From here, the Indian social reformer B. R. Ambedkar is supposed to have said:

In the Hindu religion, one can[not] have freedom of speech. A Hindu must surrender his freedom of speech. He must act according to the Vedas. If the Vedas do not support the actions, instructions must be sought from the Smritis, and if the Smritis fail to provide any such instructions, he must follow in the footsteps of the great men. He is not supposed to reason. Hence, so long as you are in the Hindu religion, you cannot expect to have freedom of thought.

Is the quote authentic? Did he say this in a speech or in one of his books?

1 Answer 1


The quote is a from a speech Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar gave on the 31st of May 1936 in Bombay (Mumbai) to the Bombay Presidency Mahar Conference. The full translated version of the speech, What Path to Salvation? can be found at columbia.edu. The segment cited by the OP appears in section 11, Have you had any Freedom in the Hindu Religion?

The speech was originally delivered in Marathi and translated by Vasant W. Moon, author of Growing up Untouchable in India: A Dalit Autobiography. On the editing, the site says:

Edited by Frances W. Pritchett. Editing has consisted of breaking up very long paragraphs, correcting typographical errors, and making small adjustments in punctuation and in English grammar and usage. All material enclosed in parentheses has been provided by the translator. All material enclosed in square brackets has been added by the editor.

Similar thoughts are expressed at length in Writings and Speeches of Dr. Babasheb Ambedkar, Volume 03 (see 2. The Hindu Social Order : Its Essential Principles).

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