Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Annihilation of Caste” as Want to Read:
Annihilation of Caste
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Annihilation of Caste

4.62  ·  Rating details ·  6,099 ratings  ·  700 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)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Annihilation of Caste, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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)
ajay chaudhary Most of Ambedkar's books and other writings are available free of cost online. https://velivada.com/dr-b-r-ambedkar-...…moreMost of Ambedkar's books and other writings are available free of cost online. https://velivada.com/dr-b-r-ambedkar-...(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,099 ratings  ·  700 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Annihilation of Caste
Sumirti Singaravel
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All Indians especially the young ones.
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
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
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
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
Nandakishore Mridula
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
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
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
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
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
Amishi Agrawal
Mar 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know why I didn't read this sooner. Ambedkar's writing, logics, and propositions are bullet-proof.
The reality of caste in India is scary, and more often than not the averagely educated person is not adversely impacted by it, thus making it a topic that not many think, and thus learn about. But we learn to revere those who upheld caste, and that is wrong.
Ambedkar's writing is of global relevance, and one of my most favourite parts was about his analysis of religions and cultures as an i
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
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
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
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.
Ribhav Pande
Apr 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s plain embarrassing that I read this so late in my life.

Preliminary thoughts beyond the book: Dr Ambedkar is taught to us in schools as the father of the Indian Constitution and a leader of the untouchables. The former is excessively emphasised, the latter is muted. It is known that he was not quite happy with the way the Constitution came out. Why is the former considered his enduring legacy and the latter muted? Because if you were to go into his views on caste, your complacent mind would
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
Jun 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
If a person born in India reads just one book in his entire life, let it be this book. Dr. Ambedkar does not just take down everything wrong with Hinduism, but he explains the myriad ways in which the caste system has corrupted the Hindu mind and it helps explain a lot of Indian attitudes towards things. It is sad to see that even today the left has been unable to bring into action the ideas of Annihilation of Caste.
I hope it is made compulsory reading in schools all over the country. It is an
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
Amara Bharathy
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An eye opener on Dalit lives in India during the 1940s and now (the introduction part by Arundati Roy - the Doctor and the Saint). Thanks to the Tamil director Ranjith, that I started reading Dr.Ambedkar. There were times when I read Gandhian articles and was a fan of Gandhi, wherein Dr.Ambedkar is either cast as a villain or never mentioned at all! Then I thought about reading about this great man, and there couldn't be any better choice than this book.

This book has 3 parts - 1. Doctor and the
Apart from being an incisive and no-bullshit political proclamation, this is just a really good speech.
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
Niyatee Narkar
Annihilation of Caste is Dr. Ambedkar's undelivered speech that was considered too blasphemous by the Jat-Pat Todak Mandal's mostly privileged caste Hindu organizers for their annual conference in 1935. Ambedkar provides a scathing indictment of the sacred texts of Hinduism (most prominently the Manusmriti) and how privileged caste Hindus religiously cling to them as a defense to maintain the social hierarchy established by the caste system. The power the higher castes hold is sustained through ...more
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: 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. ...more
Nandha Kumar
Apr 28, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read at your own peril. Be prepared to have your conceptions of pre-independence india questioned deeply. Arundhati Roy can sure write a great intro
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Doctor and the Saint: The Ambedkar - Gandhi Debate
  • Why I Am An Atheist: An Autobiographical Discourse
  • Coming Out as Dalit: A Memoir
  • Caste Matters
  • India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy
  • The Discovery of India
  • Seeing Like a Feminist
  • Nationalism
  • பெண் ஏன் அடிமையானாள்?
  • The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity
  • Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule
  • Everybody Loves a Good Drought
  • Azadi
  • Why I Am Not a Hindu
  • Early Indians: The Story of Our Ancestors and Where We Came From
  • The Adivasi Will Not Dance
  • Why I am an Atheist and Other Works
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
14 likes · 4 comments
“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.” 58 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.”
More quotes…