Book: In Praise of Heresy: From Socrates to Ambedkar

Book: In Praise of Heresy: From Socrates to Ambedkar

B.R. Ambedkar is the boldest heretic in Indian political history, claims the author.


Ramin Jahanbegloo, Professor & Vice Dean and Executive Director, Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Peace Studies, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.


In today’s global climate of pre-packaged opinions, every effort of original thinking is an act of dissent. To think radically today is to be a heretic: committing ‘heresy’ not in its theological sense, but in relation to its ancient Greek roots, which means ‘choice’.

With the rise of the post-industrial global village dominated by media networks and technology-led communication, the ‘epidemic of conformism’ has completely paralysed intellectuals’ ability to question. It has now become critical to examine the central role of heresy in the formation of critical thinking and anti-dogmatism.

Since the time of Socrates to the present, public intellectuals have aligned themselves with the heretical imperative by questioning organized power and opened up social, political, economic, and cultural life to public scrutiny and accountability.

This effort is described in this book through the self-examined lives of philosophers such as Socrates and José Ortega y Gasset, Albert Camus, and Yukio Mishima. They serve to elaborate the context of the author’s bold claim that B.R. Ambedkar, the central character of the author’s research, is the boldest heretic in Indian political history.

Published by: Oxford University Press

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