1st Edition

Between Babasaheb and Mahatma A Comparative Study of Ambedkar and Phule

By Hulas Singh Copyright 2025
    360 Pages
    by Routledge India

    This book is a critical comparative study of Jotirao Phule and Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, modern India's two most prominent dalit leaders. Although they were not close contemporaries, they came to construct a firm structure of not only dalit ideology, but also dalit methodology to emancipate the oppressed and depressed sections of society. The book deals with their ideas in a new light highlighting aspects of convergence and contrast in their respective approach to philosophy, religion, society, and culture. It argues that deep down in his philosophic orientation, Phule was quintessentially closer to Gandhi than to Ambedkar. The author also contends that the usage of the term dalit exclusively in the caste-communitarian sense is essentially a product of post-independence political appropriation rather than social evolution. The book specifically brings to light the dynamics of humanism and nationalism on the one hand and that of communitarianism on the other in the context of twentieth-century colonial India. Notably, Gandhi is brought in the narrative to complete the triumvirate.

    Comprehensive and deeply grounded in primary research, this thought-provoking book will be indispensable for students and researchers of modern Indian history, sociology, political science, political thought, exclusion studies, dalit and subaltern studies, and South Asian studies. It will also appeal to those interested in the writings of Ambedkar and Phule.

    1. Introduction  2. Caste and Untouchability 3. Between Brahmanism and Hinduism 4. Country versus Community 5. Gandhi in Ambedkar's Eye  6. Ambedkar and Constitution Making: Legend vs History 7. Conclusion


    Hulas Singh completed his graduation in history from Ramjas College, University of Delhi, India, in 1979. He did his MA, M Phil and PhD in modern Indian history from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He joined the Indian Railway Personnel Service in 1986 and retired in 2018. He has all along been engaged in independent research and specialises in modern Indian intellectual history. His first book Rise of Reason: Intellectual History of 19th-Century Maharashtra is widely read and is prescribed in many universities including the University of Delhi. He has also published many articles.