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10 thoughts on “The Annihilation of Caste

  1. says:

    This edition of Annihilation of Caste published by Verso is really two books The first part is a 120 page essay by Arundhati Roy, The Doctor and the Saint , comparing the lives of Gandhi and Ambedkar The second part of the book is the text of the speech Annihilation of Caste itself, following by an exchange of letters between Gandhi and Ambedkar, and then a short essay on the Poona Pact Roy s essay on Gandhi is excoriating Gandhi, despite his sterling reputation in decolonization, held deeply prejudiced views towards both native Africans and Dalits untouchables , and was consistent in denying them political representation He ran Dalit candidates for British run elections, with the intent of delegitimizing the elections to the rest of the population He refused to grant them a separate electorate, despite doing the same for less populous religious groups He even threatened to starve himself to prevent this from ever being established Ambedkar, in Roy s view, is a brilliant person, but one who could only do so much against Gandhi s relentless capacity for self promotion and the false modesty of the truly arrogant Granted, he did not say enough about Indian tribal communities the Adivasi , but his steadfast refusal to bow to the face of prejudice and oppression is enough to establish him as a foundational figure in Indian history and civil rights activism As for Ambedkar s essay itself, he would have been speaking to a group of moderate reformers, who were so offended by his critique of Hindu scripture that they asked him to edit his speech He refused The forthright points of his essay are that the treatment of these untouchables the religious and ritual approval of treating them as subhumans is the great crack in the armor of any Indian nationalist or any Indian society Any nationalist who ignores economic reform would only perpetuate caste, any economic reformer who ignores the power of entrenched beliefs would ignore the problem of caste The future of the caste system and the future of Indian society are indissoluble After these arguments, Ambedkar makes some concrete suggestions about how to dissolve the institutions of caste once and for all intermarriage and religious scriptural reform among them He is direct, refusing to soften his words, presenting them as directly as a syllogism.Gandhi s response seems rather feeble in response after passive aggressively saying the book should be cheaper, he emerges as a defender of some wobbly traditions over the rights of human beings He frets about the destruction of a Hindu society, and Ambedkar says there never was such a thing, and there certainly cannot be one so long as there is such a despised underclass While India is now free of British rule and a democracy, agitating for the rights and status of untouchables is certainly not a historical curio They do not quite have fair access to education despite quotas, most are still below the poverty line, and they are occasionally lynched for daring to trying to better themselves, or just for daring to exist in public The policemen say they d rather keep the peace, and religious gurus say it is a question of morality Whose


  2. says:

    Annihilation of Caste is a prolific work by Dr Ambedkar It encapsulates the ideas of a rebel of how caste and religion oppresses people socially, morally and economically Originally conceived as a speech for Jat Pat Todak Mandal, an organization of Caste Hindu Social Reformers, it was later published by Ambedkar himself, for the organization refused to allow him to give his speech in the original form Lucid, powerful and scholarly the treatise provides a thorough insight of how and why caste plagues the life of millions There is an underlying indignation, fierce and untainted, rightfully directed towards years of unwarranted injustice.The boon and the bane of Hinduism is the fact that both the philosophy and religion is so intricately weaved around its core faith Although caste, a necessary adjustment by the society to keep the religion intact, has been objected by many other forerunners previously to Ambedkar, from Raja Ram Mohan Roy to Mahatma Gandhi, it has always sprung back with a rejuvenated force, for it derived its root from the fundamental philosophy of the Hinduism What is revolutionary and indomitably courageous about Ambedkar and this work is that he questions the very authority of the vedas, upanishads and manu smritis itself There should be one and only one standard book of Hindu Religion, acceptable to all Hindus and recognized by all Hindus This of course means that all other books of Hindu religion such as Vedas, Shastras, and Puranas, which are treated as sacred and authoritative, must by law cease to be so, and the preaching of any doctrine, religious or social, contained in these books should be penalized The mandal refused to allow an audience for Ambedkar s speech for the very reason that, at least the word Veda be left out for the time being Citing and drawing parallels from history to western philosophy, from Plato to French Revolution, Ambedkar s argument dazzles and dares with objectivity and erudition Another important section in this book is his reply to the criticism of Gandhi to this work Ambedkar spares no one, especially not Gandhi, and gives back a direct, logical and completely awe inspiring reply For instance, his reply to Gandhi s argument that everyone should follow his own ancestral calling according to his her caste, Ambedkar flashes back with fervor Does the Mahatma practise what he preaches One does not like to make personal reference in an argument which is general in its application But when one preaches a doctrine and holds it as a dogma, there is a curiosity to know how far he practises what he preachesThe Mahatma is a Bania by birth His ancestors had abandoned trading in favour of ministership, which is a calling of the Brahmins In his own life, before he became a Mahatma, when the occasion came for him to choose his career he preferred law to a merchant s scales On abandoning law, he became half saint and half politician He has never touched trading, which is his ancestral calling Caste in India still persist even in this 21st century There are still interior rural hinterlands where Caste system prevails, much not exposed by the urban centric media Even the young minds are not without any prejudice Check the twitter, Quora, Facebook for evidence There are plenty out there with caste based name handles and tags attached to their identities.I recommend this book to be read by every Indian, especially by every Hindu and by all youngsters It must question your perspectives and mindset on Indian society and Hinduism If it does, then India is still in safe hands.P.S I do not recommend that edition of this book published with Arundhati Roy s Introduction Honestly, Ambedkar requires no Introduction at all.P.S.S Compliment reading this book along with Ambedkar s another significant work, originally a paper submitted at LSE, Caste Their genesis, origin and development .


