Evaluating Ambedkar in the Reformist Tradition

This paper was first published on the National Seminar- New Dalit Agenda for the 21st Century organized jointly by the Indus Research Centre, New Delhi and Ambedkar  Chair, IIPA, New Delhi that took place on 12 April.

So long as caste remains, there will be no Sanghatan and so long as there is no Sanghatan the Hindu will remain weak and meek .Indifferentism is the worst kind of disease that can infect a people. Why is the Hindu so indifferent? In my opinion this indifferentism is the result of Caste System which has made Sanghatan and co-operation even for a good cause impossible.

Many of our nation’s self-proclaimed secular progressives would claim that the aforementioned statement must have been made by an ardent advocate of Hindutva with an aim of bringing in a sturdy Hindu society. In other words, in the parlance of the current discourse, this will be branded a communal statement. However, the votaries of such branding would be surprised, even shocked when they realize that this ‘communal’ statement was made by the iconic and erudite Dr. Ambedkar, and can be found on page-31 of his stellar work on India’s social anomalies, the Annihilation of Caste. Now for long Dr.Ambedkar has been consistently portrayed in overtly anti-Hindu hues but very few of our scholars look into the circumstances in which the good doctor operated.

It is undeniable that the issue of caste continues to be one of the major problems that has plagued Indian society for long. Scholars and leaders of every ideological hue have agreed that there exists a caste problem in our nation. It is an undeniable and unfortunate fact that many social evils do afflict Indian society at large and many of them are the results of misinterpretation and distortion of Hindu texts. As a consequence, right on top of these conundrums sits the irregularities we have in the domain of caste. Even in the twenty first century we have people who still believe in the notion of caste hierarchy. These notions often lead to horrendous acts of violence against people belonging to backward castes.

As many students of Indian history and politics will know, whenever the issue of a Dalit narrative is raised, the bulk of our secular progressives belonging to the Marxist school of thought, make the same old statements blaming Hindu texts and broadly, the entire Hindu heritage for all “evils” that have supposedly flowed from the so-called caste system. In doing so they choose to ignore the fact and historical reality of Hinduism’s capacity for internal revitalization and reform. Further, these progressives always cite and quote the sayings and writings of Dr. B.R.Ambedkar in order to give their claims authenticity since the good doctor is the Dalit community’s greatest icon. But what they mostly do is carefully cherry-pick those of Ambedkar’s words which only suit their ideological leanings.

For the sake of ideology, these ‘progressives’ have put him in the club of anti-India radicals like E.V.Ramaswami Naicker, and in the process, have created a ‘Dalit’ narrative which is at times separatist in nature. This gives rise to the doubt as to how much of Ambedkar’s writings they have actually read. As students of history will know if they are not deterred by ideology, many acts of reform were envisaged and implemented in the Hindu society whenever orthodoxy reared its dreadful head. Yet our scholars take a negative view of even the Hindu reform activities calling them forms of ‘Brahmanical-Hegemony’ in an attempt to suppress their genuine positive contributions.

But unlike them, Dr.Ambedkar was aware in his times of how the advocates of social reform who were also proponents of ‘Hindu Nationalism’ fought to remove the social evils and always heaped praises upon them in most of his writings. As he opined ‘The Hindus have their social evils. But there is this relieving feature about them, namely that some of them are conscious of their existence and a few of them are actively agitating for their removal.'(Page-118, Thoughts on Pakistan). With that in mind I attempt to present how the social narrative as envisioned by Ambedkar was in consonance with the Hindu social reformers.

