Life Sketch :- Bharat Ratana Baba Saheb Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar was born on 14th April 1891 at Mhow to revered Subedar Major Ramji Sakhpal & Mata Bhimbai in Mahar Community. It is said that Mahars were the rulers of Marashtra (Mahar + Rashtra) but because of Hindu hegemony and caste based values, they were reduced to the level of Untouchables, Shudras, Ati Shudras, whose only shadow was considered enough to pollute an upper caste Hindu. Ambedkar worked over 18 hurs a day and at times sky was his roof and the earth his floor; Bhimrao was married to Ramabai at the tender age of 17 years when his spouse was only of 9 years. Mata Ramabai stood like a rock by her Saheb till her death on
. Due to hard work of father & son, Bhimrao earned world’s highest academic Degrees of D.Sc ( May 27, 1935 London); PhD &LL.D ( Columbia); M.A; D.lit (Osmania) Bar-at law ( ). Dr. Ambedkar knew seven languages. Dr Ambedkar also served on highly prestigious positions as Labour member of Viceroy’s Executive Council (1942-46); First Law Minister of Independent India & aarned the distinction of selection as Chairman of the constitution Drafting Committee to draft constitution for free India & also is so called “father of Indian constitution “Some called him Mother of Indian Constitution as well. He proved an emancipator for Dalits, a torch bearer for the liberation of slaves’ world over and an insurmountable rock for his opponents. He contributed for the freedom of London India, but more for the Dalits, who were slaves to the slaves of British India. He was highly praised by those who understood his just cause for the liberation of his Dalit community persons, but also abused as traitor by those who never appreciated his mission of life and wanted to maintain status-quo in social, political, educational, economic and religious spheres even after independence. He was change and often said” Consistency is a virtue of an ass”.
Personalities who influenced Ambedkar the most: -
A) Subedar Major Ramji Sakhpal :- Honesty, Hard working, dedication, urge to get higher education, boldness in his conduct and to work for elevation of his fellow untouchables was learned by Abmedkar fromhis father subedar Major Ramji Sakhpal.
B) Kabir: - Dr.Ambedkar’s family belonged to the devotional path shown by Sadguru Kabir ji, a great Dalit Saint Devotional songs of Kabir Ji were daily sung with love by the family, which affected the tender mind set of child Bhimrao. Kabir Ji’s verses including “Jat Pat Pushey Na Koye, Har Ko Bhaje so har Ka hoi” i.e Caste does not decided your fate, but your devotion to lord is supereme. Kabir Ji was taken as Ambedkar’s Second Guru, first being Budha.
C) Budha : - The Budha philosophy influenced Ambedkar the most. He like Budha revolted against Vedas, upanishadas, un-natural Brahminical division of the humans, he studied Bhudha deeply, so like rites, rituals, religious ceremonies, sacrifice. He was firm believer like Budha that every individual was the maker or spoiler of one’s destiny. Budha never proclaimed himself as God, Avtar or His incarnation, so influenced the inner mind of Dr.Ambedkar. When he got convinced that Hinduism was immune to reform, he brought back Buddha to
by embracing Buddhism on India 14th October 1956 along with over three lacs of men & women. Dr.Ambedkar lived for 52 days after conversion to Buddhism and during this small period over Five Lacs Dalits got convertedto Buddhism. Dr.Ambedkar in his last days wrote a master book of 599 pages on Buddhism “Buddha and His Dramma”.
D) Jyotiba Phule :- Jyotiba Phule was the greatest Shudra of modern
, who made Hindu untouchables conscious of their slavery to the Upper Caste Hindus. He gave the gospel that in India , Social democracy was more vital that independence form foreign rule. Phule started 18 schools India for girls against staunch opposition from the caste Hindus as education for women was sin in Hindu Manu Laws. He is considered as political Guru of Dr.Ambedkar and both were convinced that al men are equal by birth so need to be provided equal opportunities for progress in all spheres. Both fought throughout their lives to break social & economical barriers erected to segregate men on their castes at birth. Poona
E) Booker T.Washington :- During Dr.Ambedkar’s stay in
, he was influenced by the Constitution of U.S.A and its fourteenth Amendment declaring freedom to Negroes. He was also influenced mostby the life of Booker T.Washington a great revolutionary, educator, reformer, Negro leade, who founded and remained President of Tuskegee Institute, which disseminated among Negroes the gospel of education of the head, heart and hand and thus broke the barriers of bondage through which negroes were crushed for ages physically, educationally, mentally, socially & spiritually. Booker T.Washington died in 1915 when Dr.Ambedkar was in America and passed his M.A.Degree Dr.Ambedkar learnt from the life storey of Booker T.Washtington the spririt of fight for the cause of freedom of his brethren untouchables, who wre treated even worst than Negroes, in Indian society. America
F) John Dewey :- John Dewey was his mentor at
, whose philosophy helped shape Dr.Ambedkar towards a critical analysis of the hard problems facing the society. He advocated dynamic and pragmatic approach to driver the humanity out of the troubles it was confronted with. Both criticized the old philosophers, who advocated idealism and other obsolete things. John Dewey’s method of inquiry had influenced Ambedkar to deal with hard and painful situations. Both were practical political scientist, so paid pointed attention to practical rather thatn mere academic politics. Ambedkar learnt from Dewey’s emphasis on education as means to change the world and not only to understand it. Both believed that Education should be capable of creating human values having universal application. Both established themselves on everyday life of an average man in their respective countries. Dr.Abmedkar’s association with John Dewey provided the basis for a systematic study and analysis of problems relating to politics, economics, society religion & history. Ambedkar’s conclusion that society is equally is not more aggressive and tyrannical than the Government, is based on deep study of these subject. Columbia University
G) J.S Mill :- Dr.Ambedkar was greatly influenced from the writing of Mill, a great political philosopher as he too had advocated freedom of thought, freedom of speech and freedom of action. Mill’s philosophy moulded the political philosophy of Ambedkar.
