Written 1943

20 pages

Ranade, Gandhi, and Jinnah is a transcript of a speech given on the 101 birthday of the deceased Justice Mahadev Ranade. Justice Ranade was a social reformer of the previous generation that focused on women’s rights. Widows won the right to remarry due to Ranade’s work.

Ambedkar praises Ranade as a fearless social reformer. Social reformers face far more significant risks than political reformers. The belief that the social structure was determined by their extremely moral ancestors or the gods underpinned Hindu society. Calling core beliefs into question makes people far more uncomfortable than questioning an external authority. Whereas a government can jail an agitator, a society can excommunicate him. Being alone is a far worse punishment.

Social change must precede political change for it to be effective. The nature of the justice system is to punish individual bad actors. If everyone defies a law, nothing can be done. He uses for an example black Americans having constitutional rights. No one disagrees that they have them. However, no one respects these rights. From an Integral perspective, Ambedkar and Ranade understood how internal change proceeds and affects external change.

Progress also needs congruence in political and social/spiritual philosophy. Democracy the idea that a free and educated people can rule themselves is incompatible with the caste system. The caste system says only on caste of people will serve, another become educated, and yet another fight. Ambedkar points out how impractical it would be to hold on to a caste system during an invasion. If only ten percent of the population that comprises the warrior class could join the army, the country would be taken over in very little time.

Ranade’s pragmatism impressed Ambedkar. Ranade would have realistic goals in mind before negotiations would start and when a settlement could be reached that was advantageous, he would move to conclude the negotiation. Ranade did not make unreasonable ideological demands that the other party would not be able to accept.

He compares the two most prominent Indian leaders at the time Jinnah and Gandhi to Ranade. Jinnah controlled Muslim politics, and Gandhi controlled Hindu politics. Both take on ideologically conservative positions to stay in constant tension. Both men make spectacles of their beliefs to garner support. Gandhi goes further by claiming he is an enlightened soul, Mahatma. He claims to be guided by divine forces. Ranade, in contrast, justified his positions with rationality and worked toward a compromise.

Ambedkar also corrects the misconception that Ranade was against Indian independence. Ranade often talked about how British rule and military protection would facilitate Indian progress. Because the British are handling the main engines of government, the Indians could concentrate on social development. Ranade did not believe Indians were ready for Democracy. Indian society needed to be more equitable and egalitarian or another tyrannical regime could be installed. The Indian people should avoid tyranny both foreign and domestic.

Most analysts consider this transcript and treatise on hero-worship. Although the treatise does cover hero-worship, it has so much more. In twenty pages Ambedkar covers a wide range of topics and gives a detailed description of his own and Ranade’s philosophy.

A copy can be found here

Ranade, Gandhi, and Jinnah