Early institutional theorists

A growing collection of Ambedkar’s works are available online at Ambedkar.org Ambedkar is easily one of the finest Indian thinkers ever. Academically, he has a degree in law, a Masters in economics (from London School of Economics), and a doctorate in social sciences (from Columbia University). At Columbia he majored in sociology and economics for his M.A. with a smattering of anthropology, politics and philosophy as other subjects. He also had a stint at University of Bonn. His experience ranges from being a untouchable boy to the principal architect of India’s Constitution. He started and ran a political party and […]

Babasaheb Ambedkar’s works online: Books, articles, talks

How far can we understand a society on the basis of ancient texts One often hears Western commentators on China asserting that China is organised on Confucian principles. I do not know much about China and so cannot comment on how fitting this description is. But I have questions on making inferences about a society using a text written in 500 BC. To take an Indian analogy Manu Sashtra or the Laws of Manu were used by many authors (mainly till mid-1900s) to understand the caste system in India. In a paper written in the 1960s Andre Betèille criticised Louis […]

Confucius & Manu: Understanding institutions from texts

This (in)famous minute on Indian education is a sample of early discourse on institutions and development Macaulay argued in 1835 that providing education based on Sanskrit and Arabic in India is of no use for India’s development, and argued instead for education based on English literature. He envisaged creating, “a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect”. The Minute is based on an idea that English education is not just superior in ‘science’, but would also inculcate superior morals, etc. that were responsible for making the English superior. […]

Macaulay’s “Minute on Indian Education”