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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS : The Ambedkar touch in rethinking social justice policies



Source: The Hindu

  • Prelims: BR Ambedkar, constitution of India, SC, Phule etc
  • Mains GS Paper I: Modern Indian history from middle of eighteenth century until the present-significant events, personalities, issues etc



  • Modern liberal ideas, capitalist development and democratic churning have made it possible that Dalits are now a well-recognised social and political force — a transformation made possible under the leadership of R. Babasaheb Ambedkar
    • He is known as the Father of the Indian Constitution and was independent India’s first law minister.





Dr. B R Ambedkar:

  • He was born on 14 April 1891 in Mhow, Central Province (now Madhya Pradesh).
  • He founded the Bahishkrit Hitkarini Sabha (1923).
  • Mahad Satyagraha: He led the Mahad Satyagraha in March 1927 to challenge the regressive customs of the Hindus.
  • Round table conferences: He participated in all three round-table conferences.


Major contributions:

  • Indian constitution: Main Architect of Indian Constitution
  • Constitutional morality: Effective coordination between conflicting interests of different people and administrative cooperation.
  • Social Reforms: devoted his life to remove untouchability.
  • ‘Bahishkrit Hitkarini Sabha (Outcastes Welfare Association)-1923
  • The temple entry movement launched by Dr. Ambedkar in 1930 at Kalaram temple, Nasik.
  • Attended all the three Round Table Conferences (1930-32).
  • In 1936: founded the Independent Labour Party.
  • In 1990: Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, was bestowed with Bharat Ratna.


Few important works of Dr. Ambedkar:

  • Mook Nayak (weekly) 1920
  • Janta (weekly) 1930
  • The Annihilation of Caste 1936
  • The Untouchables 1948
  • Buddha Or Karl Marx 1956


B.R. Ambedkar’s principles of social justice:

  • It would disapprove the current realm of neo-liberal economy for its neglect of the concerns of Dalits and Adivasis.
  • It would direct the market to be more responsible towards the worst-off social groups.
  • It would direct the state to reduce the pitfalls and slippages now in social justice policies and make them more relevant in the present day.
  • His approach allows us to diagnose illnesses in the social and economic order.
  • He offers ethical corrective measures to make institutions more democratic, representative and closer to the claims and the desires of marginalized social groups.
  • The mechanism of social justice is not radical and transformative (unlike the Marxist model)
    • It provides moral sensibilities to institutions and makes it responsible towards the diverse population.


Present Neo-Liberal Market:

  • The neo-liberal market is alien to ethical values
  • It overtly celebrates the exclusive control of few corporate bodies and businessmen over capitalist development.
  • The market enterprise is more exploitative and closer to a crony capitalist mode.
    • This version of the market economy needs reforms.

What steps need to be taken to improve the inclusion of socially deprived classes?

  • The new social justice policies should be expanded to the private economy, with a focus to democratize the working classes and to reduce poverty.
  • A substantive integration of social justice policies in directing the prospects of the market economy would integrate Dalits and Adivasis as a part of the working classes.
    • It will elevate their stature as influential upholders of capitalist assets.
  • Adivasi concerns to protect their habitats, ecological order and cultural autonomy must be addressed
    • while endorsing the fact about the market economy’s
  • The current phase of economic development, technological innovations and the expansion of the market economy
    • It should be directed toward making Dalit and Adivasi groups as influential arbitrators in the neo-liberal discourse.
  • Newer conditions and reparation policies should be adopted to fight the historical wrongs and social discrimination against these groups
    • ensure their equitable participation in the diverse spheres of economic development.
  • The new framework of social justice must ensure that an impressive class among Dalits and Adivasis emerges as the leaders, business entrepreneurs and influencers in the economic sphere.
    • It would allow policymakers to look beyond the conventional social justice policies that often address Dalit-Adivasi groups as the passive recipient of the state’s welfare packages.
  • Dalits and Adivasis should not be identified only as the poor and migrant working class that is dependent upon the benevolence of corporate social responsibility for their livelihood.
    • These groups should be advanced as the essential components of urbanization, industrial production and technological innovations.
  • More affirmative action policies are required to democratize the niche sphere of big businesses
    • so that the Dalit-Adivasi class should also emerge as industrialists, market leaders and crucial influencers in the global economy.


Way Forward

  • Ambedkar emerged as a torchbearer of liberal enlightened ideas and expected that post-colonial India would be distinct from the past and would invite Dalits and other marginalized communities to be equal shareholders in the nation’s economic and political development.
    • The modernist objectives have been partially achieved only today.
  • Ambedkar looked upon the modern state as the key transformative force for the emancipation of Dalits and Adivasis.
    • However, in the neo-liberal realm, the state has been converted as the passive associate of big business
    • It readily deviates from its social responsibilities and welfarist values.
  • The new agenda of social justice should be oriented towards the leaders of the market economy, educating to adopt welfarist measures for the worst-off social groups, and making them integral to economic development.
  • Ambedkar’s version of social justice would help us to redefine capitalism as a pluralist and cooperative mode of economic order
    • It guarantees the substantive participation of Dalits and Adivasis in the market economy and in the associated institutions of power and privileges.



Are tolerance, assimilation and pluralism the key elements in the making of an Indian form of secularism? Justify your answer.(UPSC 2022) (200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)