10 Best Works by Dr. BR Ambedkar That Should Be On Your Reading List

Dr. BR Ambedkar

Who was Dr. BR Ambedkar?

Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (BR Ambedkar) was born on April 14, 1891, in Mhow, India. He was a Dalit and faced discrimination throughout his life. Despite this, he went on to become a lawyer, economist, politician, and social reformer. He is considered one of the most important figures in Indian history, and his work has profoundly impacted Indian society.

Ambedkar’s early life was marked by poverty and discrimination. He was denied admission to many schools because of his caste, and he was often subjected to humiliation and abuse. Despite these challenges, Ambedkar excelled in his studies. He received a scholarship to study in the United States, where he earned a doctorate in economics from Columbia University. He then went on to study law at the London School of Economics.

After returning to India, Ambedkar became a leading advocate for the rights of Dalits. He founded the All India Scheduled Castes Federation, which fought for social and economic equality for Dalits. He also served as the Law Minister of India from 1947 to 1951. During his time as Law Minister, Ambedkar played a key role in drafting the Indian Constitution. He ensured that the Constitution included provisions that protected the rights of Dalits and other marginalized groups.

Let’s talk about his 10 best works.

10. The Annihilation of Caste [1936]

The Annihilation of Caste is possibly Ambedkar’s most famous work. In this groundbreaking book, Ambedkar presents a scathing critique of the caste system, emphasizing the need for its complete eradication to achieve social equality and justice. He offers radical solutions and challenges the deep-rooted prejudices and discriminatory practices perpetuated by the caste system.

Dr BR Ambedkar’s book showcases immense strength in its powerful critique of the caste system, fearlessly exposing its injustices and the resulting social inequalities. The work also proposes radical solutions, encouraging the annihilation of caste-based divisions. However, it faced vehement opposition and criticism from traditionalists who were resistant to change and unwilling to challenge the prevailing caste hierarchy. Despite the controversies surrounding the book, it received critical acclaim from progressive thinkers and intellectuals who recognized its significance in igniting debates on caste discrimination and championing the cause of social justice.

“The Annihilation of Caste” is one of the most important books in Indian literature. Although it faced opposition and its ideas were initially met with resistance, its legacy remains indelible in shaping the discourse around caste in India. It sparked intellectual and social movements, provoking discussions on caste-based discrimination and the urgent need for its eradication. The book continues to inspire scholars, activists, and individuals fighting for equality and justice.

9. The Buddha and His Dhamma [1957]

The Buddha and His Dhamma is a study of the life and teachings of the Buddha. Ambedkar was a Buddhist and believed that the Buddha’s teachings offered a way to overcome caste discrimination.

“The Buddha and His Dhamma” was published in 1957. In this work, Dr. BR Ambedkar explores the life and teachings of Gautama Buddha, delving into the profound philosophy of Buddhism. He presents the teachings in a manner accessible to a wide audience, highlighting the principles of compassion, equality, and self-liberation taught by the Buddha.

The book’s strength lies in Ambedkar’s ability to make the complex teachings of Buddhism accessible to a broader readership, emphasizing its core principles of compassion and equality. However, some critics argue that Ambedkar’s interpretations deviate from traditional Buddhist doctrines, leading to mixed opinions about the book’s adherence to orthodox Buddhist scholarship. Nevertheless, “The Buddha and His Dhamma” received considerable recognition for its insights into Buddhist philosophy and its potential for social transformation.

8. What Gandhi and Nehru Have Done to the Untouchables [1945]

What Gandhi and Nehru Have Done to the Untouchables is a critique of the policies of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru toward the Dalits, or Untouchables. Ambedkar argued that these leaders had not done enough to improve the lives of the untouchables.

“What Gandhi and Nehru Have Done to the Untouchables” was published in 1945 by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. Ambedkar challenges the prevailing narratives in this book and highlights the importance of inclusive policies and equal rights for marginalized communities. He offers a nuanced analysis of their impact and limitations, shedding light on areas where they fell short of achieving true equality for the untouchables.

While acknowledging Gandhi’s and Nehru’s contributions, Ambedkar also highlights the limitations of their initiatives. The book invites discussions and debates around the effectiveness of social reform efforts, shedding light on the need for inclusive policies and the realization of equal rights for marginalized communities.

The book initiated debates and discussions around the effectiveness of their initiatives and policies. It contributed to the ongoing discourse on social justice and equality, emphasizing the need for inclusive measures and equal rights for marginalized communities. Ambedkar’s analysis sheds light on the shortcomings of their initiatives and emphasizes the importance of inclusive policies and equal rights. The book continues to generate discussions on social reform and serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for equality and justice.

