and redistribution

Equity, marginality and affirmative action

Nation State, citizenship and sovereignty

Marginality, degradation and exclusion

Constitution of India and Social Justice: Karnataka Experience

Constructing a Rationalist Karnataka: Thinking, Organization and Struggle

Secularism and cultural pluralism

Nationalism and the idea of India

Research Scholar Panel

Research Scholar Panel

12.55 pm - 01.55 pm


02.00 pm - 03.30 pm

Keynote 7

Mr. Satish Deshpande

Mr. Prabhat Pattnaik

Mr. Anand Teltumbde

Chair : Mr. Mani Shanker Aiyar

Parallel Session 7













Caste, Class and Identity

Social justice and human equality

Development and redistribution

Equity, marginality and affirmative action

Justice, exclusion and marginality

Secularism and cultural pluralism

Approaches to Study Ambedkar in Karnataka: Political, Social and Literary Approach

Private Sector, Reservation Lapse and Social Justice

Religion and social justice

Rights, constitutionalism and rule of law

Marginality, degradation and exclusion

Democracy and representation

03.45 pm - 05.15 pm

An intellectual dialogue

Honourable Chief Minister of Karnataka Shri. Siddaramaiah's conversation with Kannada Intellectuals

05.45pm - 07.00 pm


To be announced

07.15 pm Onwards

Cultural Program

Cultural perforamnces

Contact Us

Speakers Contact number :- +91 7619167419

Prof. S Japhet Convenor International Conference and Special Officer, Bengaluru Central University Mobile:+91-9900451501 Email:ambedkar126international@gmail.com

Participants Contact number :- +91 7899367666

Mr. Manivannan, IAS Secretary Social Welfare Department Mobile:+91 - 9632060006 Email:ambedkar126international@gmail.com