N.Sudhakar & T. Muthamil Selvan Naga
Ambedkar.In releases ‘Annihilation of caste’ audio book on Babasaheb Ambedkar Jayanti, 2012
The Jat-Pat-Todak Mandal, a Hindu reformist organization, chooses the problem of caste system in India for its annual conference discussion in the year 1936. Mr. Sant Ram, the Secretary of the Jat-Pat-Todak Mandal, on behalf of the Mandal executive committee requests Dr. Ambedkar to be the President of the annual conference and address in detail “Why it is not possible to break Caste without annihilating the religious notions on which it, the Caste system, is founded?” Dr. Ambedkar did not like to be a part of the movement which was carried on by Caste Hindu social reformers, because their attitude towards social reform was so different from him and he found it difficult to pull on with them. Therefore when the Mandal first approached, Dr. Ambedkar declined their invitation to preside.
However, the Mandal was persistent in requesting Dr. Ambedkar to preside the conference and in the end he accepted. The Annual Conference was to be held in May 1936 at Lahore, the headquarters of the Mandal. Dr Ambedkar prepared the address and sent the printed copies to the Mandal in advance, the Mandal after reviewing the address responded back to Ambedkar requesting him to amend certain portions of the address. The Mandal felt, in the copies of the address, Ambedkar has unnecessarily attacked the morality and reasonableness of the Vedas and other religious books of the Hindus, and at length dwelt upon the technical side of Hindu religion, moreover, Ambedkar’s declaration in the address that he had decided to walk out of the fold of the Hindus and that was his last address as a Hindu, the Mandal had serious reservations on this declaration by Ambedkar from the platform of their Mandal. The Mandal announced that in case, Ambedkar insists upon printing the address in toto, without amending the requested portions then the Mandal regrets that Annual conference would not be possible.
To this charge, Ambedkar answered to the Mandal that Mr. Sant Ram when he approached him, to explain how to break caste system? He answered that the real method of breaking up the Caste System was not to bring about inter-caste dinners and inter-caste marriages but to destroy the religious notions on which Caste was founded and to that Mr. Sant Ram in return asked him to explain what he said was a novel point of view in detail in the Presidential address of the Annual Conference. To explain this, Ambedkar attacked the religious notions on which the caste was founded in detail in his address. Ambedkar regretted for the sudden volte face on the part of the Reception Committee which itself requested him to do in detail. Ambedkar declared that he would not alter a comma, allow any censorship over his address to suite the circumstances of the Mandal. He argued that he cannot give up, for the sake of the honour of presiding over the Conference, the liberty which every President must have in the preparation of the address. Further, he argued that he cannot prune his address for the sake of pleasing the Mandal the duty which every President owes to the Conference over which he presides to give it a lead which he thinks right and proper. The issue is one of principle and he felt he must do nothing to compromise it in any way. Finally, Dr. Ambedkar requested the Reception Committee of the Jat-Pat-Todak Mandal to cancel his Presidential Address instead of repeated postponement of the conference sine die. Later, in the same year Ambedkar published the undelivered speech in the form a book titled “Annihilation of Caste” to satisfy the public curiosity.
The book “Annihilation of Caste” was later translated and published by many scholars into various languages like Tamil, Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi, Kannada and Telugu to meet the regional demands. Today, i.e. after 75 years of its first English publication, the views of Ambedkar on “Annihilation of caste” have not reached the ears of the vast illiterate rural masses of the sub-continent, despite being translated into various languages. To fill this void space, we at Ambedkar.In decided to bring all the writings and speeches of Dr.B.R.Ambedkar in an audio format. In this project we made a humble attempt for the first time to record the “Annihilation of caste” speech in Tamil language and the audio record was released subsequently on April 14th 2012 during 121st birth anniversary celebration of Ambedkar at Manimandapam, Chennai. This audio book was welcomed by all Ambedkarites in Tamil Nadu and got sold more than expected. Brother Yakkan, gave voice to “Annihilation of Caste” speech in Tamil. We are thankful to Brother Sasikumar, who has done this marvelous job by arranging materials and management. We are also thankful to Brother Sridhar Kanan, Ramanan, Lemoriyar Kamal and Dr. Selva kumar who helped us to complete this project morally, physically and financially. Presently, we are planning to record the “Annihilation of Caste” speech in English language.
N.Sudhakar and T. Muthamil Selvan Naga are Research Scholars at NCHU, Taiwan.