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Annihilation of Caste

4.55  ·  Rating details ·  2,349 ratings  ·  240 reviews
“What the Communist Manifesto is to the capitalist world, Annihilation of Caste is to India.” —Anand Teltumbde, author of The Persistence of Caste

B.R. Ambedkar’s Annihilation of Caste is one of the most important, yet neglected, works of political writing from India. Written in 1936, it is an audacious denunciation of Hinduism and its caste system. Ambedkar – a figure like
Paperback, 100 pages
Published January 1st 2000 by Blumoon Books (first published May 1936)
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Pavan Dharanipragada Caste system is codified in all Vedas starting from the earliest Veda, the Rig Veda. So the claim that Hinduism has nothing to do with caste is plain…moreCaste system is codified in all Vedas starting from the earliest Veda, the Rig Veda. So the claim that Hinduism has nothing to do with caste is plain wrong. Please read Dr. Ambedkar's book for a more precise argument.(less)

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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 de
Sumirti Singaravel
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 cas ...more
Jan 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Tisaranavamsa by: Tanoj Meshram
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 fo
The Doctor and The Saint

Arundhati 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 Kara
Justin Podur
Jul 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 more 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. ...more
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing

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 i
Nandakishore Varma
This is actually two books in one: Ambedkar's famous non-delivered speech to the Jat-Pat-Todak-Mandal (an offshoot of the more 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 c
Nov 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
"My quarel with Hindus and Hinduism is not over the imperfections of their social conduct. It is much more 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 h
Saloni Mehra
Sep 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Mar 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing book.How much I wish this book were taught in the school.Then the kids would have understood the real situation at a much younger age rather than studying half baked and flattering stories about Indian leaders and Indian History
Utsob Roy
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bestreads
ভারতবরষের ইতিহাস তার ভুখণডের মতই বিসতৃত ও পরাচীন। যে অংশটা আমাদের বিদযায়তনে পড়ানো হয় তা মূলত গত দুই শতকের বিপলব ও সবাধীনতার ইতিহাস। বৃটিশদের হাতেই দুটি ভাগে ভাগ হলো ভারতবরষ। তার পঁচিশ বছর যেতে না যেতেই পাকিসতান ভেঙে হলো দুটি দেশ। সবাধীনতাই যে এই উপমহাদেশের মানুষের একমাতর পরয়োজন ছিল না তা এতদিনে আমরা বুঝে গেছি। সুশিকষার অভাব এবং আমাদের বহুযুগের কুসংসকারের আধিকযে আজও এই উপমহাদেশে হীনবল। আমাদের সকল সমসযার মধযে সবচেয়ে গুরুতর আমি মনে করি সামপরদায়িকতা। এই বইয়ের বিষয়বসতু এক বিশেষ ধরণের সামপরদায়িকতা যা ...more
Surbhi Singh
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most well-researched and thought out speech I have read. He presents his argument in the most erudite fashion and paints a thought-provoking picture of the times. A must read, not only for the way he dissects the caste system and renders it meaningless, but also for the brilliant oration.
I picked this up right after reading Ta-Nehisi Coates' "Between the World and Me". After being deeply moved by the plight of the black man, I wanted to examine something closer to home. This
Rahul Bhalerao
Mar 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Revolutionary! For an average reader it may take hardly an hour or two to read this speech-turned-article. But the one who reads it is ought to be transformed. The myth goes that Saheb Kanshiram when first read this book, the first thing he did was to beat himself with his own shoes out of the frustration of being unaware and inactive about the situation of the Dalits in India. The BSP and BAMCEF activism in political and social arena that has given representation and power to millions of Dalits ...more
Varad Deshmukh
Apr 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Annihilation of Caste is a breach of peace. Arundhati Roy could not have a more fitting summary to this radical literature by Dr. Ambedkar.

This book is a journey of rational arguments to counter every upholding cause for the the chaturvarna and the caste system. The world is not simply divided into those that strongly oppose caste, and those that are strongly for it. The case was not different in the early 1900's when the Hindu revolutionaries began to question the basis for their smritis and s
Ashna Singh
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Religion is the root of all evil...
Dec 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I should have read this book a long time ago. Although I disagree with a lot of what Arundhati Roy has to say, her introduction sets the stage for Ambedkar well.

Few of the (many) things I found interesting:

On Caste
- Loved Ambedkar’s definition of caste in Hinduism: “Caste is like a multistoried building with no exit and no staircase. You live and die in the same floor you were born into"
- I’d read articles about how Gandhi was a lot more complex than his traditional image, but Arundhati Roy’s s
Apr 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Every Indian should read this masterpiece.
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-stars, atheism
This book is way ahead of its time. Ambedkar was truly an intellectual heavyweight and shreds the arguments made by caste apologists. Especially loved the part where he ran circles around Gandhi and his Varna system sophistry. I chuckled several times when he cheekily exposed Gandhi's inconsistencies and used Gandhi's arguments against him. Annihilation, it was.
Shreya Joshi
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads

From the moment I read this book, I have been asking myself, "What makes me a Hindu?"
Passive acceptance of beliefs?
Indifference to religion?
Not following other religions?
Fearing the umpteen number of Gods/Goddesses?
Worshiping idols?
Importantly, embracing the caste that I am born into?
To be absolutely honest, I do not consider myself very religious. I have not religiously studied the sacred texts such as the Vedas, Manusmritis or even the Bhagvad Gita. As a result,unlike a learned person or a aca
Mukesh Kumar
Sep 16, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: They say every Indian should read the writings of Gandhi, Ambedkar and Nehru.
Recommended to Mukesh by: Dilip C Mandal
Edit: As I mention in the review, my review could be ill-informed and ignorant. And I suspect it is, when I read it now 3 years later. This is a seminal text, probably the most radical anti-caste book ever, by the greatest intellectual/social scientist/constitution maker/activist/economist all rolled into one of the 20th century in the subcontinent. And the following review lacks the true understanding of caste system, which is a pre requisite before reading this book
Akshay Narayanan
Oct 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A book which is as relevant today as when it was written, as the issue it addresses is as poisonous today as it was when the book was penned(or typed or whatever). Probably more, given the consolidation of the wave of Hindutva happening across the country and the preeminence of the RSS and the BJP, particularly in light of the forces of Hindutva trying to claim Ambedkar as their own. The book is everything that you expect it to be, even accounting for the high standards to be expected from the m ...more
Ch Sandeep
Oct 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Most important book I had read. He tears into the malaise of caste in the Hindu society. Bhimrao's erudite synthesis of this reply to Gandhi has inspired veneration for him. The essay has simply opened my mind.
He supports his title from all different aspects history and fall of Hinduism, economics, culture, unity and identity for Hindus, the scientific evidence against 'eugenics criterion for caste' etc. This a truly scholarly essay for every Indian to read.
Umesh Kesavan
Apr 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, politics
Arundhati Roy writes a very fitting and rebellious introduction to what is an outright rejection of caste and Hindu sacred texts.Hope this new edition of Ambedkar's magnum opus reaches more young minds.S.Anand's meticulously researched notes add to the depth of the argument.
Mridul Kapoor
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't think a work this important requires a rating
Mar 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Very well-researched, scathing and rational arguments..a very thought-provoking write-up.
Amirtha Shri
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"What is this Hindu religion? Is it a set of principles, or is it a code of rules? ... The moment it degenerates into rules, it ceases to be a religion, as it kills the responsibility which is the essence of a truly religious act."

The abandoned speech of Dr. Ambedkar for Jat-Pat Todak Mandal made it into the powerful and well articulated book this is! The injustice, hypocrisy, and prostitution of the caste system - practiced especially by members of higher caste - is broken down to digestible pi
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, kindle-store
This book is the undelivered speech Ambedkar has prepared for a conference. The essay is a masterpiece. I have never highlighted so many times in such a small book. Exclude the appendix and the introduction and the main essay is well thought through. In the introduction, Ambedkar speaks about why the speech was not delivered and in the appendix, he gives his reply to Gandhi's reply to this essay.

I felt the book is bit outdated since the social-political landscape of the country has changed a lot
Pavan Dharanipragada
Disclaimer: The 4- star rating is for this particular edition- The Annotated Critical Edition. For the text of the Annihilation of Caste itself- well it's too important a document to be going about giving ratings.

See, in this 350~ page book the text of AoC itself is around 170 pages. Now, does a 170 page book need a 140 page introduction? Really? I mean I know it is Arundhati Roy. I enjoyed 'The Doctor and the Saint' but reeeeaaaally? 140 pages? Gandhi does pop up a couple of times in AoC. And t
Oct 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the text of a talk that was never given. It was not given because when the proposed text was presented to the Jat-Pat Todak Mandal, a Hindu reformist organization the governing members of whom had invited the already-prominent Lawyer-politician Ambedkar to address them, it was rejected, no doubt because it advocated the complete dismantling and annihilation of the caste system. Inasmuch as the caste system is inextricably part and parcel of Hinduism, Ambedkar was in effect proposing the ...more
Ram Kumar
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Caste system - An archaic hierarchical social organization which enabled absolute and sustainable oppression of depressed classes through millennia a.k.a the most ruthless and organized form of slavery. “Don’t other religions have caste? Why bash only hinduism?”

Decades have passed since Dr. Ambedkar and despite his profound answer, it is surprising how many people still bring this up.

Hanging his portrait on the walls of public offices and schools do not truly justify his body of work unless his
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“An idea needs propagation as much as a plant needs watering.”

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (1891–1956)
Founding Father, Modern India
MA 1915, PhD 1927
LLD 1952 (hon.)

Ambedkar was a leader in the struggle for Indian independence, the architect of the new nation's constitution, and the champion of civil rights for the 60 million members of the "untouchable" caste, to which he belonged. He spoke and wrote cea
“Constitutional morality is not a natural sentiment. It has to be cultivated. We must realise that our people have yet to learn it. Democracy in India is only a top-dressing on an Indian soil which is essentially undemocratic.” 29 likes
“The Hindus criticise the Mahomedans for having spread their religion by the use of the sword. They also ridicule Christianity on the score of the Inquisition.

But really speaking, who is better and more worthy of our respect—the Mahomedans and Christians who attempted to thrust down the throats of unwilling persons what they regarded as necessary for their salvation, or the Hindu who would not spread the light, who would endeavour to keep others in darkness, who would not consent to share his intellectual and social inheritance with those who are ready and willing to make it a part of their own make-up?

I have no hesitation in saying that if the Mahomedan has been cruel, the Hindu has been mean; and meanness is worse than cruelty.”
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