The Champion of Untouchables

It is an unfortunate historical fact that the two most notable names in our freedom struggle, Lokmanya Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi were not very vocal against the forces of Hindu orthodoxy that were slowly gaining strength inside the Congress party, and at one point dominated the Congress at every level. These forces were disinclined to assimilate the depressed castes with the rest of Hindu society, and foiled all attempts of the radical reformers in the broader Hindu nationalist movement. That is why in most of his works on Hindu society, Dr.Ambedkar showed his proclivity to the said advocates of social reforms as can be seen in this extract from his ‘Who Were the Shudras’:

The only class of Hindus, who are likely to welcome the book are those who believe in the necessity and urgency of social reform. The fact that it is a problem which will certainly take along time to solve and will call the efforts of many generations to come, is in their opinion, no justification for postponing the study of that problem. Even an ardent Hindu politician, if he is honest, will admit that the problems arising out of the malignant form of communalism, which is inherent in the Hindu social organization and which the politically minded Hindus desire to ignore or postpone, invariably return to plague , those very politicians at every turn. These problems are not the difficulties of the moment. They are our permanent difficulties, that is to say, difficulties of every moment. I am glad to know that such a class of Hindus exists. Small though they be they are my main stay and it is to them that I have addressed my argument.

swamiOne such noble Hindu was Swami Shraddhanand of the Arya Samaj who declared in the 1919 Amritsar Congress session:

Is it not true that so many among you who make the loudest noises about the acquisition of political rights, are not able to overcome their feeling of revulsion for those sixty millions of India who are suffering injustice, your brothers whom you regard as untouchable? How many are there who take these wretched brothers of theirs to their heart?. give deep thought.. I make this one appeal to all of you, brothers and sisters. Purify your hearts with the water of the love of the motherland in this national temple, and promise that these millions will not remain for you untouchables, but become brothers and sisters…

In the Calcutta Congress session in 1920, the Swami proposed a three point program with special section on the untouchables, but the party then firmly under Gandhi’s leadership declared the program to be ill-timed. By 1921, the Swami was frustrated with Gandhi’s negligence regarding the welfare of the untouchables and resigned from the Congress. Dr.Ambedkar himself alluded to this contentious issue in his ‘What Congress and Gandhi Have Done to the Untouchables’:

Was it because the Congress intended that the scheme should be a modest one not costing more than two to five lakhs of rupees but felt that from that point of view they had made a mistake in including Swami Shradhanand in the Committee and rather than allow the Swami to confront them with a huge scheme which the Congress could neither accept nor reject? The Congress thought it better in the first instance to refuse to make him the convener and subsequently to dissolve the Committee and hand over the work to the Hindu Mahasabha. Circumstances are not quite against such a conclusion. The Swami was the greatest and the most sincere champion of the Untouchables. There is not the slightest doubt that if he had worked on the Committee he would have produced a very big scheme..

Now Swami Shraddhanand has been portrayed by most of our contemporary historians as just a ‘Brahminical Hindu revivalist’ putting his social reform activities on the backseat. We can take a look at what the scholar John Zavos had to say about the Arya Samaj and Swami Shraddhanand to comprehend the so-called ‘Brahmanic Hegemony’:

Aryas involved in the Suddhi movement, on the other hand, sought an active redefinition of the Hindu community which effectively eradicated what were perceived as oppressive elements of the jati system in favor of a form of merit-based varna. . at the 1923 Session of the Mahasabha. Sraddhananda tabled three resolutions based on the Arya vision of a restructured Hinduism. The first dealt with the untouchables, calling for practical concessions (such as access to wells and schools) as a prelude to their assimilation (through suddhi) into the Hindu community. The second dealt specifically with the Malkana Rajputs. The third dealt with suddhi as a process of conversion from other religions, calling for the acceptance ‘by the whole Hindu community of converts regardless of which ‘sect’ had performed the suddhi rites (Leader 8 August 1923). Resolutions one and three, then, made fairly definite allusions to the recognition of merit-based varna. Both implied the acceptance by the ‘Hindu community’ of reclaimed Aryas, whether untouchable or non-Hindu, who had been invested with twice-born status in accordance with Dayananda’s flexible varna structure.

Swami Shraddhananda veered more towards a merit-based egalitarian society over upper-caste dominance. But this egalitarian vision was derailed by the Swami’s untimely death in 1926 at the hands of a fanatic Islamist named Abdul Rashid.

