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Marathi Buddhists are a religious community which is residing in the Indian state of Maharashtra. They speak Marathi as their mother-tongue (first language). According to 2011 Indian census, There were 6,531,200 Buddhists in Maharashtra which constituted 5.81% of the state.[2] 5,204,284 (79.68%) Marathi Buddhists belong to the Scheduled Caste.[3]

Marathi Buddhists
Deekshabhoomi - panoramio.jpg
Deekshabhoomi monument, located in Nagpur, Maharashtra, where B. R. Ambedkar converted to Buddhism in 1956, is the largest stupa in Asia.[1]
Total population
6,531,200 (2011)
Regions with significant populations
Navayana Buddhism (Neo-Buddhism)
Related ethnic groups
MaharsMarathi people

Marathi Buddhists account for 77.36% of all Buddhists in India.[2] Almost all Marathi Buddhists belong to the Navayana tradition, a 19th and 20th-century Buddhist revival movement in India that received its most substantial impetus from B. R. Ambedkar who called for the conversion of Dalits to Buddhism to escape a caste-based society that considered them to be the lowest in the hierarchy.[4]


Almost all Marathi Buddhists are converts from Hinduism. Most Buddhist Marathi people belong to the former Mahar community who adopted Buddhism with Ambedkar in 1956.[5][6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Bhagwat, Ramu (19 December 2001). "Ambedkar memorial set up at Deekshabhoomi". Times of India. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Population by religion community – 2011". Census of India, 2011. The Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Archived from the original on 25 August 2015.
  3. ^ "बौद्ध बढ़े, चुनावी चर्चे में चढ़े". (in Hindi). Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  4. ^ Thomas Pantham; Vrajendra Raj Mehta; Vrajendra Raj Mehta (2006). Political Ideas in Modern India: thematic explorations. Sage Publications. p. 48. ISBN 0-7619-3420-0.
  5. ^ Jaffrelot, Christophe (2005). "The 'Solution' of Conversion". Dr Ambedkar and Untouchability: Analysing and Fighting Caste. Orient Blackswan Publisher. pp. 119–131. ISBN 8178241560.
  6. ^ Zelliot, Eleanor (1978). "Religion and Legitimation in the Mahar Movement". In Smith, Bardwell L. (ed.). Religion and the Legitimation of Power in South Asia. Leiden: Brill. pp. 88–90. ISBN 9004056742.