Two Conceptions of Compassion in Gandhi and Ambedkar

2017 Sep 29, Friday
Seminar Hall, 10th Floor, Pixel A (Azim Premji University)

About the Lecture

The above theme acquires urgent attention particularly in the contemporary socio-political context in which basic emotions such as hate and humiliation, rage and repulsion and  arrogance and annihilation threatening to destroy the space of  compassion and reason. The normative constitution of society would make ethical demand on the part of the members of such society to transcend the basic emotions by taking recourse to compassion as suggested by these to leadings thinkers of modern India. Both of them would suggest the role of love in case of Gandhi and Karuna ( Compassion) in case  of Ambedkar . in Gandhi love is reckless in giving away ,it is oblivious as to what it gets in return. Love in Gandhi wrestles with the world ans with the self. Love resides in becoming small. Gandhi love against the ideal self love . In Ambedkar  compassion is supposed to comprehend humanity in others.  It  creates social  connection. It can comprehend humanity only through the concept of Maitree. In Ambedkar’s reading of Buddhism it is  impersonal and universal and the conception of  maître mediates between compassion and its being impersonal and universal. Matiree consist of moral reason as it seeks to establish connection between compassion and its universalization.   Gandhi cultivates moral reason through love where as Ambedkar considers compassion as an initial condition for the reason to acquire stability. 
About the Speaker

Gopal Guru is Professor at the Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. His research and teaching interests include Indian political thought, Indian politics and critical theory. He is the author of Dalit Cultural Movements in Maharashtra, Vikas Adhyan, Publication, Mumbai (2000) and the co-author of The Cracked Mirror: An Indian Debate on Experience and Theory, New Delhi: Oxford University Press (2012). He has also edited Humiliation: Claims and Context, New Delhi: Oxford University Press (2009).