Answering the doctor’s riddle

Our progressive scholars never fail to point how Ambedkar’s perception of Hinduism as devoid of democracy and highlight the ‘Riddles in Hinduism’, which is a harsh critique of the Hindu religion:

The Hindu social system is undemocratic not by accident. It is designed to be undemocratic.

Indeed if one reads ‘Riddles in Hinduism’ they may feel that the secularists are actually correct. But in the same so-called anti-Hindu text they will find this gem of wisdom:

The Hindu Religious and Philosophic thought gave rise to an idea which had greater potentialities for producing social democracy than the idea of fraternity. It is the doctrine of Brahmaism…

‘Brahmaism’ according to Dr.Ambedkar is the principal philosophy of the Upanishads which is best explained in its three key Mahavakyas or ‘The Great Sayings’:

  1. Sarvam Khalvidam Brahman- All of this is Brahman.
  2. Aham Brahmasmi- Atmana (Self) is the same as Brahman. Therefore I am Brahman.
  3. Tat tvam asi- Atmana (Self) is the same as Brahman. Therefore thou art also Brahman.

As the good doctor goes on to explain:

It is said that Brahmaism is piece of impudence. For a man to say “I am Brahma” is a kind of arrogance. The other criticism leveled against Brahmaism is the inability of man to know Brahma. ‘I am Brahma’ may appear to be impudence. But it can also be an assertion of one’s own worth. In a world where humanity suffers so much from an inferiority complex such an assertion on the part of man is to be welcomed. Democracy demands that each individual shall have every opportunity for realizing its worth. It also requires that each individual shall know that he is as good as everybody else.this theory of Brahma has certain social implications which have a tremendous value as a foundation for Democracy. If all persons are parts of Brahma then all are equal and all must enjoy the same liberty which is what Democracy means. Looked at from this point of view Brahma may be unknowable. But there cannot be slightest doubt that no doctrine could furnish a stronger foundation for Democracy than the doctrine of Brahma. To support Democracy because we are all children of God is a very weak foundation for Democracy to rest on. That is why Democracy is so shaky wherever it made to rest on such a foundation. But to recognize and realize that you and I are parts of the same cosmic principle leaves room for no other theory of associated life except democracy. It does not merely preach Democracy. It makes democracy an obligation of one and all…..Why then Brahmaism failed to produce a new society? This is a great riddle.

So is there any answer to Babasaheb’s Riddle? I would venture to say yes. Now as Dr. Ambedkar explained, the Upanishads’ primary principle is equality since Brahman is innate in all of us. This principle can be a great weapon against almost all forms of socio-religious bigotry. An application of this equability of Brahman in society was carried out by the great Bhakti saint Ramanujachrya who created one of the first mass movements for the upliftment of the depressed classes. Even Sant Kabir and Guru Nanak stated that the relationship between man and the divine should be that of constant companionship since divinity is in us all. These savants like the Vedantists viewed the Self (Atman) as beyond worldly divisions of religions and sects, and even gender. The Self, is nirguna, beyond the qualities that make for differences between human beings. The names of Ramanuja, Kabir and Nanak as radical reformers can be found in the Annihilation of Caste.

It is also a fact that most Hindu reformers during the days of British Raj used the principles of Upanishads efficiently to weaken social obstacles and renew the Hindu society. Its effect was so broad that even an eminent historian, to borrow Arun Shourie’s terminology, like KN Panikkar was unable to ignore it:

One of the early writings of Rammohun Roy was the translation of an Abridgement of the Vedanta. He also defended Vedanta against the criticism advanced by the Christian missionaries. Afterwards almost all reformers of this period invoked Vedanta for the reforms they were trying to undertake. Keshab Chandra Sen’s notion of universalism was rooted in his conception of Advaita. Vivekananda saw it as the future religion of the world...

rkvIndeed the radical reforms of the Brahmo Samaj were broadly inspired by the teachings and principles of Vedanta. But the greatest exponent of Vedantic social unity has to be Sree Narayana Guru who challenged the foundations of orthodoxy in Kerala and reversed and renewed its entire social system. The fact that many of the social egalitarian characteristics of Kerala are the results of Narayana Guru’s vision is recognized by everyone including the Communist Party, which was first elected to power in the state in 1957. An important point to remember here would be the fact that Sree Narayana Guru belonged to the lower-caste Ezhava community and yet was able to transform society from within the tradition speaks of Vedanta’s social appeal.

