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On April 14, 1891, a great noble soul named Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Ji was born in Mhow, Central Provinces, British India (Now in Madhya Pradesh, India). The last and the 14th child of his parents he was born in a lower Dalit caste named ‘Mahar’ which was at that time considered to be the caste of untouchables. The authentic surname of Ambedkar Ji was Ambawadekar which was derived from his native village Ambavade in Ratnagiri district presently Maharashtra. His teacher Mahadev Ambedkar changed the surname from Ambawadekar to Ambedkar in school records.
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Ji is popularly known as Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar Ji, Babasaheb Ambedkar Ji, or simply Bheem. He was an Indian Jurist, Economist, Politician and social reformer who worked not only for the upliftment of depressed classes but also fought for the rights of women and labor. Ambedkar Ji is the only Indian whose statue is attached to Karl Marx in the London Museum. He was the first Indian to complete a doctorate in economics from abroad. Also, he was the first one to complete education among his brothers and sisters.
He was a master in 64 subjects and knew 9 languages-Hindi, Pali, Sanskrit, English, French, German, Marathi, Persian, and Gujarati. He comparatively studied all the religions of the world for almost 21 years in his life. After moving to Bombay in 1897 he became the first untouchable to enroll in Elphinstone High School. Ambedkar Ji was a creative person. Ambedkar Ji played an important role in the establishment of the Reserve bank of India. The book was written by him “The problem of the rupee- Its origin and its solution” helped in the conceptualization of Reserve Bank of India by Hilton Commission.
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Ji is considered to be the father of the Indian constitution as under the core guidance of his Indian constitution was drafted. It was the ever lengthiest handwritten constitution. He was the chairman of the drafting committee. It took 2 years 11 months and 18 days to prepare the draft. He became the first law minister of independent India. But he resigned in 1951 due to the controversy on a bill introduced by him named “The Hindu code bill”. Article 370 which gave the special status to Jammu and Kashmir was added against his wishes.
Ambedkar Ji came from humble beginnings but later became one of the greatest leaders of the time. His first crusade was Mahad Satyagraha of 1927. This Satyagraha was mainly for the lack of access to drinking water to the Dalits from Chavadar Lake. In Ambedkar’s Ji words-
“We are not going to the Chavadar Tank to merely drink its water. We are going to the tank to assert that we too are human beings like others. It must be clear that this meeting has been called to set up the norm of equality.”
In 1936, Ambedkar Ji was invited to preside the Annual conference at Lahore but after that, the invitation was canceled because the words which Ambedkar Ji was going to speak were provocative. He believed that Manusmriti is the cause of the Caste system in India. He wanted to abolish the caste system. But his efforts of writing a long speech did not go in vain. At his own expense, 1500 copies of his text “Annihilation of Caste” were published and gained wide popularity. He was also successful in bringing labor reforms.
He played a prominent role in reducing the work hours from 14 hours to 8 hours. This reform was brought in the year 1947 at the 7th session of the Indian Labour Conference in New Delhi. A 20 paged autobiography written by Ambedkar Ji is used as a textbook at Columbia University. The book’s name is “Waiting for a visa”. This book draws experiences with untouchability since childhood.
The division between Madhya Pradesh and Bihar and the formation of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand respectively out of them, we see today was first suggested by Ambedkar Ji in his book ‘Thoughts on Linguistic states’. Though the actual formation of these states took place in 2000.
In 1956, this noble soul converted himself into a Buddhist and this led to the mass conversion of other Dalits into Buddhism. He was posthumously awarded Bharat Ratna in 1990. Noble prize winner Amartya Sen called Ambedkar Ji his father of economics.
DR. B.R. Ambedkar Ji is a great man in the Indian history. Despite being belonging to a lower caste, in his time he tried to break all the barriers of caste and serve the public with his whole heart. His lower caste did not stop him from doing the life that he wanted. In concluding lines, I would like to bring to attention a few lines of Ambedkar Ji-
“Life should be great rather than long”