Ambedkar saw caste and caste system as central to the religious beliefs and practices of Hindus disenabling them from forging wider national and democratic bonds as well as responding to diversity, and pluralism arising therefrom. He also thought that while the caste system and the varna system may vary on specific details, the principles that inform them are the same and find their defence and validation in the shastras. Reform of Hinduism cannot be undertaken by setting aside caste and its justification in the shastras. Further, attempts at such a reform would inevitably lead to Buddhism. In his early reflections on the issue Gandhi associated the caste system closely with the varna system and counter-posed them both to untouchability. But soon he came to argue that the principles that govern the caste system and untouchability are the same, and ethically repugnant. At the same time, he advanced a radically different notion of varna, which according to him denoted the principle of saving resources that enabled one to strive after other significant pursuits in life. A closer textual study of Gandhi and Ambedkar turns out that they were allies against caste-based oppression, which, at the same time, offers us a different frame to engage with other differences between them.