Let's look at some of the efforts made by Dr. BR Ambedkar to eradicate casteism and caste based discrimination from the social engineering of the Indian society.

In 1935 Ambedkar announced, ‘Although I have been born a Hindu, I will not die a Hindu.’ And it culminated in October 1956 in the city of Nagpur where he and 400,000 followers took the ‘three refuges’ of traditional Buddhism and an additional 22 vows.

He believed that Hinduism did not provide for human liberty, equality, fraternity and universal justice as it ritually hierarchized people. Through sanctions from its sacred texts Hinduism perpetrated grave injustices against the lower castes and women. It was, as a religion not self reflexive and humanitarian in the least.
Using the metaphor of Imperialism, the ‘colonized’ i.e. the dalits were unable to escape in any physical sense as they had no independent territory of their own; neither could they send the colonizers (Brahmins) home. They were unable to easily lay claim to an independent history and culture in fact they gained their identity by their incorporation into the repressive and exploitative dominant culture and society. Conversion offered an opportunity to the subordinated groups to escape the colonizers cultural and religious dominance.

Ambedkar had initially tried to encourage the process of Sanskritization, in the form of rejecting customs which marked caste as ‘low’, amongst the dalits. He also tried to promote reform from within Hinduism in the 20’s but these attempts were not effectual. Thus social reform within Hinduism failed to provide an ideological and organizational alternative and a new one had to be sought.
He toyed with the idea of demanding a separate homeland for the untouchables, but this was not feasible and he soon gave this idea up. He also thought of establishing a new religion to replace Hinduism but this too proved futile. Finally in the late 20’s and early 30’s he made public his decision to renounce Hinduism.

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