SOAS University of London

SOAS South Asia Institute

'70 years of the Indian Republic' - PhD and Early-Career Researcher Conference

India Constitution

Date: 18 January 2020Time: 9:00 AM

Finishes: 18 January 2020Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: Djam Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Conference


In January 2020, India will complete 70 years as a Constitutional Republic. According to B.R. Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution, it was only after adopting this text in 1950 that India became truly independent from colonial rule. The text of the Constitution not only prioritised the idea of popular sovereignty but also sought a radical departure from the past by empowering the lower castes and other marginalised sections of Indian society.

Despite the emancipatory agenda, substantial portions of the Constitution reflected a continuation of colonial practices (sedition, secrets, and emergency provisions). While recent scholarship has questioned the largely celebratory tone in which the Indian Constitution is discussed, further critical engagement with the legacy of the Constitution is important and timely.

Thematic sessions in the conference will engage with the values of the Constitution, addressing themes such as the welfare state, fundamental rights, secular democracy and freedom of religion and popular sovereignty.

Keynote address: Upendra Baxi, emeritus professor of law at University of Warwick (Padma Shri)

Guest speakers (to be updated):

Gyan Prakash, Dayton-Stockton Professor of History at Princeton University.

Aruna Roy, Ramon Magsaysay Award winning social activist from India.

Fee - £10

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