On 18th January 1928, a meeting was convened by the Depressed Classes at Trymbak, near Nasik, which is a place of pilgrimage for the Hindus, to consider a proposal for building a temple in the name of their great saint, Chokhamela. Dr B. R. Ambedkar was specially invited to preside over the meeting. Mr B. K. Gaikwad, Bhalerao, Punjaji, Navsaji Jadhav etc., addressed the meeting. In addition to these, Mr Datar Shashtri from Nasik, Mr Marathe editor ‘ Swarajya ’, Mr Vadekar, Mr Thorat and Mr Choudhary from Jalgaon also addressed the gathering. ” The meeting, after a complete discussion, decided that the actual memorial of the saint consisted in devoting themselves with unflagging energy instead to the removal of the blot of Untouchability than to the erection of a temple. First, Dr Ambedkar was in the innermost recesses of his heart against the idea of separate temples; secondly, the building expenses would have been a financial burden; and thirdly, Dr Ambedkar was more of a utilitarian than an idol worshipper. It was Dr Ambedkar’s view that the saint-poets of Maharashtra (1300-1600) belonging to Bhagavat Dharma did not preach directly against the Caste System, which stood for the domination of one caste over others, for social inequality and social injustice.
The efforts of these saint poets were directed to establishing equality, not between a Brahmin as an individual and a Shudra as an individual, but between a Brahmin and a Shudra devotee of God. In this struggle, the saints succeeded, and the Brahmins had to accept the superiority of the devotee irrespective of caste. Lastly, Dr B. R. Ambedkar addressed the meeting as the President. In his address, he stated, “ Yet from the viewpoint of the annihilation of caste,” “ the struggle of the saints did not have any effect on society. Man’s value is axiomatic, self-evident; it does not come to him as the result of the gilding of Bhakti. The saints did not struggle to establish this point.
On the contrary, their struggle had a very unhealthy effect on the Depressed Classes. It provided the Brahmins with an excuse to silence them by telling them that they would be respected if they also attained the status of Chokhamela.” As the followers of different cults of Bhakti were themselves filled with caste prejudices, Dr Ambedkar proceeded; they not only turned a blind eye to their message of equality, justice and humanitarianism but also described their incredible miracles with utmost exaggeration. As regards the cult of Ramdas, he said that his followers were notorious for their caste prejudices since its inception, and their founder himself was obsessed with the ideas of Brahmin superiority. According to Ramdas, even a fallen Brahmin was superior to men of other castes in heaven and on earth; nay, a Brahmin was one to whom even the gods made an obeisance.
Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Writings & Speeches Vol. 17- Part 3