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The philosophy of B R Ambedkar | The philosophical difference between M. K. Gandhi and B. R. Ambedkar

 Table of Contents:

  • About B R Ambedkar
  • Philosophy of Dr. Ambedkar
  • Ambedkar views on Varna system
  • Bahishkrit Hitkarni Sabha
  • The philosophical difference between M. K. Gandhi and B. R. Ambedkar
  • Ambedkar's views of colonial rule
  • Ambedkar's views on women
  • Ambedkar's views on the economy
  • Ambedkar's views on the partition of India

About B R Ambedkar:

B. R. Ambedkar, full name Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, was a prominent Indian jurist, social reformer, and politician. He was born on April 14, 1891, in a Dalit (formerly known as "untouchable") family. 

Here are some key points about BR Ambedkar:

Architect of the Indian Constitution: 

Ambedkar played a pivotal role in drafting the Constitution of India, which was adopted in 1950. He served as the chairman of the drafting committee and is often referred to as the "Father of the Indian Constitution."

Social Reformer: 

He dedicated his life to fighting against social discrimination, especially the caste system prevalent in India. He advocated for the rights and welfare of Dalits and other marginalized communities.

Educational Achievements: 

Ambedkar was a highly educated individual. He earned multiple degrees, including a doctorate in economics from the University of London, and studied at the London School of Economics and Columbia University in the United States.

Political Career:

He was a prominent leader and founding member of the Scheduled Castes Federation, which later became the Republican Party of India. He served as India's first Law Minister in the post-independence government.

Reservation System: 

Ambedkar played a crucial role in the inclusion of affirmative action provisions in the Indian Constitution to uplift the socially and economically disadvantaged. This led to the reservation system, which reserved seats in education and government jobs for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Conversion to Buddhism: 

In 1956, Ambedkar converted to Buddhism along with a large number of his followers. This conversion was a symbolic rejection of the caste system and its inequalities.


B. R. Ambedkar's contributions to India's social and political landscape are immense. He is an iconic figure in the fight for social justice and equality, and his ideas continue to influence Indian society.


He passed away on December 6, 1956, but his legacy lives on, and his birthday, April 14th, is celebrated as Ambedkar Jayanti in India.

Philosophy of B R Ambedkar:

B. R. Ambedkar had a well-defined and multifaceted philosophy that encompassed various aspects of social, political, and economic life in India.

Here are some key elements of his philosophy:

Social Justice and social democracy: 

Ambedkar's central philosophical focus was on social justice. He opposed the caste system, which he saw as a deeply oppressive and unjust social hierarchy. He believed in the equality of all individuals, regardless of their caste or social background.

Social democracy can be established by ensuring liberty, equality, and fraternity. It is not a separate entity, all three are important. If required, police should enforce them to achieve social democracy.

Economic Equality: 

Economic disparities were another concern for Ambedkar. He believed that economic empowerment was integral to achieving social justice. He advocated for land reforms and economic policies that would benefit the disadvantaged.

Political Democracy: 

He saw political democracy as a means to achieve social and economic democracy. He believed that a truly democratic India could only be realized when the principles of social justice and equality were firmly established.

Use the constitutional tools to achieve our social and economic objectives. No place for Gandhian philosophy such as civil disobedience, non-cooperation, and  Satyagraha in democracy as it spreads anarchy.

Annihilation of Caste: 

Ambedkar's famous essay "Annihilation of Caste" called for the complete dismantling of the caste system. He argued that caste-based discrimination and untouchability must be eradicated for India to achieve true democracy and social equality.

Education and Empowerment: 

He believed that education was the most potent tool for the empowerment of marginalized communities, particularly Dalits. He emphasized the importance of education in enabling individuals to break free from the cycle of poverty and oppression.


Ambedkar's conversion to Buddhism was not just a religious act; it was a philosophical and political statement. He saw Buddhism as a religion that offered equality and rejected the caste system, making it a path for Dalits to escape discrimination.

Political Rights: 

Ambedkar advocated for political rights and representation for marginalized communities. He played a significant role in ensuring that the Indian Constitution included provisions for affirmative action, such as reservations, to uplift Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Human Rights: 

Ambedkar was a strong advocate for human rights, not only in the context of caste-based discrimination but also in the broader sense. He championed the idea that every individual had inherent rights and dignity.

In summary, B. R. Ambedkar's philosophy revolved around the principles of social justice, equality, education, fraternity, and empowerment. He dedicated his life to challenging the caste system and advocating for the rights and dignity of marginalized communities in India, leaving a lasting impact on the nation's social and political landscape.

Ambedkar views on Varna system:

B. R. Ambedkar held strong and critical views on the Varna system, which is a part of the broader caste system in India. 

He believed that the caste system was equal to Hindu imperialism. He believed in no god, no rituals, no permanent entity.

His views on the Varna system can be summarized as follows:

Rejection of the Varna System: 

Ambedkar rejected the Varna system, which divides society into four traditional varnas or classes: Brahmins (priests and scholars), Kshatriyas (warriors and rulers), Vaishyas (merchants and traders), and Shudras (laborers and servants). He argued that this system had been used to justify and perpetuate the caste system, leading to severe social discrimination and inequality.

