To commemorate the 69th anniversary of Ambedkar’s conversion to Buddhism on 14 October 1956 at Nagpur, Navayana offers a flat discount on all titles related to the works of Ambedkar and to Buddhism for a week (offer valid till 21 October). Order these must-read books exclusively from our website.
‘A brilliant milestone in the history of Ambedkar publications … it marks, and indeed illuminates, the arrival of a terrain quite unlike the average landscape of scholarly publication’—Soumyabrata Choudhury, Biblio
In 1936, a Hindu reformist group invited B.R. Ambedkar to deliver their presidential address and chart a path to end the caste system. When he argued that the immorality of caste was sustained by the Vedas and shastras, and without ‘dynamiting’ them there could be no reform, they withdrew their invitation. Ambedkar published the text on his own. Mahatma Gandhi responded to the provocation. The hatchet was never buried.
‘This book of under 250 pages manages to cover an enormous terrain along with commentary that delves into Ambedkar’s life and times, offering valuable and thought-provoking interpretations of his work… read this excellent book from which there is much to learn’— Outlook
Sharmila Rege, in this compelling selection of Ambedkar’s writings on the theme of Brahmanical patriarchy, illuminates for us his unprecedented sociological observations. Rege demonstrates how and why Ambedkar laid the base for what was, properly speaking, a feminist take on caste.
‘American scholar Eleanor Zelliot shows us the world to which Ambedkar belonged and the worlds he altered’—Mint Lounge
This is a classic monograph on the Mahar movement in western India. It documents the social and political forces that shaped Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (1891–56), the greatest leader of Dalits, and the manner in which Ambedkar shaped the destiny of the Dalits of Maharashtra and India. Zelliot chronicles the movement from its origins with the first Mahar petition in 1890 till its culmination in the mass conversion to Buddhism in 1956.
‘An extraordinary book’—John Berger
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (1891–1956), one of India’s foremost revolutionaries, grew up untouchable. The discrimination experienced by Ambedkar continues to haunt a majority of India’s 170 million dalits as many are still denied water, shelter and the basic dignities of life. In this ground-breaking work, Pardhan-Gond artists Durgabai Vyam and Subhash Vyam interweave historical events with contemporary incidents, infusing fresh energy into the graphic idiom through their magical art.
‘This is Mumbai without her makeup, her botox, her power yoga; the Mumbai that seethes, unruly, menacing, yet vitally alive’—The Hindu
‘I am a venereal sore in the private part of language.’ That’s Namdeo Dhasal, the maverick Marathi poet who hardly had any formal education. Born in 1949 in a former ‘untouchable’ community in Pur-Kanersar village near Pune in Maharashtra, as a teenage taxi driver he lived among pimps, prostitutes, petty criminals, drug peddlers, gangsters and illicit traders in Bombay/Mumbai’s sinister and sordid underworld. In 1972, he founded Dalit Panther, the militant organisation modelled on Black Panther.
‘This book must be read not only by all those who want to understand the dalit universe but also by those who enjoy a good Indian book in English’—DNA, Mumbai
In the 1950s, as an associate at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute in Delhi, Nimgade gets to spend time with Dr Ambedkar. Throughout his life, Nimgade remains singularly committed to the ambedkarite movement. Nimgade narrates incidents in his life with candour and delightful humour—whether recounting his great-grandfather Ganba’s combat with a tiger in a forest, or his ‘forbidden’ love for a non-dalit woman. Moving away from the framework of victimhood narratives, Nimgade’s life is an inspiring story of triumph against odds.
The twenty speeches in the first of volume of Thus Spoke Ambedkar showcase the wide range of issues that Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar engaged with as one of the founders of modern India. Delivered between 1930 and 1956, they unravel a story otherwise jettisoned by mainstream ‘nationalist’ narratives that valorise a rather Hinduised ‘idea of India’. The uncanny prescience of the ideas contained here will help us seek answers to many of our persistent problems.
‘This slim volume is worth a serious read and the DVD accompanying it is also a must watch.’ —The Sunday Tribune
1943, Shimla. Bhagwan Das, all of 16 and a keen member of the Scheduled Caste Federation, waited seven hours to meet the man his father called ‘Ummeedkar’, the Harbinger of Hope-Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar. That meeting defined the trajectory Das’ life would later take in his single-minded pursuit of Babasaheb’s ideals.
Non-Hindu communities such as Buddhists, Jains and Ājiīvakas played such an important role in South Indian literary and religious culture. Despite their presence in Tamil inscriptional, archaeological and literary record, their significance has been undermined in historical narratives that have valorised the triumph of Tamil Śaivism, casting Buddhists and Jains as ‘foreigners’ to be spurned, ridiculed and dismissed as anti-Tamil.
In this pioneering study, focusing on two extant Buddhist Tamil texts—Maṇimēkalai (a sixth-century poetic narrative) and Vīracōliyam (an eleventh-century treatise on grammar and poetics)–Anne Monius, Professor of South Asian Religions at Harvard Divinity School, sheds light on the role of literature and literary culture in the formation, articulation and evolution of Tamil Buddhist religious identity and community.
‘This highly original work demonstrates that the Buddha’s path to awakening is oriented towards social liberation’—David R. Loy, author ofA Buddhist History of the West: Studies in Lack
Swaris argues persuasively that Buddha’s teachings are not esoteric, but grounded in everyday life. The Dhamma is not a revealed truth that humans could not have discovered by themselves. It is like a light brought into a darkened room so that people could see what is already there, once the fog of delusion is dispelled. In a style that would appeal to both lay readers and scholars, Swaris shows how the Buddha anticipated Marx, Derrida and Foucault by centuries.
‘Reveals the Buddha as an ordinary man who had an extraordinary approach to problems’—Deccan Chronicle
This is the story of that story, of the Buddha as seen by his admirers and questioners. In unassuming but agile prose, Amita Kanekar takes us to the time of the Buddha, then to that of Ashoka, and back again. The wheel is in motion, we move from one to the other, spinning with the wheel, becoming one with change.