  3. says:

    This is extraordinary I have just finished Arundhati Roy s The Doctor and the Saint, which is the introduction here, though I read it in its form as a separate publication Now I m reading Ambedkar whose clarity and cogency are fascinating Caste has always been an enigma to me, specifically the Dalits Why would a major religion have coreligionists who are considered, not only unequal to others, but literally foul that is, embodiments of pollution I did not know that the justification was said to be in the shastras and the Vedas, whose authority Ambedkar vehemently believes should be destroyed Hindus believe that these unfortunate people historically, Untouchables are on earth to suffer for the bad karma they accumulated in previous lives Hinduism therefore has an entire population that it believes should submit to its lowly marginal status as a part of its spiritual life See some of the quotations I ve highlighted here They give a vivid idea of Dalit misery and suffering over millennia Dr Ambedkar, a Dalit himself, graduated Oxford University, was a practicing barrister in London, and returned to India to advocate for his people His great argument was with Gandhi, yes, the Mahatma, who as an orthodox Hindu saw no solution for the Dalits, and consistently maligned them in his writings throughout his life.


  4. says:

    I began reading this book with scepticism thinking that this is a work of an idologue but I was so mistaken to hold such a view I have concluded that this is the most scholarly work I have ever read.It was very much intellectually stimulating for me.This book is for those who want to want to know how to put forth an opinion, how an ideal speech should be written, how to be objective but still stand firm against oppression injustice The most important reason is that it is an eye opener for every so called proud Hindu..The book is a great scholarly work It was intended to be a speech but due to certain circumstances he could not deliver the speech The exchanges of letters printed in the beginning of the book tell why such hurdles were raised so that speech remains undelivered Nevertheless, he managed to publish the speech in the form of a booklet As the book belongs to a writer from repressed community, it goes without mentioning that It is one of the world s Most Under Rated Books.No doubt Hindu Fundamentalist organisations have used the book for finding the loopholes in their religion which has shaky foundation But rather than embracing message of the book of building the house anew, they are busy plugging the loopholes.In this work, Dr Ambedkar quotes everything from Plato to Veda Purana, from Indus to Roman civilizations Most of the time, I find that any work of non fiction that I read has a very tiny message to to away can be summarized very easily That is not the case with annihilation of castes Every sentence is a quotable quote Highly recommended The most important book I have read till date.