One would then ask why the case of Ambedkar was so different. The answer may lie in the fact that almost all the activists belonging to the Arya Samaj as well as the Brahmo Samaj expressed their viewpoints in a more academic manner which did not succeed in convincing the masses whereas spiritualists like Narayana Guru and his predecessors like Ramanuja, Kabir and Nanak used simple and native language which made their appeal broader.

Another important point to note is that Sree Narayana Guru was settled in Kerala and thus operated in a fixed area of influence whereas Dr. Ambedkar as well as the Arya and Brahmo activists attempted to have a pan-India appeal which did not succeed due to the mass mobilization of the Congress under Gandhi’s leadership.

Ambedkar’s Buddhism

I would now like to address an important issue at this point: many scholars on Dalit issues also point out that Ambedkar had no wish to stick with the Hindu community regardless of the works of social reformers as he wanted to in their words ‘annihilate’ the core of Hinduism. They attempt to validate this claim by highlighting the following appeal made by Dr.Ambedkar to Mahatma Gandhi:

What matters is how the Shastras have been understood by the people. You must take the stand that Buddha took. You must take the stand which Guru Nanak took. You must not only discard the Shastras, you must deny their authority, as did Buddha and Nanak.

Now this statement in contrast to the claim of our progressives, actually shows Ambedkar’s prolific understanding of the core essence of Sanatana Dharma which is free spiritual inquiry and personal choice, leaving the space wide open for any one who wishes to adopt it. A notable verse of the Veda is Yatra veda aaveda, meaning when the Vedic seeker of Truth finally realizes the Truth, the Veda (in the sense of texts/Shastras) itself must be discarded.

bhikshuBut what I wish to briefly focus on is Ambedkar’s version of Buddhism. If one takes a concise reading of The Buddha and His Dhamma, one can see that Dr. Ambedkar is frankly admitting that his own version of Buddhism has little to do with the doctrine of the Pali Canon. Notably the good doctor rejected the four Aryan Truths (which are foundational to the core of Buddhism) as to him they were prayers of pessimism. His version of Buddhism emphasized on social reform:

What was the object of the Buddha in creating the Bhikkhu? Was the object to create a perfect man…if the Bhikkhu is only a perfect man he is of no use to the propagation of Buddhism because though a perfect man he is a selfish man. If, on the other hand, he is a social servant he may prove to be the hope of Buddhism. This question must be decided not so much in the interest of doctrinal consistency but in the interest of the future of Buddhism.

As a result, the good doctor attempted to sever most of Buddhism from its spiritual core which led to him being criticized by well-known Buddhist organizations like the Mahabodhi Society. This historical fact conclusively brings Ambedkar closer to not only the reformers of the Arya Samaj and Brahmo Samaj but even to Hindu Nationalist leaders like KM Munshi and Veer Savarkar who all redefined the core concepts of Sanatana Dharma to usher in social progress. I would like to conclude my paper with the following quote by Aravindan Neelakandan:

His vehement criticisms of mythologies and epics in the unfinished manuscript, which today forms the book ‘Riddles’, are actually the pain of a passionate patriotic Dalit leader who loved the Hindu culture and society but was thrown out literally by the arrogance of Hindu orthodoxy.

