Tuesday, November 5, 2013
5:00pm – 7:00pm
Joukowsky Forum, Watson Institute111 Thayer Street
Reception to follow
Fall 2013 OP Jindal Distinguished Lecture Series with independent scholar Ram Guha
Join us for the FIRST of this three part lecture series titled: "Arguments with Gandhi"
Lecture I: THE DIASPORIC ROOTS OF GANDHI'S PLURALISM
Commentator: Karuna Mantena, Yale
Gandhi was a Hindu who befriended Muslims, Christians and Jews; a Gujarati speaker who came to admire all the languages of the Indian sub-continent (and spoke and wrote beautiful English too); a man who advocated equal rights for women; and an upper caste individual who rejected the prejudices of the caste system. This lecture will argue that the roots of Gandhi’s pluralist, inclusive vision lie in his largely forgotten years in London and South Africa. It was his decades in the diaspora that allowed him to more deeply understand what divides, and what unites, humans in general and Indians in particular.
Lecture II: GANDHI, AMBEDKAR, AND THE DALIT QUESTION
Commentator: Uday Mehta, CUNY Graduate School
From his earliest days as a social activist, Gandhi campaigned for the abolition of untouchability. Upper caste Hindus were appalled at his attacks on orthodoxy. They thought he was going too fast, yet the great lawyer-scholar B. R. Ambedkar, born into an Untouchable home himself, thought he was going too slow. This lecture will explore the paradoxes of Gandhi's position, and analyse the ways in which his approach diverged from that of Ambedkar. Finally, it will pose the question: while Gandhi and Ambedkar were undoubtedly political rivals in their lifetime, now, sixty years after both have passed on, should we not draw on both their legacies in the still unfinished fight against prejudice and orthodoxy?
Lecture III: WAS GANDHI AN ENVIRONMENTALIST?
Commentator: J. Timmons Roberts, Brown
Gandhi is known (and admired) as a critic of colonialism, as a theorist and practitioner of non-violence, as a religious pluralist, and as an advocate of gender and caste equality. Of late, attention is also being paid to his work as a writer and editor. And there were yet other aspects to his life and thought. Thus, this lecture will argue that in some crucial ways Gandhi anticipated the environmental crisis that humanity finds itself in today. I will construct a ‘Gandhian’ environmental philosophy from clues in his writings, and explore how his ideas have shaped and influenced environmental struggles in India and beyond.