7. Against the Madness of Manu [1953]

“Against the Madness of Manu” was published in 1953 by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. The book presents a vehement critique of Manusmriti, an ancient Hindu text that upholds the discriminatory caste system. Ambedkar challenges the teachings of Manu and advocates for its rejection to establish a just and egalitarian society.

The book’s strength lies in Ambedkar’s rigorous critique of Manusmriti, exposing its flaws and highlighting the injustices perpetuated by the caste system. He argues for social reform and equal treatment for all individuals. Some critics argue that the book’s focus solely on Manusmriti neglects other religious texts and historical factors contributing to caste-based discrimination. Additionally, Ambedkar’s strong opposition to traditional Hindu practices has drawn criticism.

However, “Against the Madness of Manu” received critical acclaim for its uncompromising stance against the caste system. Scholars, activists, and marginalized communities praised the book for challenging deeply entrenched social norms. However, it also faced backlash from conservative factions that resisted questioning traditional Hindu scriptures.

While it garnered acclaim for challenging social norms, it faced criticism for its exclusive focus on Manusmriti and opposition to traditional Hindu practices. Nevertheless, the book made a significant impact in raising awareness about the need for a just and egalitarian society.

6. Buddha or Karl Marx [1957]

Buddha or Karl Marx is a comparison of the teachings of the Buddha and Karl Marx. Ambedkar argued that the Buddha’s teachings were more relevant to the problems of the modern world than Marx’s teachings.

“Buddha or Karl Marx” was published in 1957. Dr. BR Ambedkar examines their ideologies, their relevance to India’s social context, and the potential for their ideas to address the challenges faced by marginalized communities.

Ambedkar critically examines the applicability of their ideas to the Indian social context and discusses their potential to uplift marginalized communities. He delves into their teachings, drawing parallels and contrasting their views on society, equality, and liberation. However, some critics argue that Ambedkar’s comparison oversimplifies the complexities of these thinkers’ philosophies and fails to address other important perspectives. Overall, the book invites readers to engage in a thoughtful analysis of these ideologies and their relevance to social justice.

“Buddha or Karl Marx” generated significant interest and debate among scholars, intellectuals, and activists. It contributed to the ongoing discourse on social and economic systems, highlighting the potential of both Buddha’s teachings and Marx’s ideas for addressing social inequality. The book continues to inspire critical thinking and discussions on the intersection of philosophy, social justice, and political ideologies.

Ambedkar’s exploration of these influential thinkers encourages readers to critically examine and reevaluate existing systems for the betterment of marginalized communities.

Against the Madness of Manu [1953]
Dr BR Ambedkar & Ramabai Ambedkar – The Satyashodhak

5. Thoughts on Pakistan [1941]

Thoughts on Pakistan is a collection of essays on the partition of India. It was published in 1941 by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. The book delves into the complex issue of the demand for a separate Muslim state in India and critically analyzes the implications and potential consequences. Ambedkar explores the historical context, challenges the assumptions underlying the demand, and presents his perspective on the rights and interests of minority communities.

He offers a nuanced critique, questioning the viability of the idea and its potential implications for religious and social harmony. However, some critics argue that Ambedkar’s views overlooked the political aspirations and concerns of the Muslim community.

“Thoughts on Pakistan” offered a unique perspective on the partition debate and highlighted the importance of minority rights and social justice. The book contributed to shaping the discourse surrounding the partition of India and continues to be regarded as a seminal work on the subject.

“Thoughts on Pakistan” presents Ambedkar’s insightful analysis of the demand for a separate Muslim state in India. The book offers a critical examination of the implications and consequences of the partition, emphasizing the need to address the rights and interests of marginalized communities. 

4. Who Are Untouchables or Shudras? [1948]

This is a study of the history and status of the untouchables in India. Ambedkar argued that the untouchables are a distinct social group that has been discriminated against for centuries.

“Who Are Untouchables or Shudras?” was published in 1948 by Dr. BR Ambedkar. The book delves into the historical and sociological aspects of the caste system in India, specifically focusing on the identities and experiences of untouchables and Shudras. Ambedkar explores the origins of untouchability, challenges prevailing misconceptions, and advocates for the upliftment and rights of these marginalized communities.

He sheds light on the historical context, challenges prevailing stereotypes, and highlights the systematic oppression faced by untouchables and Shudras. Ambedkar also presents a compelling argument for their social, economic, and political empowerment. Some critics contend that the book oversimplifies the complexities of caste dynamics and overlooks regional variations. However, it remains groundbreaking in raising awareness about caste discrimination and advocating for social justice.