References:

  1. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, Riddles in Hinduism.
  2. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, Who Were the Shudras.
  3. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar,Thoughts on Pakistan.
  4. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, Annihilation of Caste.
  5. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar,What Congress and Gandhi Have Done to the Untouchables.
  6. John Zavos,The Ārya Samāj and the Antecedents of Hindu Nationalism.
  7. KN. Panikkar, Saint as philosopher: http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/mag/2004/05/02/stories/200405020017040 0.htm
  8. Aravindan Neelakandan, Bodhi Sattva’s Hindutva, http://centreright.in/2012/04/bodhi-sattvas-hindutva-part-3/#.VRjt8eGnmaQ

 

  • SuchindranathAiyer

    Your article is as clear headed as it will be minoritarian. All of India’s Post-1947 “heroes” are pottery deities made from clay.

    B.R. Ambedkar was a quintessential Indian politician. His rhetoric and his
    actions were entirely unrelated. He, together with Nehru, enshrined inequality
    under law and exceptions to the rule of law together with Bhashyam Iyengar’s
    grandiose if meaningless preamble, into The Government of India Act (1935) to
    conjure up a Constitution that has eradicated whatever India 90 years of British
    crown rule had accomplished.in less than five decades!
    Everybody wants a
    piece of the Ambedkar Legacy because the legacy is a rosy myth rather than the
    truth or History in the best traditions of the Indian Republic. India’s
    “Reservations-Corruption” Raj is here to ensure the demise of India. From having
    been a great power that swaggered into Korea to enforce the truce between China
    and the US as recently as 1957, India is now below Sub-Saharan Afirca on the
    Human Development Index and below Nepal in the Social Development Index. India became a nation devoted to auto-phagy, looting and
    plundering from the haves and the have nots for the pelf, pomp, pleasure,
    perpetuation and perversions of the manipulators of vote banks, the Netas, and
    their Babus, Cops, Milards and Cronies when Nehru and Ambedkar enshrined
    inequality under law and exceptions to the rule of law in the Goverrment of
    India Act (1935) to conjure of a “Constitution” that celebrated caste, tribe,and
    religious discrimination and the “Many Nations” theory.. India is neither a
    nation nor a democracy now. Even the right to contest elections is determined,
    in law, by caste, tribe, gender and religion. India grows poorer and more
    backward every day because of its stubborn adherence to its failed policies of
    looting the have and the have nots for the have lots. No ideal state can be
    achieved when founded on trash. Rose trees do not bloom from parthanium roots.
    Mysore is a classic example of what can happen when founded on ideals and what
    happens when those same ideals are destroyed. Mysore had universal primary and
    secondary education with health care and nutrition and NO reservations. Gandhi
    called it “Rama Rajya” though His Highness Krishna Raja Wadeyar preferred to
    call it “Camelot”. When the British pushed “reservations” as part o their divide
    and rule policy into Mysore through the Maharaja, the Diwan, Sir M.
    Vishweshwaraya who has done more for ALL the people of Mysore than any man save
    Sir Mark Cubbon, resigned. The words in his resignation letter were as prophetic
    in its way as Sir Winston’s prognosis for India. “Only the very best competence
    and integrity can help raise the wretched of the earth to the status of human
    beings. There is no short cut. You cannot elevate the wretched and expect them
    to do the work that the most talented and competent find arduous” Today Mysore
    has been more thoroughly trashed than any other state of the Indian Union
    because there was so much more to trash. Reservations and Corruption (aka
    Extortion) are vices that gave birth to the lack of accountability, economic
    backwardness, technological backwardness and India, being below Sub Saharan
    Africa on the Human Development Index and Below Nepal on the Social Development
    index. The addiction to failed policies will continue until India tests the
    bottom in competition with Zimbabwe and North Korea: Ambedkar
    and Nehru achieved a miracle. They transported India aross sace and time to
    Medieval Europe and rule by Prince John, Guy of Gisborne and Front De
    Beouf. In 1959, I boarded a bus from South End Road, Basavanagudi to Richmond
    Circle in Bangalore. Enroute, at Gandh Bazaar, I saw a pick pocket take a
    purse from a standing man and quickly run away. The man turned on his
    neighbour and raised a hue and cry. Soon, the whole bus was thrashing
    the accused. I kept shouting that the man was innocent and that the
    thief had run away. Nobody listened. I was five years old. They were
    enjoying thrashing the innocent man far too much. Just a couple
    of days ago, on a friend’s page, the recent violence against Brahmin
    priests in Tamilnadu was the subject of a heated and much commented
    thread.It is interesting that there were several comments that justified
    or rationalized the violence but not even one comment of condemnation.
    One commenter even accused the critic of the violence who started the
    conversation of not being willing to consume poison like Shiva! Quite
    apart from egregious examples of ethnic cleansing of Kashmir and the
    daily evidence of highly prejudiced courts, laws and government, India
    seems a charabanc that vindicates both British Rule and the British
    Hypothesis born methodologies that were set in motion after the First
    World War and that the Indian Republic gleefully enshrined into its
    grotesque Constitution. The Indian Character? A violent, emotional and
    easily manipulated atavistic people? Can such a nation ever have
    equality under law or rule of law? Or, human rights?

