ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Towards the Instrumentality of Inequality

What has been the nature of work and discourse on inequality in India? Has it been more anecdotal and ordinal? Does it sidestep the conceptual and refl ective? Is it an elite discourse even within the subaltern? Does it remain blind to both the subtleties and the macro forces that generate, fuel, and reproduce the condition of inequality? And importantly, has it seriously considered the issue of what inequality does to those at the margins? The recent Dadabhai Naoroji conference at NIAS, on the instrumentality of inequality raised these conceptual, ethical, and practical dimensions of inequality.

This article benefited with the inputs from Ishita Patil, Kalaiarasi Ka Sa, Chandana Bindu, and Pallavi Krishnappa.

The recent Dadabhai Naoroji conference on inequality, conducted in mid-June at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bengaluru provided a wealth of perspectives on inequality. The focus of the conference was maintained at a crisp title, namely “the instrumentality of inequality.” At the end of three days, speakers and participants—arriving at the NIAS from all over India and some joining in online from overseas—brought forth a misce­llany of dimensions, evidence, and conceptualisations on the theme. As all successful conferences must achieve, this assortment of contemporary intellectual work on inequality stimulated an epistemic deepening of the understanding of contemporary inequality.

While rummaging through the pioneering, historical, and contemporary work on inequality in India, we were called to lay out the assumptions, euphemisms, inclinations, and paradigms on understanding inequality, as well as to relook whether the discourse has been more anecdotal and ordinal, whether it has sidestepped the conceptual and reflective, whether it has been an elite discourse even within the subaltern, and whether it has been blind to both the subtleties and macro forces that generate, fuel, and reproduce the condition of inequality.

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Updated On : 25th Sep, 2022
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