Literature & Life

The Annihilation of Caste: Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s Undelivered Speech

In today’s blog, I would like to share Dr BR Ambedkar’s views on the caste system in India from his undelivered speech in 1936 which he published later on independently.

Dr B.R. Ambedkar doesn’t need any introduction. He was an Indian Jurist, Philosopher, Thinker, Orator, Economist, An Eminent Scholar, Editor, The Architect of the Indian Constitution and a Revolutionist. He authored many books. His most popular books are- The Buddha and His Dhamma, Who were Shudras? The Riddles in Hinduism, The Problem of the Rupee: Its Origin and Its Solution etc.

In 1936 the Jat-Pat Todak Mandal (Anti-Caste Federation) was going to organise a conference at Lahore and Dr B.R. Ambedkar was the President of this conference therefore he had written his presidential address which he was going to deliver at the conference. However, when the members of the Anti-Caste Federation read the speech; they realised that some of Dr Ambedkar’s ideas may trigger controversy in the society. Hence, they requested Dr Ambedkar to delete some portion from his presidential address but he did not agree to do that therefore the conference was cancelled by the Federation. Hence, Dr Ambedkar published his speech independently.

Dr Ambedkar said in his speech that the caste system is the root of the slavery of common beings. He studied and analysed the Hindu religion and found that the religious texts of the Hindu religion are male dominant and advocate discrimination. Therefore, he tried to suggest some of the effective ways of breaking up the caste system. He said that to destroy the caste system it is important to destroy the religious notions on which the caste system is founded. The caste system has been there in the Hindu religion for ages and it has become an integral part of the Hindu religion. He analysed the caste system from the historical and social perspective and his views on the caste system can be found in his books like Who were Shudras? Castes in India etc.

He believed that for abolishing the cast, it is important to abolish sub-castes first. However, he also knew that the abolition of the sub-castes may not lead to the abolition of the caste system as it was highly possible that the process may stop with the abolition of the sub-castes which means the castes will remain still in existence. Later on, Dr Ambedkar suggested that the inter-caste dinners may prove to be effective in the abolition of the caste system (as inter-caste dining was not allowed in most of the Indian communities). In some castes, inter-caste dining was allowed but inter-caste dining didn’t prove to be effective there to kill the caste system. He further suggested that inter-caste marriages can help to abolish the caste system in India. Therefore, according to him the inter-caste dining and inter-caste marriages should become the matters of common course and then only the caste system would cease to be operative in India. Dr BR Ambedkar believed that there was a specific reason behind the prohibition of inter-caste dining and inter-caste marriages in Hindu society and that reason was the Hindu religion! The Hindu religion preached them the caste.

Dr B.R. Ambedkar believed that an ideal society is based on liberty, equality and fraternity. He said that it is very necessary to abolish the caste system and to establish an ideal society based on liberty, equality and fraternity. He also said that changing social order is a must otherwise it will create obstacles in the progress of the society and the nation. Along with that you cannot mobilize the community either for the defence or the offence. You can neither build up a nation nor morality. In fact, you cannot build anything on the foundation of the cast as it will crack and will never be whole. He said that, like Lord Buddha and Guru Nanak did; we should also discard the Shastras and deny their authority because Lord Buddha and Guru Nanak taught the caste-ridden Indian society the message of unity, equality and uniformity…!

Dr Ambedkar also strived to bring awareness and reformation in Indian society. Let’s pay tribute to this great leader by standing against discrimination and spreading the message of love and equality.

Jogan More

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