  5. says:

    The Doctor and The SaintArundhati Roy is a deadly butcher Not a ruthless clumsy one But like a seasoned assassin She chooses her target carefully Equips herself with unfailing arms and ammunition by hours and hours of stern research And then she strikes Relentlessly Mercilessly She strikes to kill Kill the target in the eyes of the reader Even if the target survives, the scars from the bruises remain forever.This time the victim was the most famous Indian in the world Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi In the introduction to Ambedkar s famous undelivered speech probably the longest introductory text to any writing , she targets only the facet of Gandhi that is deeply religious Hindu adhering to the caste system of the archaic religion Gandhi supported caste system, calling it the way of life where work is divided to the worthy and deserved It was refuted by Ambedkar who emphatically denounced, The caste system is not merely a division of labour It is also a division of labourers Ms Roy exposes Gandhi s self contradictions on his stand on untouchability and racisim She ridicules Gandhi s rationalization when he had famously said, My aim is not to be consistent with my previous statements on a given question, but to be consistent with truth as it may present itself to me at a given moment The result has been that I have grown from truth to truth She mocks, Ordinary politicians oscillate from political expediency to political expediency A mahatma can grow from truth to truth Ms Roy also introduces at least to uninformed like me the prolificness of Ambedkar Clearly Ambedkar is a radical thinker of his time Most Indians know him as the drafter of Indian Constitution But in this introduction Ms Roy gives us a sneek peak to his life and his ideas, apart from his contribution to Indian polity However, for me character assassination of the Mahatma was a bit excessive Probably, this was not the time Ms Roy could have saved it for another day The Undelivered SpeechAmbedkar prepared this speech for his last call to the moderate Hindus to see the light, to bring in reform, by completely destroying the religious sects that upholds the caste system The radical nature of speech forced the organizers to cancel the event where it was supposed to be delivered Ambedkar s approach towards eradication of untouchability was different than his contemporaries He believed social reforms should precede political reform And the social reform won t come from a mere acceptance of equality of men in the eyes of law or state, but by destroying the very notion that create such division The real method of breaking up the Caste System was not to bring about inter caste dinners and inter caste marriages, but to destroy the religious notions upon which caste is founded With astute reasons, brilliant interpretations and poignant illustrations of repercussions of caste based social practice in India, Ambedkar destroys the logic defending the essence of that evil system He argues that the Hindu religious texts, at most can be regarded as guiding principles, that make people think, and never as immutable rules that people follow mechanically His point was that to believe in the Hindu shastras and to simultaneously think of oneself as liberal or moderate is a contradiction in terms The speech was extremely hard hitting and revolutionary A must read for anyone who wants to understand the social strata of India, then and now The DuelThe duel between the two stalwarts goes long back in time, much before the speech was published The discussion that followed post the speech between the two, was interesting enough to be published in this book Gandhi accused Ambedkar to be misinformed and judgmental and believed that he was throwing the baby out with the bathwater Ambedkar who believed that the baby and the bathwater was a single fused organism, needed to be discarded if that would maintain social sanctity However, I failed to see why Ambedkar wanted separate electorate for Dalits Isn t it against the very philosophical position of removing the divide Probably, the practical politician overtook the philosophical reformer there I need to read by Ambedkar.


  6. says:

    I read Gandhi as a high school student, and liked him, but it was not until I read Ambedkar that I felt like I had really found something good Ambedkar is clear, uncompromising, unadulterated He was also incredibly prolific This speech, which became a book, was too clear and too uncompromising to even be delivered I read it than 15 years ago and remember so many quotes caste is a monster, you cannot have political reform, you cannot have economic reform, unless you slay that monster It is from 1936 but it is relevant today, and still sounds fresh What s , it is relevant for than just caste in India Indeed, it helped me understand racism in the Americas as well This is an amazing book by an amazing author, who is rightly revered by millions of people in India.


  7. says:

