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Tuesday, Oct 26, 2021
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The Global Dalit, The Indian Black: Cornel West In Conversation With Suraj Yengde

American philosopher-public intellectual Prof Cornel West comes together with leading Indian scholar Dr Suraj Yengde to discuss race, caste and politics -- questions inflamed in the light of the George Floyd protests in the US, and recurrent incidents of oppression in India.

The Global Dalit, The Indian Black: Cornel West In Conversation With Suraj Yengde
Photograph by Bobby Guliani
The Global Dalit, The Indian Black: Cornel West In Conversation With Suraj Yengde
outlookindia.com
2020-10-03T09:59:55+05:30

Indian scholar Suraj Yengde and his mentor, the African-American philosopher and public intellectual Cornel West, come from a long and robust tradition of Dalit-Black solidarity. They come together here, speaking about their ideas of a future freedom, its possible shape, structure…and colour. Edited transcripts from a video conversation, in response to questions from Sunil Menon. The first was, in light of the fact that the present epoch exhibits a strong reactionary trait globally—as if the emancipatory ethos of the last century is being forfeited and reversed—what could be the way forward?

Suraj Yengde: Prof West, you are in Princeton right now and I am here in Cambridge, Massachusetts, two institutional locations which wield a kind of power, their own cultural, social and economic capital. How would we discuss this issue in this age of polarisation that we have created, in light of the George Floyd protests in the US and the multiple crises in India that impinge on the Dalit movement?

Cornel West: Well, first, I would like to say that it is a blessing to be in dialogue with my dear brother, Suraj…that we are part of the rich legacies of Ambedkar and W.E.B. Du Bois, that we come together as voices, as figures, as persons who are willing to live and to die for that quest for truth, beauty, goodness and justice that sits at the centre of what Ambedkar and Dubois stand for. Now, we are in a unique historical moment in terms of the spiritual decay, moral decline, and relative transition of the American empire…moving to a low point, unable to regenerate the best of its democratic tradition. And the Chinese...

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