The Ambedkar Research Chair, KISS-DU and Research Committee (RC) – 9: Dalit Studies, Indian Sociological Society, New Delhi jointly observed the birth anniversary of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar on 14th April 2022. Speaking on the occasion, Professor Deepak Kumar Behera, Vice-Chancellor, KISS-DU threw light on the early life and education of Dr. Ambedkar and his peerless contributions to modern India. The philosophy and ideologies of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar coincided with those of Dr. Achyuta Samanta as both of them focused on education, empowering the women and enabling the youth, he stated. It is a matter of pride to have Ambedkar Research Chair at KISS-DU by the Ministry of Social Justice, Govt. of India, Prof. Behera added.
Presenting an international perspective, the Chief Guest, Dr. Gaurav J. Pathania, Eastern Mennonite University, Virginia, USA said, “International universities are honouring Ambedkar not just as a Constitution maker but also as a scholar. Citing from the archives, he discussed the writings of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and mentioned how Brandeis University has come up with an exclusive journal titled ‘Journal of Caste’. Ambedkar is a theorist of his time and according to him generation of new knowledge is possible only through concepts and theory. Dr. Pathania also touched upon Ambedkar’s core principles of dharma, dhama, liberty, franchise, nation and nationality, self-respect, rebirth and maitri.
The Chief Speaker, Professor Dhaneswar Sahoo, Retired Professor, Govt. of Odisha emphasized on the writings of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and the 21 volumes written by him. He highlighted the constraints faced by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in the process of getting his writings published. Adding to the constraints, he also talked about the reasons for the unpublished works. Drawing references from history, he narrated how Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was a victim of discrimination.
The Distinguished Invited Speaker, Professor Tila Kumar, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, appreciated the writings of Ambedkar and said that every single page is systematic and empowering. He also addressed him as a Messiah of the Dalits who had the capability of raising critical questions during that time. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar had worked for society including the right of drinking from the common wells and entry into the temples. During his period he had offered a new kind of anthropological and sociological discourses. While praising the work done by KISS, he said “KISS is the brainchild of Dr. Achyuta Samanta, who has the vision and mission of educating tribal communities”.
Professor Ashok Kumar Mohapatra, Senior Professor, School of Comparative Tribal Languages and Literatures, KISS-DU moderated the session, while Dr. Iswar Chandra Naik, Chair Professor, Ambedkar Research Chair proposed the vote of thanks.