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Annihilation of Caste

4.61  ·  Rating details ·  4,656 ratings  ·  526 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 15th 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)
Disha Jaiswal Its too late to comment but I have a pdf version with me just in case

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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
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is extraordinary. I have just finished Arundhati Roy’s The Doctor and the Saint, which is the introduction here, though I read it in its form as a separate publication. Now I’m reading Ambedkar whose clarity and cogency are fascinating. Caste has always been an enigma to me, specifically the Dalits. Why would a major religion have coreligionists who are considered, not only unequal to others, but literally foul: that is, embodiments of pollution? I did not know that the justification was sa ...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 for ev
This text that Ambedkar originally published at his own expense was supposed to be a speech that he was to deliver in a conference organised by the Jat-Pat Todak Mandal, a Hindu liberal caste reformer group. On receiving a copy of the speech prior to the meeting, the Mandal members asked Ambedkar to alter many parts of it that they found to be 'controversial.' Ambedkar, however, refused to delete even a comma and so he self-published the speech.

India has an ugly and violent history of oppression
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
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
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
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
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
The caste system, only dimly understood outside the Indian subcontinent, is perhaps the most rigid form of hierarchical social organization in human history. Caste is something like a relic from ancient times and proves the close relationship between India and the hierarchical ancient Greek civilization — a relationship far more direct than that existing between the modern West and antiquity. This book consists of two major parts: a debate between Bhimrao Ambedkar, the champion of the Dalits, an ...more
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
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 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read for every Indian!

Why do I admire Dr. Ambedkar a lot? As he says in his own words,

"Reason and morality are the two most powerful weapons in the armory of a Reformer."

He was just that. He had acted upon these words. This is why he is one of the best, if not THE best reformer India ever had.

Apart from the topic of annihilating the caste system, this book also offers insights on the below and more.

1. On what basis an ideal society should be functioning?
2. What is a religion? Should a rel
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
Udit Nair
One of the fiercest commentaries on the deplorable practice of caste system of India. Ambedkar thinks that there can be no fundamental reform in the Hinduism until and unless caste system is annihilated. This leads him to another proposition which is the sanction behind the caste system is religious in nature. As a result you either get out of the fold of the Hinduism as he himself did or destroy the sanctity of the texts which prescribe the caste system or supports it indeed.
He passionately te
Raunak Bose
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In all fairness, I do not deserve to write a review of this colossal object of magnificence. Although every living being on this planet should read this book and encounter the sheer brilliance it encompasses.
Ambedkar cancels Hinduism.
Jan 05, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: caste, non-fiction
Excellent book to kick start 2021. Ambedkar's writing has the clarity and sharp quality that makes him stand head and shoulders above his critics (particularly, and in the context of this book, Gandhi, whose simplistic arguments are destroyed by Ambedkar without blinking an eye). I want to say this book should be compulsory reading in schools and colleges everywhere, but honestly, as a privileged upper-caste teenager, my head was so far up my ass that I probably would have dismissed this work wi ...more
Annihilation of caste is more of an opinion of Ambedkar on the so-called 'caste system'. It put forths only one side of the argument, that too an incomplete, one-dimensional and outdated one. People should definitely read this book, but better not create your opinion on the 'caste system' based on just this one book. ( No, I am not an advocate for the 'caste system')

His hate for Brahmins and Hinduism is seriously nauseating. One could tell his thinking is more or less influenced by his deep-sea
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: south-asian, poco
This is a foundational text. As such, some of the arguments it makes may seem dated. Nonetheless it is foundational for a reason.

Caste functions as a hereditary hierarchy. The hierarchy requires one performs caste, with the humiliations it entails, and transgressors are disciplined with extreme violence. At the local level, caste is inescapable - you cannot pass because everyone knows who you are and knows your caste status. Under modernity/the city, where all fixed and fast relations become unm
Feb 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's so sad that the Jat-Pat Todak Mandal did not allow Dr. B. R. Ambedkar to deliver this particular speech. It's radical, but it's real, the caste system is the reason why many don't have opportunities to outgrow their social and economic woes.

I would have given this 5 stars, but the version of the book I have, has an introduction from Arundhati Roy. Roy explains the contrasting ideas Gandhi and Ambedkar had and criticizes Gandhi a lot. Ger points are of course valid, but they really overshad
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: indian, non-fiction
Difficult to review such a formative text.

I enjoyed Roy's introduction, in and of itself very informative as well as exceptionally good in setting the context for Dr Ambedkar's undelivered speech. A brief history of caste and anti-caste activism in independent India would also have been very helpful.

A must read, especially for Hindu Savarnas.
Umesh Kesavan
Apr 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics, non-fiction
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. ...more
Saravanakumar S K
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I can't believe that almost 85 years ago what Ambedkar wrote in this book is still absolutely relevant to the Caste/Varna system in Hinduism. Ambedkar said that Religion should be based on principles, not based on some rules without any reasoning. If Gandhi is true to his conscience that all the caste discrimination in Vedas, Masnusmiriti and shastras are interpolation then he should have honestly agreed to Ambedkar's idea of abandoning all of them and create one holy book based on principles wi ...more
Bhavesh Mehta
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It was painful reading Annihilation of Caste being a Brahmin, but I am glad I did. I have heard arguments in favor of caste system from the members of my community where they sometimes proclaimed it to be a divine proclamation and sometimes a necessity to maintain social order.

Ambedkar with his rational facts refutes each argument without being overly pretentious. He counter the Indian distressing scenario taking help from European examples. I also in a gloomy way enjoyed the narration style th
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Essential reading. The back of the book has a review saying "what the Communist Manifesto was for Europe, Annihilation of Caste is for India." I could not put it better myself. It sweeps away previous conceptions and fills you with an understanding of the contradictions and failings of the current social order. It is hard to look at things the same after having read it.

I found that many of Dr. Ambedkar's arguments could also be applied to race, in an interesting way. For lefties, the idea that
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
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
Jun 30, 2020 added it
Annihilation of Caste is Ambedkar’s book-length manifesto and an exceptionally incisive analysis of how caste hegemony is a fundamental tenet of Hinduism. It also forces the reader to reckon with the prospect that the formal Hindu religious code may very well be resistant to any kind of meaningful socio-political reform (sorry, Shashi Tharoor).

Ambedkar, after reading this book and related commentaries, is cemented in my mind as arguably the most important legal thinker of the 20th century — far
Ashna Singh
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Religion is the root of all evil...
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Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was born in 1891 into an “Untouchable” family of modest means. One of India’s most radical thinkers, he transformed the social and political landscape in the struggle against British colonialism. He was a prolific writer who oversaw the drafting of the Indian Constitution and served as India’s first Law Minister. In 1935, he publicly declared that though he was born a Hindu, ...more

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