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Ambedkar and the Constitution of India: A Deweyan Experiment

Ambedkar and the Constitution of India: A Deweyan Experiment Contemporary Pragmatism Vol. 9, No. 2 (December 2012), 301­320 Editions Rodopi ©2012 This essay explores the democratic ethos championed by Dewey in the context of the Indian constitution. Ambedkar, the Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Indian Constitution, studied with Dewey at the Columbia University during 1913­16, and often credits Dewey for a lasting impression on his thinking. I focus on two examples of Ambedkar's efforts to exercise democratic experimentalism. The first is the provision in the Indian Constitution dealing with remedial treatment for disadvantaged citizens, variously called `positive discrimination and compensatory discrimination'. The second is the attempted passage of the Hindu Code Bill in 1951 for comprehensive reform to clarify, standardize and streamline Hindu personal law. The Indian Constitution can be taken as a location where the Deweyan robust sense of democracy is reflected in its aim for an inclusive, associated public space, in no small measure due to Ambedkar's Deweyan experiment. Mrs. Savita Ambedkar tells a touching story of Ambedkar happily imitating John Dewey's distinctive classroom mannerisms ­ thirty years after Ambedkar sat in Dewey's classes. It is impossible to find in Ambedkar's life story any hint of a living guru or a personality which http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Pragmatism Brill

Ambedkar and the Constitution of India: A Deweyan Experiment

Contemporary Pragmatism , Volume 9 (2): 301 – Apr 21, 2012

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Copyright 2012 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1572-3429
eISSN
1875-8185
DOI
10.1163/18758185-90000243
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Contemporary Pragmatism Vol. 9, No. 2 (December 2012), 301­320 Editions Rodopi ©2012 This essay explores the democratic ethos championed by Dewey in the context of the Indian constitution. Ambedkar, the Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Indian Constitution, studied with Dewey at the Columbia University during 1913­16, and often credits Dewey for a lasting impression on his thinking. I focus on two examples of Ambedkar's efforts to exercise democratic experimentalism. The first is the provision in the Indian Constitution dealing with remedial treatment for disadvantaged citizens, variously called `positive discrimination and compensatory discrimination'. The second is the attempted passage of the Hindu Code Bill in 1951 for comprehensive reform to clarify, standardize and streamline Hindu personal law. The Indian Constitution can be taken as a location where the Deweyan robust sense of democracy is reflected in its aim for an inclusive, associated public space, in no small measure due to Ambedkar's Deweyan experiment. Mrs. Savita Ambedkar tells a touching story of Ambedkar happily imitating John Dewey's distinctive classroom mannerisms ­ thirty years after Ambedkar sat in Dewey's classes. It is impossible to find in Ambedkar's life story any hint of a living guru or a personality which

Journal

Contemporary PragmatismBrill

Published: Apr 21, 2012

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