  • Dr. MS

    My years in India were mostly spent in Bungaluru (then Bangalore), a city that I once adored for its sweetness, laidbackness and a small town-city without too much identity politics, and later Mumbai (then Bombay). I swore I’d marry a Kannadigaa because they did not have the Tamil Dravidian rigidity, separateness or superiority that I felt in many parts of my parents’ heritage state of Tamil Nadu. While I admire, appreciate and approve Tamil courage, conviction and pride ( I carry it though I have never lived in the State for more than four years of my entire life), what I sense today is a kind of un petit courage hors de propos…almost a falose courage, காலியாக தைரியம் or कायर साहस

    Mumbai was a city where Ambedkar was respected but not revered because it was a financial city rooted in Capitalism. Ambedkar was fundamentally seeking a unique kind of Indian socialism while being anti-colonial, and was a strong believer in India’s independence. He never tried to negotiate a separate land for the Dalits like Jinnah did for the Muslims, or as EVR attempted to promote for the Dravidians. In many ways Ambedkar was a reformer…not a revisionist or a revolutionary (which to some was his weakness). I respect that fact that he was not a revisionist: someone who did not merely turn everything tops turvy to right a wrong…real or perceived.

    But Brahminism is completely a different issue. It is unfortunate that Dravida politics forgot, conveniently, that not all Upper castes were Brahmins and not all wealthy business class and political elites were Brahmins. In TN Forward castes were the primary land owners, rulers, business community, wealthy people and political elites.

    Most Brahmins in TN were poor priests, scholars, teachers, small farm owners and clerks. Brahmins were less than 6% of TN population, while now, 2000 and later, they are 3%. Most of them were segregated Agraharam types who did not inter marry within their own sub castes and among those outside their region. But many saw themselves as Dravidian Brahmins…though Dravida politics never recognized this. There are Brahminical texts that are caste segregating. But there are more texts celebrating Brahminism than putting down other castes. There is a difference. This might be more of the “minority need perspective”…constantly upping one’s essentiality so the majority will not swallow them too much culturally.

    But when you see slavery or slave trade, when you see enslavement of the “other’ in some ME countries, Indian casteism is not comparable. Most African Americans disapprove of their slavery and racism being compared to casteism. They, as slaves, were brutalized, tortured, shackled, raped, beaten, shot and killed and their families destroyed. They despise that kind of horrors being compared with casteism which was segregating….but there was no torture or brutality.

    India was always more classist and sexist than casteist.

    There is lot of Brahminism and Hinduism that negates women’s role in spiritual, temple, political and public activities. Can we speak to this?

    Santana Dharma itself is beyond gender…but what passes for it at the grassroots or among the majority is “no space, place or power for the Hindu woman”…even today.

