News & Events

The NLS Public Lecture Series | Legislating democracy: Ambedkar and the future of India


Room 201, OAB, Krishnappa Hall


Thursday, December 14, 2023, 5:00 pm

This event is open to the public.

On Thursday, 14 December 2023, NLS will host a public lecture to be delivered by Professor Shruti Kapila titled ‘Legislating Democracy: Ambedkar and the Future of India’, with Mr. Arvind Narrain as the discussant. Arvind Narain is Visiting Faculty and PhD scholar at NLSIU working on the legal and political thought of Ambedkar. He was a founding member of the Alternative Law Forum and has authored ‘India’s Undeclared Emergency: Constitutionalism and the Politics of Resistance’ (Westland, 2022).

About the speaker

Shruti Kapila is Professor of History and Politics at the University of Cambridge, Director of Studies at Corpus Christi College and Co-Director of Global Humanities Initiative. Her recent book, ‘Violent Fraternity: Indian Political Thought in the Global Age’ (Princeton, 2021), reconstructs the most consequential political concepts that have defined India’s democracy, including sovereignty, subjectivity, religion and violence. She is also a renowned political commentator on forums such as the BBC, Financial Times, and Al Jazeera, and regularly writes a fortnightly column for The Print.

Abstract of the lecture

Independent India’s constitutional and legal edifice was a political rather than a social revolution. B R Ambedkar instituted caste as a primary political category. Embedded in violence and as the source of India’s sovereign power, Ambedkar redirected caste as fundamental to Indian democracy. In casting Ambedkar as a thinker of radical and republican democracy, this lecture will also explore its ramifications for Indian law and politics today.