Commandments of Baba Saheb Ambedkar
All great things in the world were achieved by patient industry and by
undergoing toil and tribulations.
A safe army is better than a safe border.
The call of back to nature means back to nakedness, back to squalor, back to poverty and back to ignorance for the vast mass of people.
Caste System is not merely a division of labour. It is also a division of labourers. It is an hierarchy in which the divisions of labourers are graded one above the other.
Caste has killed public spirit. Caste has destroyed the sense of public charity. Caste has made public opinion impossible. Virtue has become caste?ridden and morality has become caste?bound. There is no sympathy to the deserving. There is no appreciation of the meritorious.
There cannot be a more degrading system of social organisation than the Chaturvarna. It is the system which deadens, paralyses and cripples the people from helpful activity.
Caste in the hands of the orthodox has been a powerful weapon for persecuting the reforms and for killing all reform.
These castes are anti?national. In the first place because they bring about separation in social life. They are anti-national also because they generate jealousy and antipathy between caste and caste.
The Caste system is a system which is infested with the spirit of isolation and in fact it makes isolation of one Caste from another a virtue. There is isolation in the class system. But it does not make isolation virtue nor does it prohibit social intercourse. The class system, it is true produces groups, but they are not akin to Caste groups. The groups in the class system are only non-social while the Castes in the Castes system are in their mutual relations definitively and positively anti-social.
Practically speaking, in a class structure, there is on the one hand, tyranny, vanity, pride, arrogance, greed selfishness and on the other insecurity, poverty, degradation, loss of liberty, self?reliance, independence dignity and self-respect.
The group set?up prevents an individual from acquiring consistency of mind, which is possible only when society has common ideals, common models.
The group set?up leads to stratification of classes. Those who are
masters remain masters and those who are born in slavery remain slaves.
Owners remain owners and workers remain workers. The privileged remain
privileged and the serfs remain serfs.
What divides the brute from man is culture. Culture is not possible for the brute but it is essential for man.
The aim of human society must be to enable every person to lead a life of culture which means the cultivation of the mind as distinguished from the satisfaction of mere physical wants.
While the ultimate goal of a brute's life is reached once his physical
appetites are satisfied, the ultimate goal of a man's existence is not
reached unless and until he has fully cultivated his mind.
Political Democracy rests on four premises, which may be set out in the following terms: (i) The individual is an end in himself. (ii) That the individual has certain inalienable rights, which must be guaranteed to him by the Constitution. (iii) That the individual shall not be required to relinquish any of his constitutional rights as a precondition precedent to the receipt of a privilege. (iv) That the State shall not delegate powers to private persons to govern others.
The soul of Democracy is the doctrine of one man, one value.
Democracy is a form and method of government whereby revolutionary changes in the economic and social life of the people are brought about without bloodshed.
Democracy is not merely a form of Government. It is primarily a mode of associated living of conjoined cominunicated experience. It is essentially an attitude of respect and reverence towards fellowmen.
Democracy is incompatible and inconsistent with isolation and exclusiveness, resulting in the distinction between the privileged and the unprivileged.
Democracy cannot work without friction unless there is fellow?feeling among those who constitute the State.
The first thing required for the successful working of democracy is that there must be no glaring inequalities and there must be neither an oppressed class nor a suppressed class. The second thing required is the existence of opposition to show whether the Govt. is going wrong. The third thing is equality before law and in administration. The fourth is the observance of constitutional morality. The fifth point is the functioning of moral order in society, for moral is taken for granted in the democracy. The sixth thing is the requirement of public conscience.
A democratic Government can remain democratic only if it is worked by
two parties ?a party in power and a party in opposition.
Despotism does not cease to be despotism because it is elective. Nor
does despotism become agreeable because despots belong to our own
In Dhamma there is no place for prayers, pilgrimages, rituals, ceremonies or sacrifices.
Dhamma is righteousness, which means right relations between man and
man in all sphere of life.
The duty must be performed; let the efforts be successful or not; let
the work be appreciated or not. When a man's sincerity of purpose and
capacity are proved even his enemies come to respect him.
Give up the idea that parents give 'Janma' to the child and not destiny (karma). They can mould the destiny of their children by giving them education.
