This article explores the thought of philosopher, historian, and activist Sharad Patil, particularly the way he constructs theoretical arguments by drawing on, expanding, and critiquing the insights of his predecessors in radical anti-caste thought, Jotirao Phule and B. R. Ambedkar. Patil advances a particular reading of Phule-Ambedkarism to sharpen his critique of orthodox Marxism and develop a philosophy that could undergird revolutionary egalitarian change in India. The article focuses on two key theoretical insights elaborated by Patil and his reading of Phule-Ambedkarism: one historical, centering on the methodological and ideological importance of rewriting longue durée history; the other political-economic, centering on the way that circuits of exploitation and rule get reproduced. The article attempts to read Patil according to his own methodological and analytic criteria. Patil had little interest in purity of theory or in defending the boundaries of the one true Marxism or Phule-Ambedkarism. Even while critiquing Phule and Ambedkar, Patil insistently asked (as this article too asks): what did their philosophies of history, of knowledge, and of political economy enable them to understand about the past, present, and future of egalitarian struggle in India and beyond?

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