    I think it is a great book Ambedkar tells us what is rotten in India Being an Untouchable himself, he knew the situation of lower castes inside out Indian society is predominantly divided into four castes Those at the top do work in fields such as education, business, law and so forth, while the lowest castes do the manual work, and then there are those who are without caste their situation is the worst in Indian society Even though a vast population is affected by the caste system, it is difficult to fight it, or annihilate it as Ambedkar suggests One reason for this is that those who belong to the upper castes do not want to give up their privileged position in society Second reason is giving up caste means giving up Hinduism itself Since caste is sanctioned by the religious texts not observing caste means rejecting Hinduism In addition, the idea of karma plays a vital role in the Indian imagination It has a firm grip on an ordinary Indian mind One can safely say that most people, irrespective of their caste, genuinely believe in karmic order and in turn, have a firm belief in caste One accepts one s lot, it does not matter where one is in the caste hierarchy, and this very conception strengthens caste.What is so stunning about the book is that Ambedkar shames the upper castes with such vehemence, contempt and astute arguments that the upper caste reformists, possibly, cannot counter him in any reasonable way I mean any normal thinking person will at once see the cruelty and cunning innate to such a system that has worked for over two centuries now This is colonialism too, perhaps, even lethal because it modernizes itself and stays relevant.One perfectly understands Ambedkar rage against the Indian caste system He quotes from various sources both literary and religious to bash the upper castes His anger is largely directed at those Hindus who consider themselves not only atheists but also see themselves as social reformers His chief opponent was Gandhi When one looks at their correspondence, Ambedkar makes far sense than Gandhi.According to Arundhati Roy, who wrote a book length introduction to this book, caste is the engine that runs India It always did Shesees Ambedkar as Doctor and Gandhi as Saint most probably a fake one In her essay, she shows how banal Gandhi was in his ways and what a hypocrite when it had to deal with the issue caste reforms how his thoughts take different hue in the English press, and a quite different tone in the regional press She delves into very real documents to make us see the real Gandhi who developed from truth to truth in his political career, as she pointedly observes In contrast to Gandhi, Ambedkar is shown as far honest and forthright in his political affiliations.On my first reading of Roy about Ambedkar and Gandhi, I was disappointed in Gandhi and his hypocrisies I still believe that everything that Roy wrote about him was true But I also think that Gandhi, with all his quirks and peculiarities, cannot be so easily fixed There is much to him that has made him Gandhi Just like everyone else Gandhi was no god, he had his imperfections, and he did certain things that no politician, saint or otherwise, could have managed He was the only one who provided the much needed leadership to the vast Indian population which responded to him brushing aside differences that are intrinsic to a heterogeneous country like India Gandhi, with his queer ideas concerning sexuality and sex, truly helped men and women to have equal, respectful and harmonious relations.Gandhi was probably the only leader who worked so closely with Untouchables He was the product of his society and just like everyone around him, he practiced caste and had some funny or rather very subtle caste based prejudices against Dalits in his early years, but considering what he did with his life, it would be reckless to dismiss him Gandhi worked with Dalits and cleaned lavatories that no Brahmin will do even in today s India Gandhi used fasting and nonviolence all his life to fight injustice When India got Independence, he wanted his country to be secular There were many forces even then that wanted India to be a Hindu nation, but he firmly opposed it Can we really call him a bigot He was indeed a clever politician, and in order to be a politician in such a diversified country, it is not easy to appease everybody He was bound to fail and stumble.But I guess Gandhi succeeded in many ways, so did Ambedkar And as long as there are writers like Roy in India, one can be sure that India will tame the monster of caste.


  8. says:

