Commandments of Baba Saheb Ambedkar

Nothing valuable in this world is achieved except by great efforts.

All great things in the world were achieved by patient industry and by undergoing toil and tribulations.

Ahimsa Permo Dharma is an extreme Doctrine. It is a Jaina Doctrine. It is not Buddhist Doctrine. Buddha meant to make a distinction between 'will to kill' and 'need to kill'. What he banned was killing where there was nothing but the will to kill. Buddha made a distinction between principle and Rule. He did not make Ahimsa a matter of Rule. He enunciated it as a matter of \Principle or way of life. A Principle leaves you freedom to act. A rule does not. Rule either breaks you or you break the rule.

One should always cherish some ambition to do something in the world. They alone rise who strive.

In anarchy and dictatorship, liberty is lost.

Appeasement means buying off the aggressor by conniving at his acts of murder, arson and loot against innocent victims of his displeasure.
Appeasement sets no limits to the demands and aspirations of the aggressor.

The ultimate guarantee of the independence of a country is a safe army - an army on which you can rely to fight for the country at all times and in any eventuality.

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.

I prefer Buddhism because it gives three principles in combination, which no other religion does. Buddhism teaches Prajna (understanding as against superstition and supernaturalism), Karuna (love), and Samata (equality). This is what man wants for a good and happy life.

Even though Buddhism is almost extinct in India, yet it has given birth to a culture, which is far better and richer than the Brahminic culture. When the question of the National Flag and the National Emblem was being considered by the Constituent Assembly we could not find any suitable symbol from the Brahminic culture. Ultimately, the Buddhist culture came to our rescue and we accepted the Wheel of Law (Dhamma - Chakra) as the National Symbol.

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.

I feel that the Constitution is workable; it is flexible and it is strong enough to hold the country together both in peacetime and in wartime. Indeed, if I may say so, if things go wrong under the new constitution the reason will not be that we had a bad Constitution. What we will have to say is that Man was vile.

The secret of freedom is courage and courage is born in combination of individuals into a party.

It is true that man shares the constitution and functions of animals, nutritive, reproductive etc. But these are not distinctively human functions. The distinctively human function is reason, the purpose of which is to enable man to observe, meditate, cogitate, study and discover the beauties of the universe and enrich his life and control the animal elements in his life.

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.

To have popular government run by a single party is to let democracy become a mere form for despotism to play its part from behind it.

Despotism does not cease to be despotism because it is elective. Nor does despotism become agreeable because despots belong to our own kindred.

According to the Buddha, Dhamma consists of Prajna and Karuna. Prajna is understanding. The Buddha made Prajna one of the two comer?stones of His Dhamma because he did not wish to leave any room for superstition. Karuna is love. Because, without it society can neither live nor grow, that is why the Buddha made it the second corner-stone of his Dhamma. A unique amalgam of Prajna and Karuna is the Dhamma of the Buddha.

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.

Blessed are those who are awakened to their duty to those among whom they are born.

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.

History shows that where ethics and economics come in conflict, victory is always with economics. Vested interests have never been known to have willingly divested themselves unless there was sufficient force to compel them.

Equality may be a fiction but nonetheless one must accept it as e governing principle.

Do not believe in fate. Believe in your strength.

Force, it cannot be denied, is the medicine of the body politic and must be administered when the body politic becomes sick. But just because force is the medicine of the body politic, it cannot be allowed to become its daily bread.

Fraternity is the name for the disposition of an individual to treat men as the object of reverence and love and the desire to be in unity with his fellow beings.

Freedom of the nation, if it is to be a reality, must vouchsafe the freedom of the different classes comprised in it, particularly of those who are treated as the servile classes.

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.

A great man must be motivated by the dynamics of a social purpose and must act as the scourge and the scavenger of the society.

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.

Bhakti(hero-worship) in religion may be a road to salvation of the self. But in politics, bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship.

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.

Inequality is the soul of Hinduism.

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.

There is a great difference between Buddhism and Hinduism. Buddhism means casteless society based on equal rights. Hinduism on the other hand is primarily based on caste?system; a system which encourages aloofness, inequality and exploitation.

