Dr. Ambedkar

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (Marathi: ??.?????? ????? ??????? [b? i? mra? w ra? md? i? a? mbe?? k? r]; 14 April 1891 — 6 December 1956), also known as Babasaheb, was an Indian jurist, political leader, Buddhist activist, philosopher, thinker, anthropologist, historian, orator, prolific writer, economist, scholar, editor, revolutionary and a revivalist for Buddhism in India. He was also the chief architect of the Indian Constitution.

Born into a poor Mahar (then considered an Untouchable caste) family, Ambedkar spent his whole life fighting against social discrimination, the system of Chaturvarna — the categorization of Hindu society into four varnas — and the Hindu caste system. He is also credited with providing a spark for the conversion of hundreds of thousands of untouchables to Theravada Buddhism. Dr. Ambedkar was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, in 1990. Overcoming numerous social and financial obstacles, Ambedkar became one of the first so called “Outcasts” to obtain a college education in India.

Eventually earning law degrees and multiple doctorates for his study and research in law, economics and political science from Columbia University and the London School of Economics, Ambedkar gained a reputation as a scholar and practiced law for a few years, later campaigning by publishing journals advocating political rights and social freedom for India’s so-called untouchables. He is regarded as a Bodhisattva by Indian Buddhists, though he never claimed himself to be a Bodhisattva. [1] Contents [hide] 1 Early life and Education 1. 1 Higher Education 2 Fight against untouchability 3 Missions Poona Pact 5 Political career 6 Pakistan or The Partition of India 7 Father of India’s Constitution 8 Conversion back to Buddhism 9 Death 10 Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, writings and speeches 11 Criticism and legacy 12 In popular culture 13 Notes and references 14 Further reading 15 External links ; Writings [edit]Early life and Education ?Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar seen as a very young man[2] Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was born in the British-founded town and military cantonment of Mhow in the Central Provinces (now in Madhya Pradesh). [3] He was the 14th and last child of Ramji Maloji Sakpal and Bhimabai. 4] His family was of Marathi background from the town of Ambavade in the Ratnagiri district of modern-day Maharashtra. They belonged to the Hindu, Mahar caste, who were treated as untouchables and subjected to intense socio-economic discrimination. Ambedkar’s ancestors had for long been in the employment of the army of the British East India Company, and his father Ramji Sakpal served in the Indian Army at the Mhow cantonment. He had received a degree of formal education in Marathi and English, and encouraged his children to learn and work hard at school.

Belonging to the Kabir Panth, Ramji Sakpal encouraged his children to read the Hindu classics. He used his position in the army to lobby for his children to study at the government school, as they faced resistance owing to their caste. Although able to attend school, Ambedkar and other untouchable children were segregated and given no attention or assistance by the teachers. They were not allowed to sit inside the class. Even if they needed to drink water somebody from a higher caste would have to pour that water from a height as they were not allowed to touch either the water or the vessel that contained it.

This task was usually performed for the young Ambedkar by the school peon, and if the peon was not available then he had to go without water, Ambedkar states this situation as “No peon, No Water”. [5] Ramji Sakpal retired in 1894 and the family moved to Satara two years later. Shortly after their move, Ambedkar’s mother died. The children were cared for by their paternal aunt, and lived in difficult circumstances. Only three sons — Balaram, Anandrao and Bhimrao — and two daughters — Manjula and Tulasa — of the Ambedkars would go on to survive them.

