The Dissolution of the Social Contract in to the Unfathomable Perpetuity of Caste: Questions of Nature, the State, Inequality, and Sovereignty in Hobbes, Hegel, and Ambedkar (pages 195-217)

Rajesh Sampath

ABSTRACT: This paper examines Ambedkar’s critical view of certain distortions, contradictions, and instabilities in democratic norms, constitutional validity, and citizens’ rights in India’s secular, constitutional, legal, pluralistic democracy.  Through a strident deconstruction utilizing Hegelian resources, the paper exposes the contortions and contradictions underpinning Hindu metaphysics in some of its most abstract texts, namely the ancient Upanishads. Through this deconstructive lens we unpack various aporias embedded in concepts of selfhood that render a truly liberal democratic political notion of citizenship impossible. The paper concludes with the necessity of further research on comparative philosophies of religion and political philosophy to better understand the limits of secular democracy, particularly for minority rights, in different metaphysical and civilizational traditions.

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