A study of religions practiced by Scheduled Caste communities in India suggests that all of them have preserved their ancient religion in one form or the other. Small panths in the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, etc. still exists in different sects. Hitherto, they have not congregated with each other due to lack of universal appeal. All these small sects have one thing in common that their religion possesses the strong base of Buddhism in their teachings. It is a matter of regret that despite our preservation of ancient religious beliefs, although in the smaller forms, we have not taken any effort to unite all these sects into a sole religion.
Dr. Ambedkar’s vision of selecting Buddhism is based on the firm belief that it is a religion of India as Gautam Buddha was born in India and preached his Dhamma for the common masses. Secondly, since Buddhism is practiced in China, Japan, Korea, Burma and other South-East Asian countries, Dr. Ambedkar thought of taking support from these countries for revival of Buddhism in India. However, untimely death of Dr. Ambedkar in the year 1956 was a major setback in this direction. Dr. Ambedkar’s dream was to unite entire lower caste communities into one class on a religious footing. Present day Buddhism in India has just mere become a new branch of Buddhism to be called as ‘Bhimyaan’.
In this scenario, it is inevitable for us to find a solution to this great vision of Dr. Ambedkar for which indepth religious study is required to be attended on war footing. Presently, we have Kabir Panth, Dadu Panth, Barmati Panth and various other sects. As said above, all these Panths have buddhist impact in their religions, we must select a new religion of depressed classes of India taking either selecting one near to Buddhism or to assimilate all religions into one.
Navin K. Bhoiya