    This is actually two books in one Ambedkar s famous non delivered speech to the Jat Pat Todak Mandal an offshoot of the militantly anti caste wing of the Arya Samaj, founded in Lahore in 1922 members pledged themselves to a program of anti caste propaganda, coupled with interdining and intermarriage and Arundhati Roy s book length introduction to it So let me take each in turn.Ambedkar s book first.The Jat Pat Todak Mandal was a society for communal reformation They wanted to remove caste inequalities within Hinduism For their annual conference in 1936, they invited Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, the famous politician, social activist, and outspoken critique of Hinduism, to deliver the presidential address However, after perusing Ambedkar s speech which was much radical than they had anticipated, they asked him make some changes in it Ambedkar refused The speech was not delivered and the meeting did not take place Later, Ambedkar had the speech printed and published it as a small booklet.Reading the speech in the twenty first century, one will not be able to appreciate fully how explosive it was at that point of time So far, the reform movements within the Hindu fold had been to remove caste inequalities and get the untouchables Ambedkar was one into the fold of the mainstream, without challenging the tenets of the religion itself Ambedkar had a different viewpoint He argued for the demolition of the religious basis for the caste system including the total rejection of the Vedas, which to him was a body of worthless literature This was striking at the roots of Hinduism itself No wonder the reformers were aghast they were advocating medical treatments, and here was a guy who wanted nothing short of surgical removal Since I do not take religious books literally, most of the arguments in this speech were evident to me The width and depth of Ambedkar s knowledge and erudition is breathtaking However, I have one caveat the good doctor does not go into the philosophical part of the religion, especially the Upanishads, seeing Hinduism only as a mass of discriminatory laws One can hardly blame him for it, because he was a man moulded by bitter personal experience Philosophy does not help when one is allowed only to grub in the dirt for scraps to sustain oneself, just because one was born into a certain community.Gandhi responded to Ambedkar, in his usual hyperbolic way saying that the Varnashrama Dharma Caste System was the best social system ever and only the inequality and untouchability were the problems In a scathing reply, Ambedkar demolished the Mahatma s arguments and chided him for not willing to meet the problem head on Both these responses are included in this book and make riveting reading.Now for Arundhati Roy.Madam, take a bow Mark Anthony has nothing on you Your introduction, The Doctor and the Saint , is the most perfect hatchet job on a famous and hallowed personality that I have ever seen Starting in mild terms, especially like Anthony did Brutus is an honourable man , remember , you slowly escalate your attack on the persona of the Mahatma until you present him as a dishonest, opportunistic and racist politician who hijacked the freedom struggle for his own benefit and manipulated the public to get the title of Mahatma the great soul bestowed on himself.Your introduction gave me an excellent background for the struggle between Ambedkar and Gandhi, and the whole equation of caste which troubles India even now I disagree with many of Gandhi s views and agree with most of Ambedkar s But forgive me if I take your picture of Gandhi with a pinch of salt that smiling visage is enshrined in mind since childhood, and has informed all my political views on non violent struggle Possibly Gandhi is a blackguard and Ambedkar is the real saint, as you say but I will reserve my judgement till I have read the similar hatchet job perpetrated on Ambedkar by Arun Shourie.


  9. says:

    My quarel with Hindus and Hinduism is not over the imperfections of their social conduct It is much fundamental It is over their ideals Reading this Critical Edition of The Annihilation of Caste is like watching back to back one sided boxing matches The other bloke is helplessly holding his hands up to his face as vicious body blows rain upon him As the audience, you periodically wince, but you also enjoy the systematic dismantling of the Other in this case, Gandhi and Hinduism.In her excellent book length introduction, Arundhati Roy takes on the Mahatma and exposes both his disappointingly racist views on South Africa s blacks during his two decades in the country, and his damaging doublespeak on caste Ordinary politicians oscillate from political expediency to political expediency A Mahatma grows from truth to truth Ouch In the main course, Ambedkar systematically takes on Hinduism, its sacred books and the positively pernicious caste system in an absolutely brilliant argument that deserves to be quoted whole I will keep myself to one paragraph It is a pity that caste even today has its defenders The defences are many It is defended on the ground that the caste system is but another name for division of labour and if division of labour is a necessary feature of every civilised society, then it is argued that there is nothing wrong in the caste system Now the first thing that is to be urged against this view is that the caste system is not merely a division of labour It is also a division of labourers Civilised society undoubtedly needs division of labour But in no civilised society is division of labour accompanied by this unnatural division of labourers into watertight compartments The caste system is not merely a division of labourers which is quite different from division of labour it is a hierarchy in which the divisions of labourers are graded one above the other The notes by S Anand are meticulous, as is his brief account of the Communal Award of 1932 which awarded a separate electorate for Dalits, and also gave them a vote in the general electorate , and the Mahatma s ridiculous fast unto death form of blackmail which forced Ambedkar to accede to the Poona Pact reserved seats not separate electorates.5 stars Should be made compulsory reading in schools It won t be.


