Ambedkar’s life and his Navayana Buddhism

Authored by: Eleanor Zelliot

Routledge Handbook of Contemporary India

Print publication date:  August  2015
Online publication date:  August  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415738651
eBook ISBN: 9781315682570
Adobe ISBN: 9781317403586


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Dr B. R. Ambedkar is probably more famous in India now than during his lifetime (1891–1956). He is known for two roles; as dynamic leader of the Untouchables and architect of the Indian Constitution. Shortly before his death he converted to Buddhism and this may be the most influential of all his leadership roles. He was not able to create any permanent organization in the two months between conversion and his death but his writing and the work of his followers has begun to produce change in a country in which Buddhism had disappeared before the modern period (see Figure 24.1).

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