Two books by the philosopher and teacher, Soumyabrata Choudhury. Two books to inflict the vital wound of thought.
This pack includes:
With Ambedkar and Other Immortals, Soumyabrata Choudhury produces urgent interpretive realignments which provoke in us the capacity to receive a new, vital wound of thinking: the wound of Ambedkar-thought. Like Althusser marked a philosophical return to Marx, and Lacan to Freud, Choudhury ‘returns’ to Ambedkar guided by Alain Badiou’s philosophical system.
Ambedkar, the activist and politician, is upheld as a thinker with supreme fidelity to the “norm of equality”, a figure in a long line of immortals from Pericles and Abbé Sieyès to Toussaint L’Ouverture. This wager on equality is undeterred by its absence on the ground. Recognising the universal logic of subjugation then opens up the space for a universal articulation for emancipation.
In December 2019, Shaheen Bagh became the site of an intense opposition to the newly amended Citizenship Amendment Act. It renewed the ‘communal question’—who is considered a citizen? In March 2020, another shattering event—the coronavirus pandemic. The time of isolation was upon us. These events sparked the need to rethink fundamental questions: What is a constitution? Can social life also be an isolated one? Why were some abandoned to the streets while we remained indoors during the lockdown? Does the ‘new normal’ immunise us to all encounters: politics, love, art?
Through this turbulence, Soumyabrata Choudhury, philosopher and teacher at Jawaharlal Nehru University, was making notes and sharing them with students. Choudhury asks if there can be social distancing in a society to which one does not belong. This diary traces the challenge posed by an incandescent and immortal association like Shaheen Bagh in the face of a dictatorship of mortals that rose with the pandemic.
'I cannot praise this project enough… it breaks out of the confines of the ‘East–West’ dichotomy by placing Ambedkar in series with Pericles, Aristotle, Abbé Sieyès and others, as an exemplar of radical egalitarian logic’—Slavoj Žižek, on Ambedkar and Other Immortals
'Lower the mask of new normalcy and expose yourself to the upsurge of thought inscribed in these pages’—Vaibhav Abnave, on Now It's Come To Distances