The Hinduisation and Spiritualisation of Ambedkar’s Buddhism

The Discussion Map charts important debates from the pages of EPW.


Gopal Guru, in his 1991 article, writes that Hindu communal forces are attempting to “Hinduise” Ambedkar and assimilate Dalits into the Hindu fold. Guru observes that certain Buddhist organisations, such as the Trailokya Bauddha Mahasangha Sahayaka Gana (TBMSG), are trying to strip Ambedkar’s Buddhist ideology of its politics while also making Dalits “insensitive” to Dalit problems. 

S H Deshpande believes that there are no attempts to Hinduise Ambedkar since he is already within the fold of Hindutva. 

Dhammachari Lokamitra also replies to Guru, denying that the TBMSG makes Dalits insensitive to Dalit problems and “spiritualises” Ambedkar’s Buddhism. Lokamitra questions Guru’s claim that TBMSG followers did not participate in protests against Maharashtra government’s decision to censor Ambedkar’s work. 

Guru responds to the reaction he received from the “two religious forces.” He writes that Savarkar’s “militant” Hindutva is the antithesis to Ambedkar’s Buddhism, which preaches principles of peace and non-violence. 

Guru also notes that Ambedkar’s conversion to Buddhism was not a religious move but a strategic one—to create a negative consciousness against dominant caste hegemony among Dalits.

A few other works that are broadly related to this discussion:

  1. Hindutva vs Ambedkarism, Ambrose Pinto, 2000
  2. The Political Context of Religious Conversion in Orissa, Harish S Wankhede, 2009
  3. Ambedkar’s Framing of Religious Ideas, R Srivatsan, 2017
  4. The Neglect of Ambedkar, Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee, 2019
  5. Ambedkar’s Dhamma or Buddha and Plato minus Dialectics, Viplov Dhone (Wingkar), 2021


Ed: To contribute to a more comprehensive discussion map, please share links to other relevant articles in the comments section or write to us at with the subject line—“Ambedkar and Hinduisation”


Curated by Anandita Chandra []

With editorial inputs from Abhishek Shah []


Image courtesy: Modified. Wikimedia Commons/Rajasekharan Parameswaran [CC BY-SA 4.0]

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