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Riddles in Hinduism By B.R. Ambedkar

Riddles in Hinduism: The Annotated Critical Selection is one of his many works B.R. Ambedkar did not get to publish in his lifetime. Ambedkar began writing Riddles in Hinduism in the first week of January 1954 and completed it by the end of November 1955.

Ambedkar was a leader in the struggle for Indian independence, the architect of the new nation’s constitution, and the champion of civil rights for the 60 million members of the “untouchable” caste, to which he belonged. He spoke and wrote ceaselessly on behalf of “untouchables,” but his passion for justice was broad: in 1950 he resigned from his position as the country’s first minister of law when Nehru’s cabinet refused to pass the Women’s Rights Bill. Ambedkar was committed to maintaining his independence, and many of the positions he staked out in a long and complex relationship with Gandhi on the future of Hinduism, for example remain central to debate within Indian society.


Now the Brahmins have left no room for doubt, for they have propounded a most mischievous dogma which the Brahmins have spread among the masses, is the dogma of the infallibility of the Vedas. If the Hindu intellect has ceased to grow and if the Hindu civilization and culture has become a stagnant and stinking pool, this dogma must be destroyed root and branch if India is to progress. The Vedas are a worthless set of books. There is no reason either to call them sacred or infallible. The Brahmins have invested it with sanctity and infallibility only because by a later interpolation of what is called the Purusha — Sukta, the Vedas have made them the lords of the Earth. Nobody has had the courage to ask why these worthless books which contain nothing but invocation to tribal Gods to destory the Enemies, loot their property and give it to their followers (have been made sacred and infallible)1. But the time has come when the Hindu mind must be freed from the hold* which the silly ideas propagated by the Brahmins, have on them. Without this liberation India has no future. I have undertaken this task knowing full well what risk* it involves. I am not afraid of the consequences. I shall be happy if I succeed in stirring the masses.


“The Vedas are a worthless set of books. There is no reason either to call them sacred or infallible … The time has come when the Hindu mind must be freed from the hold which the silly ideas propagated by the Brahmans have on them. Without this, the liberation of India has no future”—B.R. Ambedkar

Hinduism claims one billion adherents worldwide. To all those who hold this religion dear, B.R. Ambedkar poses many riddles: Is it even a religion? Who is a Hindu?

Like most of his writings, Riddles in Hinduism remained unpublished during his lifetime. When the state of Maharashtra finally printed it in 1987, the Shiv Sena sought a ban. While the liberals looked away, the Dalit movement circulated copies.

At a time when the state and the Hindu right are painting Ambedkar as a ‘Hindu’ figure, this fierce critique—now with illuminating annotations—shows us how and why Ambedkar had no love for Hinduism.

In his introduction, Kancha Ilaiah tells us why Hinduism is facing its biggest ever challenge from Dalitbahujans. Ambedkar was one, today there are a million Ambedkars.

Riddles in Hinduism PDF

Author(s): Dr.B.R.Ambedkar

Series: Dalit Bahujan Media

Publisher: ambedkar.org, Year: 2010