Knowledge is the foundation of a man's life.
Education is as necessary for females as it is for males.
If one s education is detrimental to the welfare of the poor, the educated man is a curse to the society.
Character is more important than education.
ETHICS AND ECONOMICS
Do not believe in fate. Believe in your strength.
Glory to those who devote their time, talents and their all to the annihilation of slavery.
Glory to those who would keep on their struggle for the liberation of
the enslaved in spite of heavy odds, carping humiliations, storms and
dangers till the down?trodden secure their human rights.
Poverty gives rise to sorrow. But removal of poverty does not necessarily give rise to happiness. Not high standard of living but a standard of culture is what gives happiness.
Hero-worship in the sense of expressing our unbounded admiration is one
thing. To obey the hero is a totally different kind of hero?worship. There
is nothing wrong in the former while the latter is no doubt a most
pernicious thing. The former is only man's respect for everything which is
noble and of which the Great Man is only an embodiment. The former is
consistent with respect, but the latter is a sign of debasement.
To the Untouchables, Hinduism is a veritable chamber of horrors. The
iron law of caste, the heartless law of karma and the senseless law of
status by birth are veritable instruments of torture, which Hinduism has
forged against the Untouchables.
HINDUISM AND BUDDHISM
Unlike Hinduism, Buddhism lays no emphasis on the attainment of heaven.
Nor it is necessary. To be happy in the present life, one should practice
the ethics of morality, non?violence (ahimsa), equality and universal
brotherhood. This is an eternal truth taught by the Buddha.
It is quite wrong to hold that man is not a factor in the making of history. Man is necessary to rub two pieces of flint to make fire.
Man is a factor in the making of history and the environmental forces,
whether impersonal or social, if they are, they are the first and not the
HISTORY OF INDIA
There is only one period in Indian history, which is a period of freedom, greatness and glory. This is the period of Maurya Empire. At all other times, the country suffered from defeat and darkness.
It must be recognized that there has never been such as a common Indian
culture, that historically there have been three Indias, Brahminic India,
Buddhist India and Hindu India, each with its own culture. Secondly, it
must be recognized that the history of India before the Muslim invasions
is the history of a mortal conflict between Brahmanism and Buddhism. Any
one who does not recognize these two facts will never to able to write a
true history of India, a history which will disclose the meaning and
purposes running through it.
Men are mortal. So are ideas. An idea needs propagation as much as a plant needs watering. Both will otherwise wither and die.
INDIANS FIRST AND LAST
One language can unite people. Two languages are sure to divide people. This is an inexorable law.
Culture is conserved by language.
LAW AND FRATERNITY
The first kind of liberty is of course fundamental. Not only fundamental, it is also most essential. About its value, there can be no manner of doubt. The second kind of liberty, which may be called freedom of opinion, is important for many reasons. It is a necessary condition of all progress: intellectual, moral, political and social. Where it does not exist the status?quo becomes stereotyped and all originality even the most necessary is discouraged. Liberty of action means doing what one likes to do. It is not enough that liberty of action should be formal. It must be real. So understood, liberty of action means effective power to do specific things. There is no freedom where they're also no means of taking advantage of it. Real liberty of action exists only where exploitation has been annihilated, where no suppression of one class by another exists, where there is no unemployment, no poverty and where a person is free from the fear of losing his job, his home, and his food as a consequence of his action.
Political liberty consists in the right of the individual to share in
the framing of laws and in the making and unmaking of governments.
LIBERTY, EQUALITY, FRATERNITY
LOVE AND HATRED
Machinery and modern civilization are indispensable for emancipating man from leading the life of a brute, and for providing him with leisure and making a life of culture possible.
The slogan of a democratic society must be machinery and more
machinery, civilization and more civilization.
For inspiration and enthusiasm one must have a healthy and sound mind. Man derives inspiration if his mind is free to develop.
The world cannot be reformed except by the reformation of the mind of
the man, and the mind of the world.
The national feeling is a feeling of a corporate sentiment of oneness which makes those who are charged with it feel that they are kith and kin.
Man must eat to live and he should live and work for the well being of the society.
