Published: 02nd November 2020
This YouTube channel run by profs will give you a daily dose of Ambedkarism - in 5 minutes or less!
Malavika Binny, Uthara G and Tintu Joseph have started a YouTube channel to create awareness on Ambedkar and his work
A historian and a professor of history, Malavika Binny remembers reading Ambedkar's books eagerly and curiously during her PhD days. She tells us how amazed she was by his insights on social history. However, the academic in her was quite disappointed to find his work excluded from the curricula in many universities.
So, in order to bridge this gap, along with a few other academics, Malavika started a YouTube channel dedicated exclusively to Ambedkar and his teachings. Along with Tintu Joseph and Uthara G, she uploads five-minute-long videos on their channel 'A daily dose of Ambedkar', in Malayalam and English, every day for people to access and learn. They now plan to create content in Bengali, Telugu, Hindi and Tamil soon.
"Ambedkar's arguments on caste as an enclosed class, endogamy being the fulcrum of caste and on tribe-clan-caste transition need to be understood more profoundly and unfortunately it has not been taken up by the academia," says Malavika who is an Assistant Professor of History at SRM University, Andhra Pradesh. "I also understood that most people who follow or want to follow Ambedkar too do not engage with his idea-world or writings. Most people only know him as the Father of the Indian Constitution or as a Dalit icon, his academic brilliance and scholarship has not been explored much and hence I thought of a forum to popularise Ambedkar's writings as 5 minute-long audio clips would be helpful as everyone would be able to spare 5 minutes to spend with Dr Ambedkar every day," she says. The audio clips are crowdsourced through a Telegram group of like-minded individuals.
In the first phase, the trio is creating audio clips of Ambedkar's books. The second phase would include books on Ambedkar books by prominent Dalit -Bahujan thinkers. "We are also planning a YouTube webinar series on prominent Dalit-Bahujan thinkers and social reformers' titled 'Looking from the Margins'. It will begin on November 15," says Malavika.
Malavika believes that Ambedkar and his ideas are relevant today, more than ever. "Not only are we living in a nation where atrocities against Dalits and other marginalised communities are at its peak, but the very ideas of social justice, equality and democracy are being questioned," she says. At the same time, she sees an increase in awareness about caste. "Thanks to social media, progressive people across castes and religions are questioning it and there is a general climate of dissent against the age-old hierarchical system. Ambedkar's writings will definitely help us find a way out of this mess that we have found ourselves in. Ambedkar also raises uneasy questions about India's past and was quite prophetic about its present - we believe that it is important to address those questions so that we don't find ourselves back in a world where 'lead was poured into shudra ears if he/she happened to listen to the Vedas'," she says.