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Democratising The Development: An Ambedkarite Perspective
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Democratising The Development: An Ambedkarite Perspective

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Second National Conference
Democratising The Development: An Ambedkarite Perspective (With Special Reference to Odisha)

Concept Note

Venue: Association Office, NALCO, Angul, Odisha
Date and Time: 21 & 22 April 2018
Abstract Submission: April 1, 2018

The contemporary development in India is marked by profound contradiction – in principle, citizens have the rights to liberty, justice, and equality; while in practice, the very principle gets ruptured by caste, class, gender, religion, and spaces. With the changing of the guard at the Centre by the Fascist Brahminical forces, the country as a whole has been witnessing the undermining of constitutional guarantees and democratic processes. There has been a talk for a while by these forces to sabotage the Constitution itself. This posits as an impending threat to our long struggle for democracy, and the rights therein, for the majority of its hitherto underprivileged citizenry – Dalit-Bahujan. There have been instances of unabated chauvinism, and religious and caste fanaticism. There has been a concerted attempt by the dominant ideology to designate the ‘others’ variously vis-à-vis spaces in this country which can be politically encashed to sustain their power and privileges. Consequently, swathes of the population – Scheduled Castes, Adivasi, economically backward social groups, and most profoundly, Muslims – that are getting marginalised in these adverse political processes. The dominant ideology of the day has aided and abetted communal violence, caste oppression, and patriarchal social order. Moreover, there have been processes to naturalise these every-day form of repression and violence against the disadvantaged social groups. There have been instances of growing intolerance to reason and alternative discourses. Meanwhile, the country has witnessed an incredible amount of resistance against the Fascist Brahminical forces. It is also quite unprecedented that an informed Dalit-Bahujan politics is gaining momentum across the country. They are not only politically challenging the Brahminical hegemony, but there has been a systematic effort in problematizing the different spaces where it inhabits. While the current government is busy in appropriating Dalit icons, specifically Dr.Ambedkar, the Ambedkarites are not far behind in fighting against such hypocrisy. The resistance coupled with the production of fresh knowledge has undoubtedly brought new political possibilities for Dalit-Bahujan.

Amid all this political development, Odisha, one of the poorest states in the country with nearly a half of Dalit-Adivasi population, is still far from political mobilisation. The story is no different for economically backward social groups too. The socio-economic conditions, leave alone political, of Dalit-Bahujan is in a precarious situation. They figure disproportionately in the key indicators of deprivation. Over the years, and this is no longer a secret, the state has recorded one of the highest human rights violations against Dalit-Bahujan. This includes the recent occurrence of atrocity against Snehalata, the deplorable portrayal of Dana Majhi, the genocide of adivasi children in Malkangiri, malnutrition-led death in Nagada, fake-encounter of poor adivasi in Kandhamal and the institutional murder of Kunduli rape victim, a few to mention. They have been bearing the brunt of modernised development vocation of the state, which lies in the inevitability of dispossession and alienation from their immediate economy. The unabated presence of capitalist development in the resource-rich region of the state has resulted in the democratic crisis in the region. Moreover, their representation has been systematically withdrawn from the key organs of the government. This process of marginalisation has been strengthened by the continuing dominance of the numerically minuscule caste-class elites in every sphere of life – social, political and economic. This has given rise to ‘bureaucratic authoritarianism’ in the state which believes in suppressing people’s voice directed against them. The above development needs urgent political attention for meaningful engagement with the like-minded people to carve out space for an alternative development discourse!

For this conference, we have chosen the following broad themes pertaining to Odisha:

 1. Development or Marginalisation of the Marginalised
2. The State Power, Dominance and Neoliberal Capital: Implication for the Reproduction of Structural Inequalities
3. Political Culture and Dominant Ideology: The Navigation of Dalit-Bahujan Identity in the everyday Civic Life
4. Hindutva Fascism and the Future of Odisha Politics
5. Alternative Discourses against the Cultural Hegemony
6. Relevance of Dr.Ambedkar to Odisha: Possibilities and Challenges

We welcome research papers that build on the above themes. The proposed conference, which is second in the row, is an initiative to create a space for participants to deliberate upon the variety of such issues concerning Dalit-Bahujan, primarily, from the location of Odisha. It will, therefore, be oriented towards more sustained discussions rather than a mere presentation of papers. Moreover, this unprecedented event aims to bring together Dalit-Bahujan academia/scholars, activists and concerned citizens from different walks of life, from across the country, to devise a clear-cut roadmap for securing representation of the marginalized social group in the various arena of civic life. The conference would also provide a platform to discuss prospects and challenges for Ambedkarite movement in Odisha.

The participants are requested to submit their abstracts of no more than 200 words through email at <nalcosctewa@gmail.com>by April 1, 2018. Limited funds are available for travel to domestic participants. Those who are interested in attending the conference but present a paper may communicate to the convener on or before the mentioned date. However, local hospitality (lodging and meals) for the duration of the conference for both the participants and attendee will be provided. Additional details on programme schedule, travel, accommodation, etc. will be provided in due course. For more on this, please contact the convener at <pankajcds@gmail.com>.
 

Programme

 Venue: Association Office, NALCO, Angul, Odisha
Date and Time: 21 & 22 April 2018
Abstract Submission: April 1, 2018

Pankaj K. Naik

 Conference Convener
Asst. Professor in Economics
VD College, Jeypore, Odisha
Email: pankajcds@gmail.com
Mob: +91 9937547853 ChittaRanjanNaik
General Secretary
NALCO SC&ST Employees’ Welfare Association, Angul, Odisha
Email: nalcosctewa@gmail.com
Mob: +91 7894226268

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About the Organiser

National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO) SC & ST Employees Welfare Association is an apex body dealing with various issues pertaining to SC/ST employees at NALCO, Anugul, Odisha. This institution has been functioning since 1986 with official recognition in 1987. Currently, the association has 1500 members registered. Since its inception, the association has been engaged in various community development programmes; the list includes helping the needy students with their education, organising health camp, propagation of rational culture in society. Besides, propagating the ideals of Dalit-Bahujan luminaries, the association is also actively engaged in spreading the Dhamma of TatagathaGoutama Buddha as given by Babasaheb Dr Ambedkar. As a small step towards that, the association had organised an international conference on Buddhism in 2014 and, the national conference on Development or Marginalisation: Situating Dalit Bahujan in Odisha – An Ambedkarite Perspective in 2017.

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