The Indian diaspora celebrates this Indian social reformer’s birth anniversary with great zeal on April 14, meet Dr. B.R Ambedkar.
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar is popularly known as Babasaheb was born on April 14, 1891 at a military town known as Mhow in the province we know today as Madhya Pradesh in India. Mhow, an abbreviated name for “Military headquarters of war”, is a piece of heaven though it has long remained oblivious on the travellers’ map.
It was the pragmatic vision of Ambedkar that drafted the Constitution of India which provides citizens with constitutional guarantees. Babasaheb was born in a poor low (Mahar – Dalit) caste, Ambedkar himself was a victim of the social evils since childhood days. He was so oppressed that throughout his life, he campaigned to eliminate social discrimination against untouchables of India.
Ambedkar had mentioned in his writings that children from backward class were not allowed to touch water or the container – that was used by higher caste people during his school days. When backward class kids wanted to drink water, someone from a higher caste had to pour it from a height. This task was generally assigned to peon of the school. He described the situation as ‘no peon, no water’. Ambedkar was so broken with such incidents that he dedicated his life to remove discrimination, degradation and deprivation from the society.
In 1897, his family moved to Bombay (Mumbai) and that was where he became the only untouchable to be enrolled at famous Elphinstone High School. In 1906, at the age of 15, he was married to Ramabai who was just 9.
After completing his studies, Ambedkar launched himself politically, fighting for the rights of the oppressed. Trained as a jurist, Ambedkar went on to become the first Law Minister in independent India. To free himself the perils of the caste system and unfair practices, he acted as a revivalist of Buddhism by converting himself to the religion.
This was seen as a way he could reject the casteist culture of India through his new religion.
Very few know that Ambedkar is the first Indian to pursue a doctorate degree in Economics abroad. He is also the first Ph.D in Economics and the first double doctorate holder in Economics in South Asia. In 1990, he was honoured with the Bharat Ratna.
Ambedkar’s life and legacy today still is an inspiration for many in the world who believe that caste discrimination should end and formation of an equal society is the only way to move forward.
On the occasion of 127th Ambedkar Jayanti, we bring you some of the famous quotes by the architect of Constitution of India, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar:
- I like the religion that teaches liberty, equality and fraternity.
- I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved.
- Constitution is not a mere lawyers document, it is a vehicle of life, and its spirit is always the spirit of age.
- If I find the Constitution being misused, I shall be the first to burn it.
- Lost rights are never regained by appeals to the conscience of the usurpers, but by relentless struggle… Goats are used for sacrificial offerings and not lions.
- Democracy is not merely a form of government. It is primarily a mode of associated living, of conjoint communicated experience. It is essentially an attitude of respect and reverence towards fellow men.
- Equality may be a fiction but nonetheless one must accept it as a governing principle.
- Cultivation of mind should be the ultimate aim of human existence.
- The basic idea underlying religion is to create an atmosphere for the spiritual development of the individual.
- A great man is different from an eminent one in that he is ready to be the servant of the society.
- We are Indians, firstly and lastly.
Dr B.R Ambedkar’s life and legacy today, is an inspiration for the Indian diaspora who believe that India’s caste discrimination should end the birth of an equal society to move forward.