    The comments on these webpages reveal a lot on how Hindu women are perceived, interpreted and attacked by many Indian Hindu male commentators, or at least ones with Indian Hindu male names…This in 2015.

    • Sree Charan R

      “….. interpreted and attacked by many Indian Hindu male commentators, or at least ones with Indian Hindu male names…”
      “no space, place or power for the Hindu woman…even today”
      please do NOT make this kind of generalized statements….which is definitely not true….

  • Brian Sullivan

    An excellent article and well balanced. I would have liked a broader discussion of the extraneous issues that motivated Congress challenge to Swami Shraddhanand’s reform ideals. Politics dies not occur in a vacuum. Not that all Hindus accept many of the Arya Samaj ideals.

    Raja Mohan Roys effort, including the abolition of Sati, were inspired by Hinduism. As Arun Shourie writes eloquently elsewhere, Gandhi and Vivekananda critiqued Brahmin corruption while praising the caste for keeping Hinduism alive in difficult times.

    It is wrong to portray Brahmins as a monolithic evil. The majority served humbly. However, there are scriptural texts that do seem to justify discrimination that need better be explained to the public else the negative stereotype will remain. Just as in other faiths, there are verses that have been misused.

  • Rahul

    Admin would like to know more about Yatra veda aaveda. A humble request.

  • Rahul

    A humble request Admin would like to know more description of Yatra veda aaveda. Some Vedic paragraphs mentioning it with translation if possible..

  • Radha Rajan

    Babasaheb’s pain is the pain of a victim of untouchability. other modern critics of Orthodoxy are merely proponents of fashionable subaltern history and cannot hide behind Ambedkar.

  • Radha Rajan

    Hindu orthodoxy, varna, jaati, kula, Tilak have all been painted in broad strokes with a negative brush. And Tilak was opposed not to change in Hindu society but to the British government legislating changes in Hindu customs and tradition, via The Age of Consent Bill brought in by Andrew Scoble in 1891. Later Nehru brpought in a slew of legialations all aimed at Hindu customs while leaving other religions alone. It was the Age of Consent Bill and the jihadi attack on Ganesh Utsav which brought Tilak to the forefront within the INC with Aurobindo. Hindu orthodoxy and our varna jaati kula dharma are the backbone of Hinduism. To speak of varna jaati and kula as being coterminus with untouchability is factually incorrect as is using the portugese word caste or casta for varna and jaati. We need all aspects of our dharma and orthodoxy to keep Hinduism rooted and not thrown to the social reformist wolves. And Gandhi made a u turn on varna jaati and kula and he too from the mid 1930s began to speak ill of “caste’. To speak of Tilak and Gandhi in the same breath on any issue and on this issue particularly would not be right at all. In one of the parts on De-constructing Gandhi series on India Facts I have made detailed reference to the age of consent bill and Tilak’s position on the issue.

    • Jishnu

      That all the exploitation and discrimination is a product of Hindu institutions is one historic fraud that Hindus are yet unable to deny in spite of data overwhelmingly staring at them. Unless that is done, the self-guilt of Hindus is good enough to destroy them and their institutions. Slavery+feudalism imported by Islam+Xtianity are the source of problems in Hindu society and this much if set in perspective Hindus can easily revive their dharma. And obstacles to such perspective include and do not exclude Ambedkar. There lies the problem. Ambedkar’s good intention cannot be confused with his wrong position on the subject. Just like Gandhi’s alleged good intention cannot be confused with his wrong position on many matters 🙂

  • cool

    Worshipping False Gods – Ambedkar and the facts which have been erased

    http://www.flipkart.com/worshipping-false-gods-english/p/itmdawn4vgc8mmvq?pid=9789350293430

  • Shubhangi Raykar

    A very erudite analysis of Babasaheb’s seminal work’ Annihilation of Caste’. When I taught in my PG classes on Post colonial literature I was surprised by the smilarities in the argument s of veer Savarkar and Ambedkar.