Makers of Modern India: B.R. Ambedkar

Makers of Modern India: B.R. Ambedkar

Ananya Vajpeyi, author of 'Righteous Republic,' in conversation with Professor Partha Chatterjee, Columbia University
B. R. Ambedkar delivering a speech to a rally at Yeola, Nasik, on October 13, 1935. (© Wikimedia Commons)

Ananya Vajpeyi discusses her new book, Righteous Republic: The Political Foundations of Modern India offering a fresh perspective on the political traditions which informed the founders of the modern state of India, with a particular focus on the Indian jurist and political leader B. R. Ambedkar, who was instrumental in the drafting the Indian Constitution. Vajpeyi researches beyond widely understood Western political traditions and into the influence of India's own rich knowledge traditions of two and a half thousand years. Winner of The Thomas J. Wilson Memorial Prize (2012).

Followed by a book sale and signing.

Ananya Vajpeyi was educated at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, at Oxford University, where she read as a Rhodes Scholar, and at the University of Chicago. She has studied European and Indian languages and literatures. She was born in New Delhi and lives there now.

She has taught at the School of International and Political Affairs at Columbia University, and in the history department at the University of Massachusetts, in Boston. She has held post-doctoral fellowships at the School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University in Washington DC, and at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi, among others.

In 2007, WISCOMP published her short monograph "Prolegomena" to the Study of People and Places in Violent India, with a preface by Pratap Bhanu Mehta. She writes a monthly column for the Calcutta Telegraph newspaper, contributes regularly to The Caravan magazine, and occasionally edits an issue of the journal Seminar: A Monthly Symposium. She writes widely for newspapers and magazines in India and abroad.

Her first book, Righteous Republic: The Political Foundations of Modern India, is published by Harvard University Press in the US, UK and India in September 2012. In 2012-13 she is an Associate Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi and a senior fellow with the American Institute for Indian Studies. Her next book will be a biography of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.

Partha Chatterjee is a political theorist and historian. He studied at Presidency College in Calcutta, and received his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester. He divides his time between Columbia University and the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, where he was the Director from 1997 to 2007. He is the author of more than 20 books and is a founding member of the Subaltern Studies Collective. He was awarded the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize for 2009 for outstanding achievements in the field of Asian studies. His most recent books include: The Politics of the Governed: Considerations on Political Society in Most of the World (2004) and A Princely Impostor? The Strange and Universal History of the Kumar of Bhawal (2002). He is also a poet, playwright, and actor. In the Mira Nair film The Namesake (2007), he played the role of "A Reformed Hindoo."

Part of the series Makers of Modern India.

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Event Details

7 November 2012
6:30pm - 8:30pm

725 Park Avenue (at East 70th Street), New York City

$10 Members; $12 students with ID/seniors; $15 nonmembers