Much of the existing scholarship on Ambedkar’s idea of religion has focused on his critique of Hinduism and on his distinct approach and endorsement of Buddhism. While such a critique and endorsement are a significant part of his oeuvre they are premised on a wider recognition of the role and place of religion, or, better still, a distinct notion of religion. Dr. Ambedkar considers such an idea of religion foundational to the constitution of one’s self as well as social life. Without foregrounding it, public life grounded on principles is not viable. Such an idea of religion leads him to develop not merely a sociological but theological critique of Christianity and Islam, leave alone that of Hinduism. His reading of Buddhism is inextricably bound with this idea. This lecture explores the idea of religion that informs Ambedkar’s writings and assesses its relevance for a deeply plural society.
About the Speaker
Dr. Valerian Rodrigues is Ambedkar Chair at Ambedkar University Delhi, and currently a Visiting Professor at Simon Fraser University.