Dragging on life some?how or to live like a crow for a thousand years is not the only way and worthy way in this world. Life can be ennobled by sacrificing it for a lasting good such as the cause of truth, a vow, honour or country.
Better to die in the prime of youth for a great cause than to live like
an oak and do nothing.
There will be no difference between parents and animals if they will not desire to see their children in a better position than their own.
PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE
PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGION
Political power is the most precious thing in the life of a community
especially if its position is constantly being challenged and the
community is required to maintain it by meeting challenge. Political power
is the only means by which it can sustain its position.
The poor are made to suffer wants, privations and humiliations not because it was pre?ordained by the sins committed in their previous births, but because of the overpowering tyranny and treachery of those who are above them.
The sooner the poor remove the foolish belief that their miseries were pre?ordained, the better.
The thought that poverty is an inevitability and is inborn and
inseparable is entirely erroneous.
POWER AND WISDOM
The world owes much to rebels who would dare to argue in the face of pontiff and insist that he is not infallible.
Man cannot live by bread alone. He has a mind which needs food for thought. Religion instils hope in man and drives him to activity.
Religion is for man and not man for religion.
Religion and slavery are incompatible.
Religion in the sense of morality must remain the governing principle in every society.
Religion if it is to function must be in accord with reason which is merely another name for science.
Religion must recognise the fundamental tenets of liberty, equality and fraternity. Unless a religion recognises these three fundamental principles of social life, religion will be doomed.
Religion must not sanctify or ennoble poverty.
RELIGION AND MORALITY
The content of religion consists of God, soul, prayers, worship, rituals, ceremonies and sacrifices.
Morality comes in only wherein man comes in relation to man.
Morality comes in into religion as a side wind to maintain peace and order.
Be good to your neighbour because you are both children of god. That is the argument of religion.
Every religion preaches morality but morality is not the root of
religion. It is a wagon attached to it. It is attached and detached, as
the occasion requires. The action of morality in the functioning of
religion is therefore, casual and occasional.
The conception of a secular state is derived from the liberal democratic tradition of the west. No institution, which is maintained wholly out of state funds, shall be used for the purpose of religious instruction irrespective of the question whether the religious instruction is given by the state or by any other body.
It (secular state) does not mean that we shall not take into
consideration the religious sentiments of the people. All that a secular
state means is that this Parliament shall not be competent to impose any
particular religion upon the rest of the people. That is the only
limitation that the Constitution recognises.
It is not enough that a people are numerically in majority. They must be always watchful, strong, well?educated and self?respecting to attain and maintain success.
Whatever might be one's ideal, either of national progress or of
self?development, one should patiently exert oneself to reach it.
Nothing is more disgraceful for a brave man than to live a life devoid of self-respect and without love for the country.
Learn to live in this world with self-respect.
No race can be raised by destroying its self-respect.
A democratic form of Government presupposes a democratic form of
society. The formal framework of democracy is of no value and would indeed
be misfit if there were no social democracy. The politicians never
realised that democracy was not a form of government; it was essentially a
form of society. It may not be necessary for a democratic society to be
marked by unity, by community of purpose, by loyalty to public ends and by
mutuality of sympathy. But it does unmistakably involve two things. The
first is an attitude of mind, an attitude of respect and equality towards
their fellows. The second is a social organisation free from rigid social
The society must have either the sanction of law or the sanction of morality to hold it together. Without either, society is sure to go to pieces.
More than political or religious, man is a social animal. He may not
have, need not have religion; he may not have needed not have politics. He
must have society; he cannot do without society.
To a slave, his master may be better or worse. But there cannot be a
good master. A good man cannot be a master and a master cannot be a good
There is no honour in mere survival. What matters is the plane of
survival. One can survive by unconditional surrender. One can survive by
beating a cowardly retreat and one can survive by fighting.
When there was no way left for constitutional methods for achieving economic and social objectives, there was some justification for unconstitutional methods for achieving economic and social objectives. But where constitutional methods are open there can be no justification for these unconstitutional methods. These methods are nothing but the Grammar of Anarchy.
Where virtue is in danger, do not avoid fighting, do not be mealy mouthed.