He believed that the Varna system provided the ideological foundation for caste-based discrimination.

Ambedkar's famous essay "Annihilation of Caste" called for the complete destruction of the caste system, including the Varna system. He argued that the Varna system had no place in a modern, democratic, and egalitarian society and needed to be replaced with a system of equality and social justice.

Bahishkrit Hitkarni Sabha:

The "Bahishkrit Hitakarini Sabha" was a significant organization founded by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar in 1924. The name "Bahishkrit Hitakarini" can be roughly translated to "the organization for the welfare of the excommunicated" or "Depressed Classes Welfare Association." This organization was instrumental in advocating for the rights and welfare of the Dalit community, who were historically marginalized and subjected to social discrimination in India.

Key points about the Bahishkrit Hitakarini Sabha include:

Founding and Purpose: 

Dr. Ambedkar established this organization with the primary aim of addressing the social, educational, and political issues faced by the untouchables or Dalits. He was deeply concerned about their social and economic plight and sought to uplift them through organized efforts.

Social Reform: 

The Sabha played a pivotal role in promoting social reforms. It worked to challenge and break down caste-based prejudices and discrimination by organizing campaigns, educating Dalits, and advocating for their rights.

Advocacy for Reservations: 

The Sabha advocated for reservations in education and government jobs as a means to address the historical disadvantages faced by Dalits. This demand later became a crucial aspect of the Indian Constitution, thanks in part to Dr. Ambedkar's efforts.

The philosophical difference between M. K. Gandhi and B. R. Ambedkar:

Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. B. R. Ambedkar were two influential figures in India's struggle for independence and social reform. They had distinct philosophical differences on various issues, including their approaches to social justice, political strategies, and views on religion. 

Here are some of the key philosophical differences between them:

Approach to Social Justice:

Gandhi: Gandhi believed in the idea of "Harijan," meaning "children of God," to refer to the Dalits or untouchables. He advocated for their upliftment through moral and social reform, encouraging upper-caste Hindus to change their attitudes and practices towards the untouchables.

Ambedkar: Ambedkar, on the other hand, rejected the term "Harijan" as patronizing and argued for a more radical approach. He believed that untouchables needed political and economic empowerment, which could only be achieved through reservations and political representation.

Means of Struggle:

Gandhi: Gandhi was known for his philosophy of non-violence (Satyagraha) and civil disobedience. He believed in peaceful protest, fasting, and moral persuasion as tools for social and political change.

Ambedkar: Ambedkar, while not advocating violence, believed that Dalits needed to assert themselves politically and demand their rights forcefully. He believed the constitutional way of demanding rights is the best way, he criticized the Gandhian way of demanding things like fasting and civil disobedience as they spread anarchy. 


Gandhi: Gandhi was deeply religious and believed in the fusion of politics and spirituality. He saw religion as an essential aspect of public life and advocated for interfaith harmony.

Ambedkar: Ambedkar, although born a Hindu, converted to Buddhism and encouraged Dalits to do the same. He viewed Buddhism as a path to escape the caste system and embraced it for its principles of equality and non-discrimination.

Political Strategies:

Gandhi: Gandhi focused on achieving independence from British colonial rule first and believed that social reform should follow. He was willing to negotiate with the British to achieve political ends.

Ambedkar: Ambedkar believed that social and political reform should go hand in hand. He insisted on safeguards and rights for Dalits in the political sphere before engaging in talks about independence.

Views on Caste System:

Gandhi: While critical of the caste system, Gandhi believed it could be reformed from within Hinduism. He aimed to reform the mindset of caste Hindus.

Ambedkar: Ambedkar saw the caste system as inherently oppressive and sought its complete annihilation. He viewed the creation of a separate Dalit identity as a means to escape caste-based discrimination.

Ambedkar's views of colonial rule :

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar had complex and evolving views on colonial rule in India. He was neutral about colonial rules. He believed that he had limited energy and could not fight with multiple fronts, he devoted his energy to the upliftment of the Dalit class.

He believed Congress is feudal lords + urban capitalists that bargain with colonial rulers for their share of power.

Caste systems= Hindu imperialism.

His perspective on colonialism can be understood through different phases of his life and political thought:

Early Life and Education: 

During his early years, Ambedkar benefited from British colonial rule in India, as it provided opportunities for education and access to government jobs for Dalits and other marginalized communities. He recognized the value of education and used his own educational achievements to advocate for social reform and the rights of the oppressed.

Political Engagement: 

As he became more politically active, Ambedkar started to criticize certain aspects of British colonial rule. He believed that the colonial administration had not done enough to address the social injustices of the caste system. He also pointed out instances where British officials and policies perpetuated caste-based discrimination.

Advocacy for Dalit Rights: 

Ambedkar's focus on Dalit rights led him to demand separate electorates for Dalits during the Round Table Conferences in the 1930s. He believed that separate electorates were necessary to ensure political representation for marginalized communities in a society where they faced severe discrimination.

