National Seminar by Dr Ambedkar Chair at Central University of Himachal Pradesh, Centre for Economic Studies & Planning and School of Social Sciences, JNU, on Economic Thoughts of Baba Saheb Ambedkar
New Delhi: “The entire thinking of Baba Saheb Dr Ambedkar was for generating self-esteem in the society, and the biggest hurdle in that was poverty. He dedicated his entire life for the movement which centred around restoring harmony and alleviating poverty. He was of the firm opinion that political equality must go with social and economic equality,” said noted economist Prof Aniruddha Deshpande, while inaugurating a day-long national seminar on Economic Thoughts of Baba Saheb Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar.
Prof Aniruddha Deshpande (R) speaking at the inaugural session of the seminar in JNU on April 22. Others from left are Prof Balwan Gautam and Dr Devendra Singh
The seminar was jointly organised by Dr Ambedkar Chair at the Central University of Himachal Pradesh, Centre for Economic Studies and Planning (CESP) and School of Social Sciences (SSS), Jawaharlal Nehru University on, April 22. Former national president of ABVP Prof Rajkumar Bhatia, Registrar of JNU Dr Pramod Kumar and Dr Devendra Singh, Associate Prof at Dr Ambedkar International Centre were also present.
Prof Deshpande said Baba Saheb stressed on rapid industrialisation of the country to reduce the burden on agriculture and also to provide employment to maximum population. “Baba Saheb also stressed on urbanisation because he believed that as urbanisation increases the untouchability will also reduce,” he added. Referring to Mahar Vatan, Prof Deshpande said Baba Saheb abolished the Khoti system, which patronised the ‘begari’ system (unpaid labour). He coined the term ‘social economic humanism’ and he was for the casteless but not stateless society.
Dr Devendra Singh pointed out that the present central government has built 50 lakh houses for economically deprived people from 2014 to March 31, 2019, and it has planned to build more 50 lakh houses in coming five years. Dr Pramod Kumar from JNU said the economic and social thoughts of Baba Saheb are still relevant and we all need to materialise them collectively.
The valedictory session was chaired by Prof Rajkumar Bhatia, while Prof VK Malhotra, Member Secretary, ICSSR, was the chief guest. Organiser editor Shri Prafulla Ketkar and Prof Rajesh Paswan from School of Languages, JNU and member of Dalit Chambers of Commerce and Industries were also present as speakers. Shri Ketkar insisted that the economic thought of Dr Ambedkar cannot be separated from his social and political thinking and therefore, there is a need to understand Babasaheb through his original writings in a holistic manner. Prof Paswan insisted on the need for encouraging Dalit youths to take entrepreneurship by showing them the real picture of Babasaheb. He underscored the fact that Babasaheb was not against capital, but exploitative nature of the capitalist system.
Prof Malhotra highlighted the unique contribution made by Dr BR Ambedkar to the field of public finance and issues related to the land distribution. Prof Rajkumar Bhatia said the seminar was just a beginning in exploring the unexplored dimensions of Babasaheb’s thought and hoped that eventually the economic thought of Babasaheb would be incorporated in the academic discourse to address the present day economic issues.
Presiding over the second session, Chief News Coordinator of ‘Organiser’ Dr Pramod Kumar highlighted in details the labour laws formulated by Baba Saheb. He said if the workers today work with dignity and get fair wages, both in private and public and private sectors, it is because of the security granted by Baba Saheb in the form of labour laws. Dr SP Agrawal, Principal, Ramanujan College of DU, stressed on building a model of development, which addresses our problems effectively. Dr Pawan Sharma, Principal of Dayal Singh College, DU, was also present.
In the beginning, Prof Balwan Gautam, Chair Professor of Dr Ambedkar Chair in History and Culture, Central University of Himachal Pradesh, said the personality of Baba Saheb was multi-dimensional but many significant aspects of his life, including his economic thoughts, have not come into light in a proper manner.