  10. says:

    Without doubt, this book is perhaps one of the most well researched and scholarly works on the caste system of India and Hinduism Dr Ambedkar with his irrefutable observations and sound arguments puts forward a strong case against casteism in the Indian society, especially in the context of its implications for the Depressed Classes His prolific writings backed by evidence from the Hindu scriptures will make you challenge your own beliefs on a number of occasions throughout the book Moreover, without a conscious attempt to do so, Dr Ambedkar justifies why he continues to remain Gandhi s most formidable critic till date This is a book which must be read by anyone who believes that social reform is as necessary if not , than political or economic reform that religion and customs should not be rules of law free from logical reasoning that liberty, equality and fraternity are paramount to the sustenance of any society, and any faith that compromises on these principles must be thrown open to criticism and modification or even extirpation.By the end of the book, you ll find yourself wondering why history or society could not be kind to Dr Ambedkar or judicious about its own future This book deserves nothing less than a rating of 5, even though rating such a piece of work would be undermining its relevance and application.


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The Annihilation of Caste summary pdf The Annihilation of Caste, summary chapter 2 The Annihilation of Caste, sparknotes The Annihilation of Caste, The Annihilation of Caste 592fbec What The Communist Manifesto Is To The Capitalist World, Annihilation Of Caste Is To India Anand Teltumbde, Author Of The Persistence Of Caste BR Ambedkar S Annihilation Of Caste Is One Of The Most Important, Yet Neglected, Works Of Political Writing From India Written In , It Is An Audacious Denunciation Of Hinduism And Its Caste System Ambedkar A Figure Like WEB Du Bois Offers A Scholarly Critique Of Hindu Scriptures, Scriptures That Sanction A Rigidly Hierarchical And Iniquitous Social System The World S Best Known Hindu, Mahatma Gandhi, Responded Publicly To The Provocation The Hatchet Was Never Buried Arundhati Roy Introduces This Extensively Annotated Edition Of Annihilation Of Caste In The Doctor And The Saint , Examining The Persistence Of Caste In Modern India, And How The Conflict Between Ambedkar And Gandhi Continues To Resonate Roy Takes Us To The Beginning Of Gandhi S Political Career In South Africa, Where His Views On Race, Caste And Imperialism Were Shaped She Tracks Ambedkar S Emergence As A Major Political Figure In The National Movement, And Shows How His Scholarship And Intelligence Illuminated A Political Struggle Beset By Sectarianism And Obscurantism Roy Breathes New Life Into Ambedkar S Anti Caste Utopia, And Says That Without A Dalit Revolution, India Will Continue To Be Hobbled By Systemic Inequality

  • Hardcover
  • 415 pages
  • The Annihilation of Caste
  • B.R. Ambedkar
  • 20 October 2017
  • 9781781688311

About the Author: B.R. Ambedkar

Wikipedia Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar popularly also known as Babasaheb, was an Indian jurist, political leader, philosopher, anthropologist, historian, orator, economist, and editor He was also the Chairman of the Drafting Committee of Indian Constitution Born into a poor Mahar considered an Untouchable caste family, Ambedkar spent his whole life fighting against social discrimination, the system of Chaturvarna the categorization of Hindu society into four varnas and the Hindu caste system He converted to Buddhism and is also credited with providing a spark for the conversion of hundreds of thousands of untouchables to Theravada Buddhism Ambedkar was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India s highest civilian award, in 1990.Overcoming numerous social and financial obstacles, Ambedkar became one of the first outcastes to obtain a college education in India Eventually earning law degrees and multiple doctorates for his study and research in law, economics and political science from Columbia University and the London School of Economics, Ambedkar gained a reputation as a scholar and practiced law for a few years, later campaigning by publishing journals advocating political rights and social freedom for India s so called untouchables He is regarded as a Bodhisattva by some Indian Buddhists, though he never claimed himself to be a Bodhisattva.About His Studies at Columbia University Ambedkar received a scholarship to Columbia from the Maharajah of Baroda He earned his MA in 1915 and then obtained a DSc at the London School of Economics before being awarded his Columbia PhD in 1927 In 1952, Columbia presented him with an honorary doctorate for his service as a great social reformer and a valiant upholder of human rights In 1995, a bronze bust of Ambedkar was donated to Lehman Library by the Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organizations of the United Kingdom.At Columbia, Ambedkar studied under John Dewey, who inspired many of his ideas about equality and social justice Ambedkar later recounted that at Columbia he experienced social equality for the first time The best friends I have had in my life, he told the New York Times in 1930, were some of my classmates at Columbia and my great professors, John Dewey, James Shotwell, Edwin Seligman, and James Harvey Robinson.