Constitutionalism and Independence: 

Despite his reservations about certain aspects of British rule, Ambedkar actively participated in the process of drafting the Indian Constitution. He saw this as an opportunity to lay the foundation for a more just and equal post-colonial India. His role as the chairman of the drafting committee of the Indian Constitution was pivotal in shaping its provisions for social justice and affirmative action.

Ambedkar views on women :

Ambedkar believed that women were the most oppressed among all. In women, Dalit labor women are most exploited. So, he believed that social revolution must always begin from the standpoint of the most oppressed, which means social welfare should be based on women's empowerment.

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar had nuanced views on women's rights and gender equality, which evolved over time. 

His views can be summarized as follows:

Early Years: 

In his early years, Ambedkar was influenced by traditional Hindu societal norms and practices, which often relegated women to subordinate roles. However, his experiences and education led him to question these norms and advocate for social reform.

Advocacy for Women's Education: 

Ambedkar recognized the importance of education for women's empowerment. He believed that education would not only uplift individuals but also lead to broader social transformation. He emphasized the need for women's education as a means to combat ignorance and superstition.

Women's Participation in Social and Political Movements: 

Ambedkar encouraged the active participation of women in social and political movements. He believed that women's involvement was crucial for achieving social justice and political reform. His wife, Ramabai Ambedkar, was a prominent figure in the Dalit movement and a source of inspiration for many women.

Legal Reforms: 

Ambedkar, as the principal architect of the Indian Constitution, ensured that it included provisions for gender equality and women's rights. The Constitution enshrined principles of gender justice, equal pay for equal work, and equal access to opportunities.

Critique of Traditional Hindu Practices: 

Ambedkar was critical of certain traditional Hindu practices that discriminated against women, such as the caste system and practices like child marriage and dowry. He advocated for reforms in Hindu personal laws to protect women's rights.

Role of Women in the Dalit Movement: 

Ambedkar recognized the significant contributions of women to the Dalit movement. He believed that women were essential allies in the struggle against social discrimination and untouchability.

Ambedkar views on the economy:

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar had specific views on economic issues, particularly with regard to the economic well-being of marginalized and oppressed communities in India. He believed capitalism and Brahmanism are the twin face of exploitation.

His views on the economy can be summarized as follows:

Economic Equality: 

Ambedkar emphasized the importance of economic equality as a means to achieve social justice. He believed that addressing economic disparities was crucial in the fight against caste-based discrimination and oppression.

Land Reforms: 

Ambedkar advocated for land reforms as a means to empower Dalits and other marginalized communities. He saw land ownership as a source of economic independence and social dignity. He believed that land redistribution could uplift the economically disadvantaged.

Industrialization and Urbanization: 

Ambedkar recognized the significance of industrialization and urbanization in modernizing India's economy. He believed that industrialization would create job opportunities and improve the economic prospects of the marginalized.

Reservations in Economic Spheres: 

Similar to his advocacy for reservations in education and government jobs, Ambedkar also supported reservations in economic activities, such as business and trade, to promote economic inclusion for Dalits.

Labour Rights: 

Ambedkar was a strong advocate for labor rights. He believed that ensuring fair wages, safe working conditions, and job security for laborers, particularly in industries where Dalits were concentrated, was crucial for their economic well-being.

Cooperative Movements: 

He encouraged the establishment of cooperative societies among Dalits to improve their economic status. Cooperative farming and credit societies were seen as ways for marginalized communities to pool their resources and collectively improve their economic prospects.

Industrialization of Agriculture: 

Ambedkar recognized the need to modernize agriculture through mechanization and improved farming techniques to increase agricultural productivity and reduce poverty among rural communities, including Dalits.

Ambedkar views on the partition of India:

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar had mixed views on the partition of India in 1947, which led to the creation of India and Pakistan as separate nations. 

His views evolved over time and can be understood in the following way:

Initial Opposition to Partition: 

In the early stages of discussions about the partition of India, Ambedkar was initially opposed to the idea. He argued that partition would not address the fundamental issue of caste-based discrimination and the social inequalities faced by marginalized communities like the Dalits. His primary concern was the social and political rights of Dalits within a united India.

Support for Separate Electorates: 

Ambedkar believed that the interests of marginalized communities, particularly the Dalits, would be better served if they had separate electorates that guaranteed them political representation. He felt that a unified India with a strong system of separate electorates would be more beneficial for Dalits than partition.

Change of Stance: 

However, as the political landscape evolved and negotiations surrounding partition progressed, Ambedkar's views started to change. He became increasingly concerned about the potential dominance of the Hindu majority in an independent India, which could lead to the continued marginalization and oppression of Dalits.

Advocacy for Reserved Constituencies: 

As a member of the drafting committee of the Indian Constitution, Ambedkar played a key role in advocating for reserved constituencies (seats) for Scheduled Castes (Dalits) in legislatures at both the national and state levels. This provision was eventually included in the Constitution, ensuring political representation for Dalits.

Acceptance of Partition: 

By the time the partition of India became inevitable, Ambedkar came to accept it as a reality. He saw the creation of Pakistan as an opportunity for Muslims to have their own nation and make their political decisions independently. In this context, his focus shifted toward ensuring the rights and security of Dalits in the newly formed India.

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