The book played a crucial role in creating awareness about the plight of untouchables and shudras, promoting social reform, and influencing policies aimed at their upliftment. It received acclaim from scholars, activists, and marginalized communities, solidifying Ambedkar’s reputation as a prominent advocate for social justice.

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3. Riddles in Hinduism [1957]

Riddles in Hinduism is a collection of essays on Hindu philosophy and religion. It was published in 1957. The book critically examines various aspects of Hinduism, including its scriptures, gods, rituals, and social practices. Ambedkar raises thought-provoking questions and challenges the prevailing narratives and dogmas, aiming to foster a rational understanding of Hinduism.

In the book, Ambedkar performs an incisive analysis of Hinduism, questioning its contradictions, myths, and social inequalities. He challenges the dominant interpretations and highlights the inconsistencies between Hindu scriptures and their actual implementation. Critics argue that the book’s tone is confrontational and that it lacks a nuanced understanding of the cultural and spiritual dimensions of Hinduism. However, it sparked important debates and compelled a critical examination of Hindu beliefs and practices.

It challenged the orthodox interpretations of Hinduism and invited critical introspection within the Hindu community. The book rekindled discussion on the discourse surrounding Hinduism, triggering discussions on social reform, caste inequalities, and religious practices. While facing backlash from some quarters, it also garnered praise for its thought-provoking analysis.

The book raises important questions about the scriptures, rituals, and social practices, challenging prevailing narratives and advocating for rational understanding. 

2. Problems of Rupee: Its Origin and Solution [1923]

Problems of Rupee: Its Origin and Solution is a study of the Indian rupee. Ambedkar argued that the rupee was overvalued and that this was causing economic problems in India.

“Problems of Rupee: Its Origin and Solution” was published in 1923 by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. The book critically examines the issues plaguing the Indian currency system and explores the historical, economic, and political factors that have contributed to the problems. Ambedkar proposes solutions for stabilizing and reforming the Indian rupee, emphasizing the importance of economic independence and prudent monetary policies.

He comprehensively analyzes the factors impacting the Indian rupee and offers practical solutions for addressing the issues. Some critics argue that the book’s focus on monetary aspects overlooks the broader socioeconomic context. However, it remains a significant contribution to the discourse on Indian economics and monetary policy.

“Problems of Rupee: Its Origin and Solution” is a seminal work by Ambedkar addressing the challenges faced by the Indian currency system. The book looks into the historical and economic factors impacting the Indian rupee and proposes practical solutions for its stabilization. Ambedkar’s insights remain relevant to this day, contributing to ongoing efforts for economic stability and development in India.

1. The Evolution of Hindu Law [1952]

The Evolution of Hindu Law is a book by Dr. BR Ambedkar that traces the development of Hindu law from its origins to the present day. The book argues that Hindu law is a product of social and economic conditions and that it has evolved in response to changing needs. Ambedkar also criticizes Hindu law for its discriminatory nature and calls for its reform.

“The Evolution of Hindu Law” was published in 1952 by Dr. BR Ambedkar. The book explores the historical development and evolution of Hindu law, examining its origins, principles, and changes over time. Ambedkar delves into the social and cultural factors that shaped Hindu legal practices, shedding light on the complexities of this legal system.

Ambedkar’s work offers valuable insights into the complexities and contradictions of Hindu legal practices. Some critics argue that the book focuses primarily on historical analysis and lacks a more contemporary examination of Hindu law. However, it remains a significant contribution to studying Hindu legal traditions.

“The Evolution of Hindu Law” by Dr. BR Ambedkar is a scholarly work that provides a comprehensive analysis of the historical development and evolution of Hindu law. It has made a significant impact on legal studies and contributed to a deeper understanding of Hindu legal traditions. Ambedkar’s work remains relevant for scholars and researchers interested in studying Hindu law and its implications in contemporary times.

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Conclusion – Ambedkar as a writer

Dr. BR Ambedkar was a prolific writer. He wrote on various topics, including caste, religion, politics, and economics. His writings were instrumental in raising awareness about the plight of Dalits and other marginalized groups. They also helped to shape the course of Indian history.

Ambedkar was influenced by a number of thinkers, including Mahatma Gandhi, Karl Marx, and the Buddha. He drew on their ideas to develop his unique philosophy. Ambedkar believed that caste was a social evil that must be abolished. He also argued that Hinduism was a religion used to justify caste discrimination. He eventually converted to Buddhism, which he believed offered a more egalitarian way of life.

Ambedkar’s writings are essential for anyone who wants to understand Indian history and the caste politics that govern its socio-economic society. They are also a valuable resource for anyone interested in fighting for social justice.

“Educate, Agitate, Organize” – Dr. BR Ambedkar



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