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Annihilation of Caste


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B.R. Ambedkar

with an Introduction,‘The Doctor and the Saint’ by Arundhati Roy

Annihilation of Caste ‘posseses a generic openness to the wounds and decisions of existence which can breach the prisons of the world as no amount of scholarship can’—Biblio

Read a comprehensive interview with Arundhati Roy in Outlook, where she says, ‘Caste is at the heart of the rot in our society. Quite apart from what it has done to the subordinated castes, it has corroded the moral core of the privileged castes. We need to take Ambedkar seriously.’


In 1936, a Hindu reformist group invited B.R. Ambedkar to deliver their presidential address and chart a path to end the caste system. When he argued that the immorality of caste was sustained by the Vedas and shastras, and without ‘dynamiting’ them there could be no reform, they withdrew their invitation. Ambedkar published the text on his own. Mahatma Gandhi responded to the provocation. The hatchet was never buried.

This new annotated, critical edition features a comprehensive introduction by Arundhati Roy, who says ‘to ignore Gandhi while writing about Ambedkar is to do Ambedkar a disservice’. This edition generated inevitable questions regarding political representation, caste, privilege, and power in Indian society.

Annihilation of Caste is a breach of peace.

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, he would not die as one. Ambedkar eventually embraced Buddhism, a few months before his death in 1956.

Arundhati Roy is the author of the novel The God of Small Things and The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. Collections of her recent political writings have been published as Listening to Grasshoppers and Broken Republic.


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