Of his brothers and sisters, only Ambedkar succeeded in passing his examinations and graduating to a higher school. Bhimrao Sakpal Ambavadekar the surname comes from his native village ‘Ambavade’ in Ratnagiri District. [6] His Bhramin teacher Mahadev Ambedkar who was so much fond of him, has changed his surname from ‘Ambavadekar’ to his own surname ‘Ambedkar’ in school records. [6] [edit]Higher Education Ramji Sakpal remarried in 1898, and the family moved to Mumbai (then Bombay), where Ambedkar became the first untouchable student at the Government High School near Elphinstone Road. 7] Although excelling in his studies, Ambedkar was increasingly disturbed by the segregation and discrimination that he faced. In 1907, he passed his matriculation examination and entered the University of Bombay, becoming one of the first persons of untouchable origin to enter a college in India. This success provoked celebrations in his community, and after a public ceremony he was presented with a biography of the Buddha by his teacher Krishnaji Arjun Keluskar also known as Dada Keluskar, a Maratha caste scholar. Ambedkar’s marriage had been arranged the previous year as per Hindu custom, to Ramabai, a nine-year old girl from Dapoli. 7] In 1908, he entered Elphinstone College and obtained a scholarship of twenty five rupees a month from the Gayakwad ruler of Baroda, Sahyaji Rao III. By 1912, he obtained his degree in economics and political science from Bombay University, and prepared to take up employment with the Baroda state government. His wife gave birth to his first son, Yashwant, in the same year. Ambedkar had just moved his young family and started work, when he dashed back to Mumbai to see his ailing father, who died on February 2, 1913. In 1913 he received Baroda State Scholarship of 11. 0 British pounds a month for three years to join the Political Department of the Columbia University as a Post Graduate Student. In New York he stayed at Livingston Hall with his friend Naval Bhathena, a Parsi; the two remained friends for life. He used to sit for hours studying in Low Library. He passed his M. A. exam in June 1913, majoring in Economics, with Sociology, History, Philosophy, and Anthropology as other subjects of study; he presented a Thesis,”Ancient Indian Commerce”. In 1916 he offered another M. A. thesis, “National Dividend of India-A Historic and Analytical Study”.

On May 9, he read his paper Castes in India: Their Mechanism, Genesis and Development” before a seminar conducted by the anthropologist prof. Alexander Goldenweiser. In October 1916 he was admitted to Gray’s Inn for Law, and to the London School of Economics and Political Science for Economics where he started work on a Doctoral thesis. In 1917 June he was obliged to go back to India as the term of his scholarship from Baroda ended, however he was given permission to return and submit his thesis within four years. He sent his precious and much-loved collection of books back on a steamer, but it was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine. edit]Fight against untouchability As he was educated by the Baroda State, he was bound to serve the State. He was appointed as Military Secretary to the Gaikwar of Baroda, which he had to quit within short time, this fiasco was described by Ambedkar in his autobiography “Waiting for a Visa” he states that “This scene of a dozen Parsis armed with sticks line before me in a menacing mood, and myself standing before them with a terrified look imploring for mercy, is a scene which so long a period as eighteen years had not succeeded in fading away. I can even vividly recall it– and I never recall it without tears in my eyes.

It was then for the first time that I learnt that a person who is an untouchable to a Hindu is also an untouchable to a Parsi”. [5]Then after he tried to find ways to make a living for his growing family. He worked as private tutor, as an accountant, investment consulting business, but it failed when his clients learned that he was an untouchable. In 1918 he became Professor of Political Economy in the Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics in Bombay. Even though he was successful with the students, but other professors objected to his sharing the same drinking-water jug that they all used.

As a leading Indian scholar, Ambedkar had been invited to testify before the Southborough Committee, which was preparing the Government of India Act 1919. At this hearing, Ambedkar argued for creating separate electorates and reservations for untouchables and other religious communities. In 1920, he began the publication of the weekly Mooknayak (Leader of the Silent) in Mumbai with the help of Shahu I (1884–1922), Maharaja of Kolhapur. Ambedkar used this journal to criticize orthodox Hindu politicians and a perceived reluctance of the Indian political community to fight caste discrimination.

His speech at a Depressed Classes Conference in Kolhapur impressed the local state ruler Shahu IV, who described Ambedkar as the future national leader and shocked orthodox society by dining with Ambekdar. Having resigned from his teaching position, in July he returned to London, relying on his own savings, supplemented by loans from the Maharaja of Kolhapur and his friend Naval Bhathena. He returned to the London School of Economics, and to Gray’s Inn to read for the Bar. He lived in poverty, and studied constantly in the British Museum.

