Religion: Untouchable Lincoln

"Hinduism is not a religion; it is a disease."

One of the few men who have risen from the malodorous sink which is below the lowest caste of India is Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, No. 1 Untouchable. This plump, cheery, bespectacled man of no caste, whose very shadow would outrage high-caste Hindus, managed to get a good education in Indian Government schools, was staked to courses at the University of London and Columbia University by the highly democratic Gaekwar of Baroda. Dr. Ambedkar is probably the only man alive who ever walked out in a huff from a private audience with the Pope of Rome. His Holiness Pius XI having heard from Dr. Ambedkar about the miseries of Indian outcastes, replied: "My son, it may take three or four centuries to remedy these abuses, be patient."

Impatient Dr. Ambedkar summoned 10,000 raggle-taggle Untouchables to Nasik near Bombay last autumn, said de liberately: "I had the misfortune of being born with the stigma of Untouchability. But it is not my fault. I will not die a Hindu, for this is in my power. I say to you, abandon Hinduism and adopt any other religion which gives you equality of status and treatment."

Thereupon the 10,000 adopted a resolution advising India's Untouchables—some 60,000,000—to desert Hinduism en masse. Then a mob of Untouchables made a mighty bonfire of the most sacred Hindu books they could find. At Lucknow volunteers were solicited to force entry into Hindu temples, from which Untouchables have been barred since time immemorial. At Barabanki 28,000 Untouchables shouted their support of Dr. Ambedkar, laid plans for an All Indian Untouchable Conference. Millions of leaflets bearing Untouchable Ambedkar's message began fluttering out over India.

To what faith the Untouchables should turn for "equality of status and treatment," Dr. Ambedkar did not hasten to explain. Since he was reported dallying with Mohammedanism, Christian leaders in India exhibited pious skittishness. Declared the National Christian Council of India: ''The harvest is ripe for the gathering in many quarters and we urge that volunteer bands be sent forth to gather it."

This week in Zion's Herald, New England Methodist weekly, appears the first interview with Dr. Ambedkar to be published in the U. S. since he made his Nasik speech. To get it, able Editor Lewis Oliver Hartman went to India, sought out its No. 1 Untouchable, plied him with practical questions. Wrote the editor of Zion's Herald:

"The [Untouchable] leader was rather critical of Christianity's constant emphasis upon personal experience at the expense of any wider reference. 'Why have you not seen the importance of a religion that reaches out into all life and all relationships?' he asked. Continuing, he declared with deep feeling, 'If you are going to compromise with evil conditions while you stress personal religion exclusively, I tell you now I am not with you.

. . . . "I pointed out in answer that, so far as the Methodist Episcopal Church was concerned, our watchword was this: 'Nothing that has to do with human welfare is foreign to Methodism.' This seemed to please him. . . ." Of Hinduism the man whom Editor Hartman calls "India's Lincoln" said: "Hinduism is not a religion; it is a disease."

Editor Hartman's interview concluded thus: ''This much is settled,' he said to me, 'we are through forever with Hinduism. We are going somewhere, but are not ready yet to say in what direction 'Yes,' I answered, 'you are not strong enough yet to announce a decision. If you compromise with the Hindus, all is lost; if you choose Mohammedanism, the Hindus will crush you; if you go Christian, both the Hindus and the Moslems will be on your back.'

" 'Exactly,' replied Dr. Ambedkar. 'We are not ready—yet.' "

Other Related Articles

Menstrual Hygiene Management in Sarawasti, An Aspirational District of Uttar Pradesh
Saturday, 04 December 2021
   Shubhangi Rawat  Abstract Menstruation, a normal biological process in the female body, is often viewed as dirty and disgusting. Because of the negative perceptions and... Read More...
Two talented youngsters and their life of songs
Friday, 03 December 2021
  C K Premkumar [P S Banerjee and Mathayi Sunil bagged the Kerala government’s folklore awards this year. They are being introduced to the readers by their friend, through this article.] It... Read More...
The making of the Indian Constitution- Excerpts from the Constituent Assembly debates
Wednesday, 01 December 2021
  Dr Jas Simran Kehal The constitution is apparently revered but it is not celebrated- Stephen M. Griffin. Constitution is not a mere lawyer's document, it is a vehicle of life, and its spirit... Read More...
Jayanti: The Roaring Story of Oppressed Unity and Transformation
Tuesday, 30 November 2021
   Vicky Nandgaye, Manoj Meshram Prelude: Central Theme and Cast of the Movie Recently a Marathi movie 'Jayanti' was released on the big screen in Maharashtra. Jayanti is a Marathi word... Read More...
The caste view of 'saffron dollars'
Saturday, 27 November 2021
  Dr. Bhushan Amol Darkase "If anyone throws his glance at the Indian physical and social world as a spectator, he will undoubtedly find this country a home of glaring inequality." -Dr Ambedkar... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

Conceiving a New Public: Ambedkar on Universities
Saturday, 26 June 2021
Asha Singh & Nidhin Donald Dr. B.R. Ambedkar conceptualizes education as a ‘vital need’ which helps us fight notions of ‘inescapable fate’ or ‘ascriptions of caste or religion’. He... Read More...
Caste management through feminism in India
Friday, 06 August 2021
Kanika S There was a time some 5-6 years ago when feminism tried to undermine Dr Ambedkar by pointing out that he carried a penis.1 Now he is just as fantastically a carrier of feminist ideals... Read More...
A portrait of the casteist as a young influencer
Monday, 12 July 2021
Shy of inquiry into privilege, social media posts flaunt antiquated attitudes to caste, reservations Rahi Gaikwad We are all to some extent the prisoners of our upbringing.-PD James (Death in Holy... Read More...
Life of Bahujans in Brahminical Schools
Friday, 18 June 2021
  Pranav Jeevan P Schools are one of the primary places where the functioning of caste is passed on to the next generation. Savarna kids are indoctrinated of their superiority and Bahujan kids... Read More...
Against all odds: Babasaheb Ambedkar's prophetic warnings about communist China
Wednesday, 23 June 2021
Dr. Aniruddha Babar “Chinese ‘might be induced not to be hostile to us’. And why would that be? Because “I have some slight reputation with the leaders of Communist China because of the... Read More...