Book Launch: Ambedkar's Preamble by Aakash Singh Rathore

Kitab Khana

We are pleased to invite you to the launch and discussion on Ambedkar's Preamble: A secret History of the Constitution of India by Aakash Singh Rathore on Monday, 2 March 2020 at 5PM.

The launch will be followed by a panel discussion with the author, Aakash Singh Rathore, Neera Chandhoke, Indra Munshi, and Harish Wankhede. 

On 26 January 1950, the Constitution of India was adopted formally and came into effect. Its preamble set out in brief the enlightened values it enshrined and hoped to engender. In a radical shift from mainstream constitutional history, this book establishes Dr BR Ambedkar's irrefutable authorship of the preamble by uncovering the intellectual origins of its six most central concepts - justice, liberty, equality, fraternity, dignity, and nation. 

Although Dr Ambedkar is universally regarded as the chief architect of the Constitution, the specifics of his role as chairman of the Drafting Committee are not widely discussed. Totally neglected is his almost single-handed authorship of the Constitution's Preamble, which is frequently and mistakenly attributed to BN Rau rather than to Ambedkar. This book establishes how and why the Preamble to the Constitution of India is essentially an Ambedkarite preamble. It is clear that its central concepts have their provenance in Ambedkar's writings and speeches. Through six eponymous chapters, this book unfolds the story of the six constitutional concepts. In doing so, it spotlights fundamental facts about modern Indian history, as well as Ambedkar's revolutionary political thought, hitherto ignored in conventional accounts. 

Aakash Singh Rathore is the author or Ambedkar's Preamble: A Secret History of the Constitution of India (Penguin, 2020) and an internationally recognised political philosopher. He has authored 8 books and his forthcoming authored book is on Mind and Muscle. He regularly contributes to Indian Express, Outlook with bylines in Times of India, Firstpost, Huffington Post, The Quint and He is the Series Editor of Rethinking India (14 Vols, Penguin/Vintage forthcoming since 2019-20). The first volume of this series Visions for a Nation: Paths and Perspectives co-edited with Ashis Nandy has been published in 2019. He teaches global politics at LUISS University, Rome, Italy, and was a Fellow of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla. He is also India's number 3 Ironman triathlete, having completed 5 gruelling Ironman Triathlons (the world's most difficult one-day sporting event).

Neera Chandhoke, Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Equity Studies, Delhi, formerly, professor of Political Science, Univerisity of Delhi is the author os Rethinking Pluralism, Democracy, Tolerance: Anxieties of Coexistence (Sage, 2019); Democracy and Revolutionary Politics (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015); Contested Secessions: Democracy, Rights, Self-Determination and Kashmir (OUP, 2003); The Conceits of Civil Society (OUP, 1999); Beyond Secularism: The Rights of Religious Minorities (OUP, 1995); and State and Civil Society: Explorations in Political Theory (Sage).

Indra Munshi was formerly the Professor and Head, Department of Sociology, University of Mumbai. Her areas of research interest, and publications include indigenous communities, gender issues, tourism, environment and urban development. She has extensively written on these themes in journals and anthologies. Her book, Adivasi Life Stories: Context, Contraints and Choices and the book The Adivasi Questions: Issues of Land, Forest and Livelihood, edited by her, have opened new perspectives on tribal studies. Currently working at ther Center for Study of Society and Secularism, she is the executive editor of the Centre's journal, Indian Journal of Secularism. She is also the Chairperson of the Committee on Ethics in Social Science Research, Tata Institute of Social Sciences. 

Harish Wankhede is assistant professor ar the Center for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He has taught Political Science at Delhi University for six years before joining JNU. The Government of India in 2012 has awarded him the prestigious Raman Post-Doctoral Fellowship to study in the US. He has completed his post-doctoral resesarch at Stanford University. He has extensively published on secularism, identity politics, nationalism, and politcal economy in all major research journals, national magazines, newspapers and internet media portals. His core area of interest is Contemporary Dalit Movement, Hindi Cinema and secular nationalism. 


The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep... -Robert Frost