NCP chief Sharad Pawar said in Pune on Friday that Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar had to take the “bitter” decision of leaving Hinduism in the 1930s as the social situation in the country was not acceptable to him.
The veteran politician was speaking at a function where a book on Ambedkar, written by advocate Jaidev Gaikwad, was released.
All his life, Ambedkar raised his voice against injustices, and among other things, he sought equal rights for women, Pawar said. When he launched a “satyagraha” to gain entry for Dalits in the Kalaram temple in Nashik in 1930, Ambedkar asked the participants to put it in writing that they do not believe in the Chaturvarnya system (ancient hierarchial organisation of Hindu society) and will work towards the eradication of untouchability, which was a blot on the Hindu religion, the NCP chief added.
But eventually, Ambedkar had to take the decision to leave Hinduism altogether, he said.
“…There is only one pain. Eventually, he had to take a decision, which was a bitter decision. It was to leave the Hindu religion and embrace Buddhism. The reason was, whatever was happening in the country, it was not acceptable to him,” Pawar said.
Ambedkar had dialogue with Mahatma Gandhi when they entered into the “Pune Pact” on political reservations for Dalits, he said.
“On some points, he agreed (with Gandhi) but on some points there were differences. But after all these things, Babasaheb came to one decision and on October 13, 1935, he announced that though he was born a Hindu, he will not die as a Hindu,” Pawar said, adding that this culminated in Ambedkar formally converting to Buddhism in 1956.