In 1922 through unremitting hard work, Ambedkar once again overfulfilled all expectations: he completed a thesis for a M. Sc. (Econonics) degree at London School of Economics, and was called to the bar, and submitted a Ph. D. thesis in economics to the University of London. Ambedkar established a successful legal practice. Early on his legal career, Ambedkar was engagged in a very important lawsuite file by some Brahmins aginst three non-Bhramin leaders K. B. Bagde, Keshavrao Jedhe and Dinkarrao Javalkar. They were being prosecuted for writing a pamphlet that Bhramins had ruined India. On the prosecution side was L. B.

Bhopatkar, a great lawyer from Poona, Ambedkar argued his case very ably, put up a very eloquent defence and won the case in October 1926. The victory was resounding, both socially and individually for the clients. [edit]Missions While practicing law in the Bombay High Court he ran head long in to uplift the untouchable to educate them. To achieve these goals his first organizational attempt was the Bahishkrit Hitakarini Sabha. An organisation to promote education ,socio-economic uplifting and for welfare of “outcastes” or the depressed classes. By 1927 Dr. Ambedkar decided to launch active movements against untouchability.

He began with public movements and marches to open up and share public drinking water resources, also he began a struggle for the right to enter Hindu temples. He led a satyagraha in Mahad to fight for the right of the untouchable community to draw water from the main water tank of the town. He was appointed to the Bombay Presidency Committee to work with the all-European Simon Commission in 1925. This commission had sparked great protests across India, and while its report was ignored by most Indians, Ambedkar himself wrote a separate set of recommendations for future constitutional [edit]Poona Pact

By now Ambedkar had become one of the most prominent political figures of the time. He had grown increasingly critical of mainstream Indian political parties for their perceived lack of emphasis for the elimination of the caste system. Ambedkar criticized the Indian National Congress and its leader Mohandas Gandhi, whom he accused of reducing the untouchable community to a figure of pathos. Ambedkar was also dissatisfied with the failures of British rule, and advocated a political identity for untouchables separate from both the Congress and the British.

At a Depressed Classes Conference on August 8, 1930 Ambedkar outlined his political vision, insisting that the safety of the Depressed Classes hinged on their being independent of the Government and the Congress. Ambedkar’s political work, such as this demand for a Separate Electorate System, had made him unpopular[citation needed] amongst Hindus, as well as with many Congress politicians who had earlier condemned untouchability while stopping short of advocating full equality for untouchables.

Due to Ambedkar’s prominence and popular support amongst the untouchable community, he was invited to attend the Second Round Table Conference in London in 1932. Gandhi fiercely opposed separate electorate for untouchables, though he accepted separate electorate for all other minority groups such as Muslims and Sikhs, saying he feared that separate electorates for untouchables would divide Hindu society for future generations.

When the British agreed with Ambedkar and announced the awarding of separate electorates, Gandhi began a fast-unto-death while imprisoned in the Yerwada Central Jail of Pune in 1932 against the separate electorate for untouchables only. Gandhi asked for the political unity of Hindus. Gandhi’s fast provoked great public support across India, and orthodox Hindu leaders, Congress politicians and activists such as Madan Mohan Malaviya and Palwankar Baloo organized joint meetings with Ambedkar and his supporters at Yeravada.

Fearing a communal reprisal and killings of untouchables in the event of Gandhi’s death, Ambedkar agreed under massive coercion from the supporters of Gandhi . This agreement, which saw Gandhi end his fast, while dropping the demand for separate electorates that was promised through the British Communal Award prior to Ambedkar’s meeting with Gandhi. Ambedkar was to later criticise this fast of Gandhi as a gimmick to deny political rights to the untouchables and increase the coercion he had faced to give up the demand for separate electorates.

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