Dr. B R Ambedkar, or Babasaheb Ambedkar as he was fondly called, was a revolutionary thinker. It is unfortunate that India today has silenced most of his ideas, while continuing to give a token respect to a “dalit leader” and author of the Indian Constitution. Most Indians today have little idea of his words, and this post attempts to share some of his quotes that I found profound.
I measure the progress of a community by the degree of freedom which women have achieved.—
Unlike a drop of water which loses its identity when it joins the ocean, man does not lose his being in the society in which he lives. Man’s life is independent. He is born not for the development of the society alone, but for the development of his self.—
History shows that where ethics and economics come in conflict, victory is always with economics. Vested interests have never been known to have willingly divested themselves unless there was sufficient force to compel them.—
I like the religion that teaches liberty, equality and fraternity.—
Indians today are governed by two different ideologies. Their political ideal set in the preamble of the Constitution affirms a life of liberty, equality and fraternity. Their social ideal embodied in their religion denies them.—
If I find the constitution being misused, I shall be the first to burn it.—
On the 26th of January 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality.
In politics we will be recognizing the principle of one man one vote and one vote one value.
In our social and economic life, we shall, by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value.
How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions?
How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life?
If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril. We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which this Assembly has so laboriously built up.
I do not want that our loyalty as Indians should be in the slightest way affected by any competitive loyalty whether that loyalty arises out of our religion, out of our culture or out of our language.—
I want all people to be Indians first, Indian last and nothing else but Indians.
In the Hindu religion, one can[not] have freedom of speech. A Hindu must surrender his freedom of speech. He must act according to the Vedas. If the Vedas do not support the actions, instructions must be sought from the Smritis, and if the Smritis fail to provide any such instructions, he must follow in the footsteps of the great men.
He is not supposed to reason. Hence, so long as you are in the Hindu religion, you cannot expect to have freedom of thought.
Lost rights are never regained by appeals to the conscience of the usurpers,—
but by relentless struggle…. Goats are used for sacrificial offerings and not lions.