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.

They cannot make history who forget history.

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 last things.

The history of India is said to begin with the Aryans who invaded India, made it their home and established their culture. Whatever may be the virtues of the Aryans, their culture, their religion and their social system, we know very littler about their political history. Indeed notwithstanding the superiority that is claimed for the Aryans as against the Non?Aryans, the Aryans have left very little their political achievements for history to speak of. The political history of India begins with the rise of a non?Aryan people called Nagas, who were a powerful people, whom the Aryans were unable to conquer, with whom the Aryans had to make peace, and whom the Aryans were compelled to recognize as their equals. Whatever fame and glory India achieved in ancient times in the political field, the credit for it goes entirely to the Non-Aryan Nagas. It is they who made India great and glorious in the annals of the world.

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.

My (Dr. B. R. Ambedkar) ideal would be a society based on Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. An ideal society should be mobile, should be full of channels for conveying a change taking place in one part to other parts. In an ideal society there should be many interests consciously communicated and shared. There should be varied and free points of contact with other modes of association. In other words, there must be social endosmosis.

I do not want that our loyalty as Indians should be in the slightest way affected by any competitive loyalty whether that loyalty arises out of our religion, out of our culture or out of our language. I want all people to be Indians first, Indian last and nothing else but Indians.

Indifferentism is the worst kind of disease that can infect a people.

What instructs me, amuses me.

There is a world of difference between one who is learned and who is an intellectual. The former is class?conscious and is alive to the interests of his class. The latter is emancipated being who is free to act without being swayed by class considerations.

One language can unite people. Two languages are sure to divide people. This is an inexorable law.

Culture is conserved by language.

Law is the abode of all worldly happiness.

Law is secular which anybody may break while fraternity or religion is sacred which everybody must respect.

Leisure means the lessening of the toil and effort necessary for satisfying the physical wants of life.

Liberty falls under two classes. There is civil liberty and there is political liberty. Civil liberty refers to (1) liberty of movement, which is another name for freedom from arrest without due process of law; (2) liberty of speech (which of course includes liberty of thought, liberty of reading writing and discussion); and (3) liberty of action.

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 cannot be divorced from equality, equality cannot be divorced from liberty. Nor can liberty and equality be divorced from fraternity. Without equality, liberty would produce the supremacy of the few over the many. Equality without liberty would kill individual initiative. Without fraternity, liberty and equality could not become a natural course of things.

A linguistic State with its regional language as its official language may easily develop into an independent nationality. The road between an independent nationality and an independent State is very narrow. If this happens, India will cease to be modern India we have and will become the medieval India consisting of a variety of States indulging in rivalry and warfare.

Lost rights are never regained by begging and by appeals to the conscience of the usurpers, but by relentless struggle.

No one can hope to make any effective mark upon his time and bring the aid that is worth bringing to great principles and struggling causes if he is not strong in his love and his 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.

A man's power is dependent upon (1) physical heredity, (2) social inheritance or endowment in the form of parental care, education, accumulation of scientific knowledge, everything that enables him to be more efficient than the savage and finally, (3) on his own efforts.

Man is what mind makes of him.

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.

Man's misery is the result of man's inequity to man. Only righteousness can remove this inequity and the resultant misery.

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.

Since Indians wish to unite and develop a common culture it is the duty of the all Indians to own up Hindi as their language.

Nationality means "Consciousness of kind, awareness of the existence of that tie of kinship".

Nationalism means "The desire for separate national existence for those who are bound by their tie of kinship".

Man is mortal. Every one is to die some day or other. But one must resolve to lay down one's life in enriching the noble ideals of self-respect and in bettering human life.

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.

Ideals or norms are good and necessary. Neither a society nor an individual can do without a norm. But a norm must change with change in time and circumstances. No norm can be permanently fixed. There must always be room for revaluation of the values of our norm.

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.

