Re: why did Ambedkar convert to Buddhism and not to Christianity
from the same link!!!! peace, ajay
Kabir was a disciple of Ramananda, the founder of the Bhakti movement. Kabir was a rebel who attacked the caste system and religious divisions and preached a doctrine of loving devotion to the One and Loving God. The influence of the Ramananda-Kabir Bhakti marga (path) continued through much of Ambedkar's life. If Bhakti attracted Ambedkar, so did the Sanskrit language. But Brahmanical arrogance prevented him from learning the language then regarded as the sole preserve of the Brahmans. All of this created in him an uncompromising hostility to Hinduism. In 1948 he called Hindu civilization an "infamy". For him what was defining in the Hindu tradition was not the lofty metaphysics of the Vedanta which identified the individual being with the Supreme but its social doctrines enshrined in law codes such as the Manu Smriti which he ceremonially torched in 1927.(11) Ambedkar had lost his patience with faith in Hinduism for he doubted its ability to change its social thinking and accord human dignity to millions who so pathetically hovered at the fringes of Hindu society. By the 1930's Ambedkar had begun to turn his back on Hinduism with its chaturvarna (four "orders" which Gandhi accepted implicitly) as a determinant in a system of division of social labour turning millions of the panchamas (outcastes) into "invisible" humans. Hinduism had not known genuine Reformation and its Renaissance was much like a rediscovery of a long lost Brahmanical past. The ruling caste hierarchies of the Brahman and intermediate castes (such as the Maratha castes in Maharashtra and Yadavs in northern India) had a vested economic and social interest in keeping the untouchables in their "place". His Western experience had given him a taste for the thrust and parry of rational thought and the power of ideas in bringing about far-reaching social change. Hindu leaders, he felt, were more interested in preserving their political and economic power than in bringing about much-needed change in social thinking and behaviour.(12) The failure of the Hindu hierarchy in meaningfully helping the submerged masses climb out of their state of degredation and despair made Ambedkar pessimistic about the future of the untouchables in Hindu society. At a conference at Yeola (Nasik distinct in Maharashtra) he declared, more in sorrow that anger: "It is an unfortunate fact that I have been born a Hindu; it was not in my hands or change that. But I can say this with utmost gravity and sincerity: I will not die a Hindu".(13) With this he put the Hindus on notice that he was not a pity-mongering supplication of a Choka Mela but a revolt against a faith and its social system that denied human dignity to millions. He had begun a search for a faith that would empower the untouchables to be human beings in their own right.