The Road to Enlightenment

India was historically dominated by Hinduism. According to Hindu tradition,
people are born into a specific caste. For example, no one was allowed to become
Brahmin. One had to be born Brahmin. There were five castes:

Brahmins – Priests
Kshatriyas – Governors
Vaisyas – Traders and Farmers
Shudras – Servants
Ati-Shudras – Untouchables

Dr. Ambedkar renounced Hinduism. He said, “Though I was born a Hindu, I
solemnly assure you that I will not die as a Hindu.” But in my opinion, he was
rejecting the caste system itself and renouncing any religion that would support
such discrimination.

Brahmins would never give the depressed classes equality. It would be against
their religion to do so. The Brahmins’ idea of raising up the Shudras was to
create the Untouchables that were even lower than the Shudras. It is likely that
some of the Kshatriyas and Vaisyas secretly didn’t actually believe what the
Brahmins were preaching, but it was too hard for them to leave the caste system
that was a part of their spiritual tradition.

The depressed classes had no right to education in a culture dominated by
Hinduism. The Brahmins systematically kept the depressed classes illiterate and
poor, so it didn’t occur to them to organize, rise up, leave Hinduism, and demand
their rights as human beings. They forgot how to think. They became illiterate.
Dr. Ambedkar gave his voice to the Untouchables and the depressed classes. He
showed them an alternative to the Hindu way, the way of the Buddha, where
there is equality for everyone. By accepting Buddhism, the depressed classes
could leave Hinduism without renouncing the Creator. They could live with human
dignity and experience spiritual enlightenment.

Nowadays, more people are educated. With education comes wisdom. More
people are seeing that discrimination is woven into Hinduism. The people want an
end to discrimination, so they are renouncing Hinduism and demolishing the caste
system.

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