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Annihilation of Caste

Updated on Mar 24, 2018   •   B. R. Ambedkar   •   books  •  non-fiction

Ambedkar is not a very popular mainstream nationalist of the Indian independence struggle in the current times, and I did not know about him a lot. Born in a lower caste Hindu family, Ambedkar struggled to mobilize through the social hierarchy of the Hindu society, and went on to challenge the caste system that stripped the lower castes of basic amenities. Annihilation of Caste is an undelivered speech that Ambedkar was set to give as the president of an association of high-caste Hindus for social reform in the caste system. He unapologetically bashes the prevailing hierarchy and its supporters in what seems to be a strong voice for the untouchables (lower-caste community) in pre-independence India.

What is more interesting is his battle with Gandhi on the connections between Hinduism and the caste system. Ambedkar’s speech is an amazing read for people who want to know more about Gandhi-Ambedkar dynamics and how these two figures reflected the Indian society before 1947. The newest version contains an essay from Arundhati Roy discussing the pre- and post-independence power dynamics in the caste system.

I read this book for the course ASIAN 2275: History of Modern India that I took in Spring 2018.