The Enduring Legacy: Dr. Ambedkar’s Letter to Pandit Nehru and the Spread of Buddhism

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On 14th September 2023, Dayanand Kamble, Deputy Director (News) at Directorate General of Information & Public Relations, Govt Of Maharashtra, tweeted about Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s letter to then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, asking for help in the publication of his book “The Buddha and His Dhamma”. This tweet provides a unique window into an important moment in the life of Dr. Ambedkar, a towering figure in India’s history, and his relentless pursuit of social justice through his work and writings.

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See dhayanand kamble’s Tweet 

The Historical Context

The tweet mentioned that 67 years ago, on this very day, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the principal architect of the Indian Constitution and a staunch advocate for the rights of marginalized communities, was on the cusp of a momentous decision. Dr. Ambedkar wrote the letter exactly a month before he left Hinduism and embraced Buddhism.

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baba saheb Dr. bhim rao ambedkar

The Letter to Pandit Nehru

In the letter, Dr. Ambedkar enclosed two copies of a printed booklet showing the table of contents of his book, which he had just finished and was expected to be in the market in September 1956. He requested help from all quarters as the cost of printing was very heavy and beyond his capacity. He wondered if the Government of India could purchase about 500 copies for distribution among the various libraries and scholars whom it was inviting during the course of that year for the celebration of the Buddha’s 2500 years’ anniversary.

book cover of “buddha aand his dhamma” by dr bhim rao ambedkar


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Dr. Ambedkar knew Pandit Nehru’s interest in Buddhism, and that is why he wrote to him, hoping that he would render some help in this matter.

Pandit Nehru’s Response

In Pandit Nehru’s response, as mentioned in the letter, he expressed doubts regarding the feasibility of procuring a large number of copies of Dr. Ambedkar’s book due to budgetary constraints. His response was not marked by pragmatic considerations but, personal insult, arrogance, or hatred. Pandit Nehru explained that the budget allocated for the publication on the occasion of Buddha Jayanti had been exhausted and even exceeded. Consequently, some proposals for books related to Buddhism had to be declined. He suggested that Dr. Ambedkar’s book could be put up for sale in Delhi and other places during the Buddha Jayanti celebrations, an idea aimed at maximizing its reach during the event.

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Dr. S. Radhakrishnan’s Response

In addition to Pandit Nehru’s response, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, the Chairman of the Buddha Jayanti Committee, was also approached for assistance. However, as mentioned in the tweet, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan informed Dr. B. R. Ambedkar on the phone that he couldn’t do anything in this regard, which was a setback for Dr. Ambedkar’s efforts to secure government support for the publication of his book.

The Legacy of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was a social reformer, jurist, and politician who fought against social discrimination against Dalits and other marginalized communities in India. He was also the architect of the Indian Constitution and played a significant role in shaping modern India.

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Dr. Ambedkar was born into a Dalit family and faced discrimination and social exclusion throughout his life. He converted to Buddhism in 1956 along with thousands of his followers, as he believed that it was the only way to escape the caste system and achieve social equality.

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Dr. Ambedkar’s letter to Pandit Nehru is significant as it highlights his commitment to Buddhism and his efforts to spread its teachings. His book “The Buddha and His Dhamma” is a comprehensive guide to Buddhism and its philosophy, and it remains an important work on the subject. Dr. Ambedkar’s life and work continue to inspire millions of people in India and around the world, especially those who face discrimination and social exclusion.

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Babasaheb Ambedkar egacy


In conclusion, Dayanand Kamble’s tweet about Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s letter to Pandit Nehru sheds light on an important chapter in Indian history. Dr. Ambedkar’s commitment to Buddhism and his efforts to spread its teachings remain an inspiration to millions of people. His book “The Buddha and His Dhamma” continues to be an important work on Buddhism and its philosophy.

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Dayanand Kamble’s tweet about Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s letter to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on September 14th, 1956, sheds light on a crucial chapter in India’s history. It showcases Ambedkar’s determination to promote Buddhism and his call for assistance from the government. This letter serves as a testament to the enduring legacy of Dr. Ambedkar and his unyielding commitment to the ideals of justice and equality.


Written by – Aastha Monga

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