The book is an audacious denunciation of Hinduism and its caste system. In 1936, a Hindu reformist group invited Dr. B.R. Ambedkar to deliver its annual lecture. When it read an advance copy of the text of the speech, the group found the contents “unbearable” and rescinded its invitation. Ambedkar published the text on his own. It offers a scholarly critique of the Vedas and shastras-scriptures the Hindus regard as sacred, scriptures that sanction the worlds most hierarchical and iniquitous social system. The worlds best known Hindu, Mahatma Gandhi, responded to the provocation. The hatchet was never buried.