The Journal: Introduction, Aims & Scope
All About Ambedkar: A Journal on Theory and Praxis is an open access peer-reviewed online English-language journal. It publishes three issues per year and comprises both general and theme-based special issues. The journal started its journey in September 2020 and published its first issue in December 2020.
This philosophy behind the journal is based on a simple premise: B. R. Ambedkar deserves to be read. In his masterpiece Who Were the Shudras? Ambedkar observes, “I do not despair of success. For I take consolation in the words of the poet Bhavabhuti who said, ‘Time is infinite, and earth is vast, someday there will be born a man who will appreciate what I have said.’” Forget about appreciating his works, for decades we have experienced the most fundamental problem, i.e., accessing his texts. From being suppressed and not published for decades to being ignored in the academic space, Ambedkar’s books have not reached us. But times are changing. Ambedkar is no longer considered to be just a “reservation leader” but, as many argue, as “the father of modern India.” For us, Ambedkar is primarily a thinker – perhaps, the most original, rigorous, and provocative thinker India has produced. One wonders how many intellectuals, or even “organic intellectuals,” in the history of humanity, have balanced theory and praxis, intellectual pursuit and political activism the way Ambedkar had managed to do it.
This journal is dedicated to the dissemination of Ambedkar’s ideas by way of a close reading of his texts. The project is risky at least for two reasons. First, most of Ambedkar’s texts are yet to be “established.” The editorial policies involved in the making of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar: Writings and Speeches are questionable. As one reads these volumes one feels the need for footnotes and annotations, a proper generic arrangement of texts, and substantial background material to put the texts in their contexts. No doubt new editions of Ambedkar’s works are being published as single volumes in recent times to address this lacuna. But more scholarly editions are needed. Second, given the vastness and range of subjects Ambedkar covers in his writings and speeches – economics, law, history, literature, anthropology, sociology, mathematics, linguistics, statistics, theology, politics, philosophy, and so on – it is difficult for many of us to grasp the full import of his ideas in any given textual situation. But, as they say, no risk no gain.
The primary focus of the journal is a critical reading of Ambedkar’s texts in particular and anti-caste literature, politics and culture in general. Given its multidisciplinary nature, the journal is privileged to have scholars from various disciplines on its editorial board. We sincerely hope that the journal inspires the readers to turn and return to Ambedkar’s texts and helps them develop a nuanced understanding of the problem of caste.