Every one should have a philosophy of life, for every one must have a standard by which to measure his conduct. And philosophy is nothing but a standard by which to measure. My social philosophy may be said to be enshrined in three words: Liberty, equality and fraternity. Let no one, however, say that I have borrowed my philosophy from the French Revolution. I have not. My philosophy has roots in religion and not in political science. I have derived them from the teachings of my master, the Buddha.

The difference between philosophy and religion may be put in two ways. Philosophy is concerned with knowing truth. Religion is concerned with the love of truth. Philosophy is static. Religion is dynamic.

Political power is the key to all social progress.

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.

Puritanism founded the new world. It was Puritanism, which won the war of American Independence, and Puritanism was a religious movement. The same is true of the Muslim Empire. Before the Arabs became a political power, they had undergone a thorough religious revolution started by Prophet Mohammed. Even Indian History supports the same conclusion. The political revolution led by Chandragupta was preceded by the religious and social revolution of Buddha. The political revolution led by Shivaji was preceded by the religious and social reform brought about by the saints of Maharashtra. The political revolution of the Sikhs was preceded by the religious and social revolution led by Guru Nanak.

Politics is nothing if not realistic. There is very little in it that is academic.

Renunciation of riches by those who have it may be a blessed state. But poverty can never be. To declare poverty to be a blessed state is to pervert religion, to perpetuate vice and crime, to consent to make earth a living hell.

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 is one thing, and wisdom and prudence quite a different thing.

The good things of this earth do not fall from heaven. Every progress has its bill of costs and only those who pay for it will have that progress.

The world owes much to rebels who would dare to argue in the face of pontiff and insist that he is not infallible.

Religion is not an opium as it is held by some. What good things I have in me or whatever have been the benefits of my education to society, I owe them to the religious feelings in me. I want religion but I do not want hypocrisy in the name of religion.

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.

As a matter of truth, morality has no place in religion.

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.

No thinking human being can be tied down to a view once expressed in the name of consistency. More important than consistency is responsibility. A responsible person must learn to unlearn what he has learned. A responsible person must have the courage to re?think and change his thoughts. Of course, there must be good and sufficient reasons for unlearning what he has learned and for recasting his thoughts. There can be no finality in thinking.

Rights are protected not by law but by the social and moral conscience of society. If social conscience is such that it is prepared to recognise the laws which law chooses to enact, rights will be safe and secure. But if fundamental rights are opposed by the community, no law, no Parliament, no judiciary can guarantee them in real sense of the word.

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.

You must stand on your own feet and fight as best you can for your rights. Power and, prestige will come to you through struggle.

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.
One should concentrate one's mind and might on one's goal.

Self-respect is the most vital factor in life. Without it, man is a mere cipher.

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.

Social conscience is the only safeguard of all rights, fundamental or non-fundamental.

Social democracy means a way of life, which recognises liberty, equality and fraternity as the principle of life.

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 barriers.

Wherever there are social evils, the health of the body politic requires that they shall be removed before they become the symbols of suffering and injustice. For it is the social and economic of revolution or decay.

Political tyranny is nothing compared to social tyranny and a reformer, who defies society, is a much more courageous man than a politician, who defies Government.

Making of the individual a sharer or partner in the associated activity so that he feels its success as his success and its failure as his failure is the real thing that binds men and makes a society of them.

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.

Tell the slave he is a slave and he will revolt.

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 man.

Slavery does not merely mean a legalised form of subjection. It means a state of society in which some men are forced to accept from others the purposes, which control their conduct.

Strike is a civil wrong and not a crime, and making a man serve against his will is nothing less than making him a slave.

It is not survival but the quality, the plane of survival that is important.

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.

State socialism should be prescribed by the law of the Constitution so that it will be beyond the reach of a Parliamentary majority to suspend, and amend or abrogate it. It is only this that one can achieve the triple object. Namely, to establish Socialism, retain Parliamentary Democracy and avoid Dictatorship.

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.

If unity is to be an abiding factor, it must be founded on a sense of kinship, in the feeling of being kindred. In short, it must be spiritual.

Where virtue is in danger, do not avoid fighting, do not be mealy mouthed.

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