Ambedkar and Buddhism

In his article entitled “What Way Emancipation” Ambedkar declared that “I solemnly assure you that I will not die a Hindu”, at Yeola, District of Nasik, Maharastra, on 13th October 1935 in front of ten thousand people, where
he went for a depressed class conference. Ambedkar as the president of the conference reminded his audience of their failure to secure elementary rights or equal status in Hindu society through any of the movements. According to him, the concept of sympathy is absent in the Hindu religion. The Hindus have no sense of brotherhood among themselves. The Untouchables are treated worse than foreigners. The Caste Hindus have no sympathy towards the untouchables. They are not brother to each other. They are two opposite castes. Society is based on class or varna, the association of an individual to a group is considered paramount. Even the family is not treated as a unit of society. According to Hindus, though all men are created by God, they are not created equal. They believe that God created different classes of men from different parts of his divine body. There is a section in “Purusha Sukta” of the Rig Veda which says that the Brahaman varna was born from the mouth of God, Kshatriya varna from his arms, the Vaishya from his thighs, and the Shudra from his feet. This they classify as Hindu social order but the views of Ambedkar on free social order
contradict the above sayings. He believed that an individual is an end in himself and the objective of the society is to support the growth of the individual, to develop his personality. The relationship between members of society is based on the principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity. According to him, Hindu social order is based on the principles of graded inequality, fixed occupations for each class, and its continuance by heredity, the fixation of people within their respective classes. According to him, the Varna-vyavastha had developed into a social order of exploitation and oppression. Society must be based on reason, and not on atrocious traditions of the caste system. He found education, inter-caste marriage, and inter-dine as methods that may eliminate caste and patriarchy.

On 14th October 1956, Dr. Ambedkar renounced Hinduism and embraced Buddhism. On 15th October 1956, he delivered his speech in Marathi relating to embraced Buddhism. He said there are so many problems after conversion to Buddhism. He hoped that he will get political rights. According to Dr. Ambedkar, religion is for man and not man for religion and that is why he choose to convert himself to a buddisht as this religion respect and gives a scope of development to people and their thoughts.