Shimla: A three-day seminar on â€œAnnihilation of Casteâ€ began at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS) here on Monday. The President of the Institute, Prof. Bhalchandra Mungekar, as a citizen he was growing sceptical about the approach that academicians are adopting towards caste.
â€œI find that Ambedkar is used only as a name for public purpose but he doesnâ€™t occupy central place in Indiaâ€™s social and cultural discourse because he had raised some uncomfortable questions which still remain unanswered,â€ Prof. Maungekar added.
He also underscored the idea that existence of caste system canâ€™t be dismissed by merely stating that it is a political tool, while concluding that â€œUnfortunately, the caste problem is neither on national agenda, nor does it find place in national discourse. It is, however, as relevant today as it was decades ago.â€
Prof. Ghanshyam Shah, an eminent social scientist and a national fellow at the institute, gave an overview of the seminar. Not only will Dr. B.R. Ambedkarâ€™s writings will be picked up, but political actions will be discussed to contextualize the text. The participants would also look into the changes, if any, has come about regarding the cast issue, while reviewing the anti-caste movements. The last session would debate on a way out or, rather, a way forward.
Photo: Geetali Tare