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A try with the "Annihiliation of Caste"


“Caste is no doubt primarily the breath of Hindus, but the Hindus have fouled the air all over, and everybody is infected – Sikh, Muslim, Christian.”
--- B.R. Ambedkar, Annihilation of Caste (1936)



Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar popularly known as Babasaheb born on April 14, 1891 was amongst the first high profile Dalit (Untouchable) front-runners. A student of London School of Economics and Political Science, Dr. Ambedkar has been an influential figure within the Indian political and social system. An Indian Jurist, Politician, Social reformer who also inspired the Buddhist movement against the social discrimination, B.R. Ambedkar puts forward his fundamental arguments in his letters and speech, composed by the name of The Annihilation of Caste. A speech which came to be composed- and not delivered, establishes the resilient and debated thoughts about the Hindus, the Caste system and likewise about the oracle like Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Bapu). Proclaiming the Hindus as “Sick men of India”, he tries to bring about to everyone’s attention that the sickness or the chauvinistic thoughts and actions of the people belonging to the Hindu community is causing threat to the wellbeing and happiness of other Indians. Quite evidently disapproved by many Hindu scholars and leaders such viewpoints were well criticised and cross-questioned.

“He that will not reason is a bigot.
He that cannot reason is a fool.
He that dare not reason is a slave”
-H.Drummond

Dalits, statistically the most vulnerable section of the society takes the worst beating during the economic changes. With the amendment of Article 17 of the Indian Constitution which speaks against Caste discrimination and Inhuman practice of Untouchability, the socio-economic backwardness should have been abolished, but many years subsequent to it, the discrimination still exists. This is the result of no interrogation or questioning by the people to the system. The father of the Indian Constitution, Ambedkar, tries raising objection for the same purpose.
Lacking the feature of spontaneity, Caste hinders with the efficiency of entities the reason being the absence of emotions or emotional attachment due to predestination of occupation or what we term as “kismet” in typical orthodox societies. In any society that is democratic, division of labour is a voluntary practice in which any person is free to validate or adopt any profession. Contrary to which, the caste system forces a soul to follow the occupation of the fore-fathers inconsiderate about the fact whether one likes it or not or whether one has the aptitude for it or not. The thorough description for the untouchable mentioned by Ambedkar at that point of time might not be visible today or must have altered their form of existence, if the same social and mental attitude persists. However, the existence of caste perception still keeps the memory of bygone antagonistic. This has prevented effective unity and harmony among the Indians. According to Ambedkar the Hindu belief in the sacredness of social order has divine basis. Therefore to destroy the divinity with which caste has deeply rooted itself is to destroy the authority of the Shastras and the Vedas, which is not likely to happen.

Further a debate pops up over the origin of Hinduism in India. Referred to as a myth, Hinduism, unlike Sikhism, is not a pure “Caste” but a collection of it which Ambedkar compares to amorphous mass of people, that won’t stand by each other during glitches except a Hindu-Muslim riot. Thus, ideal Hindu is equated to a rat living in a hole refusing to interact with others. Some scholars who are in favour of the caste system reason that caste system is nothing but division of labour (class system) found all over the realm. However, Ambedkar ardently argued that caste system is the worst kind of racism in religious disguise. Division of labour has nothing to do with birth, whereas caste system is very deeply rooted on birth, both as a concept and in implementation.

Towards the end the question pops up in one’s mind that can Caste, one of the earliest forms of discrimination, stratification and differentiation that are religiously followed by a huge majority be annihilated, be defeated, conquered or crushed that easily? Not unless we show the courage to rearrange the stars in our space and strive to struggle against it. Not unless those who call themselves revolutionary develop a radical critique of Brahmanism. Not unless those who understand Brahmanism sharpen their critique of Capitalism and not unless we read B.R. Ambedkar, if not inside classrooms then outside them. Until then we will remain what we call “sick men of India” who have no desire to get well.

Culminating the whole thing in the end it is not Ambedkar’s views and writings that will influence one’s thoughts and perceptions about Caste but one’s own will-power that will help eradicates this positively pernicious system from the society. It is an Individual struggle against the social evil. Babasaheb also compares the fight against caste with Swaraj. Ironically, where for Swaraj (freedom) the whole nation stands on one side, one has to stand against the whole nation when it comes to fight against Caste on the other.
“Know the Truth as Truth and Untruth as Untruth”
-- Buddha



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Ahsaas Verma

Student

Haryana ,  INDIA

I am currently a second year student pursuing my Bachelors in Social Sciences at TATA Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Tuljapur (Maharashtra). I am a trained dancer who has his interest in listening to music, writing, reading and exploring places. I like to interact and talk with people irrespective of common interests, liking, disliking etc.. Understanding people and getting to know them better is what makes my day.  I am keen of cultural and co-curricular activities and like to explore my abilities. I believe in doing whatever best I can in whatever I am doing. My blogs might come across as childish and amateur, but perhaps I think that is how we learn. I am a complete foodie, a travel enthusiast and passionate dancer. I am supposedly fun loving and I would love to stay like that! 

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