H) Ranade :- Life & work story of Justice Mahadev Govind Ranade, father of Indian Socio-political revolution cast a great influence on Dr.Ambedkar. Dr.Ambdar was called upon to deliver 101st Birthday Anniversy address of Justice Ranade which fell on
18th January 1940. Dr.Ambedkar learnt about Ranade, When he retrieved from the old papers of his father, a petition drafted by Justice by Justice Ranade against banningrecruitment of Mahars into Indian Army in 1892. Philosophy of Justice Ranade was summed up by Dr.Ambedkar himself as
i) We should not hold ideals purely imaginary.
ii) In politics sentiments and temperaments of the people are more important that intellect and theory.
iii) In political negotiations the rule should be what is possible, that does not mean that we should be content with what is offered.
Why Ambedkar agreed with the terms of Poona Pact of 1932 with Mahatma Gandhi and other caste Hindus by sacrificing the benefits of the Communal Award cab be assessed from his above said political philosophy.
I) Karl Marx: - Dr.Ambedkar was also immensely influenced by Karl Marx’s theory of class struggle as he was aware of the merciless exploitation of the poor all over the world. But in
poor were exploited both by rich and Higher Caste Hindus alike. While explaining difference between Class & Caste Dr.Ambedkar observed “Downtrodden people of India are first to be fired and last to be hired”. Dr.Ambedkar was of the firm view of uniting the exploited people and make them realize being slaves, so they shall revolt against it. But Dr.Ambedkar differed with Marx on the point that suffering was not only from the economic factors as well. Ambedkar had experienced religious tyranny more severe & organized that state tyranny and poverty ridden upper caste Hindus were equally or even more cruel towards poor untouchables. India
J) Crusader of Dalit Education: - Ambedkar was convinced that education besides being means of livelihood was a powerful weapon to liberate the Dalits from ignorance and to strengthen their fight against injustice Dalits. So he gave his Golden slogan to Dalits “Educate, Agitate, Organise. “To prepare his peoples to safeguard their Human Rights through spread of his message more effectively, he started journals namely Mook Nayak (Leader of the Dumb), Bahiskrit Bharat (Excluded India), Samta (Equality) Janta (Peoples). He picked up lesson from the strong noteof Bernard Shaw, “ Honest education is dangerous to tyranny and privilege; the system like Capitalist system kept in vogue the popular ignorance, Churches which depend upon it for priestly authority, privileged classes and ambiguous conquerors and dictators, who have to instill royalty and romantic hero worship, all use ignorance and education as underpinning for general faith in themselves as rulers” so to negate the ill effects of his people and to equip them with quality education, he opened Mallind Mahavidhalaya Aurangabad (maharashtra); Sidharath College of Commerce and Economics Bombay; and Siddhartha Law College Bombay. Ambedkar built this house “Rajgrih” in
to house a library. Bombay
K) Indian Women Liberator: - The woman was considered lowest of the low in the Indian society, so Ambedkar fought a very difficult battle for their cause. He blew bugle of fight against discrimination and exploitation on the basis of one’s caste, creed, sex or place of birth. His principle of life was to speak, work & fight for the just cause of oppressed, depressed, exploited, illiterates, ill fed & ill treated men & women irrespective of their caste or social status, place of birth affiliations and without caring for his personal comforts. On
March 19-20, 1927 he addressed a huge meeting ad depressed classes including women, and gave strong call for liberation of women. He advised them to attend more to their development of mind and the spirit of self help; He said that education was as necessary for development of women as was for men. He declared “ As you are, so shall be your children”. While addressing largely attended Depressed Classes Women conference on 18-19 July 1942, he said, “He measured the progress of a community by the degree of progress made by the women of that community. He advised, let every girl who marries, stand by her husband, claim to be here husband’s friend and equal and refuse to be his slave. He advocated avoiding early marriage and producing too many children. Give proper education to your children, so that they live a dignified life”. Dr.Ambedkar advocated for equal wages for equal work without discrimination on the basis of sex or caste, besides grant of paid maternity leave to expecting mothers. While strongly supporting proposed maternity benefits to women in Bombay Legislative Council in 1928 he said, “---- it is in the interest of the Nation that the mother ought to get a certain amount of rest during the pre-natal period and also subsequently.” The first law Minister of Independent India was disappointed due to non passage of the Hindu Code Bill, as was conceived by him and promised support by Pt.Nehru. He sacrificed his cabinet Law Ministry and resigned on Sept. 27, 1951 as a matter of protest.
L) Modern Manu:- To register his strong resentment against Manu Smiriti, Hindu Law Book, which closed all doors of education and to have dignified life avenues for shudras including Hindus women, Dr.Ambedkar burnt it in full public view on 24th December 1927 with promise to give new laws based on the doctrine of equality for al men and women irrespective of their caste, creed, place of birth, sex and economic status. This promise he fulfilled by way of enshrining liberty, equality and fraternity as the basic principles of socialist democracy in the constitution of
. Ambedkar regarded the waging of a battle against social bans as his religion. India
M) Striver of Dignity :- Dr.Ambedkar a great believer in living with human dignity, was denied water from common source as student, college professor, military Secretary of Baroda State, so organized his fight for right to draw water from the Chavdar public water Tank at Mahad for his people on 20th March, 1927. He was driven out of temples. Untouchables organized a peaceful march to have entry into Kala Ram temple at
, but Caste Hindus resisted their entry by closing al the fourteen doors of the temple. So on Nasik 2nd March, 1930, a long march was organized under leadership of Ambedkar to have forceful entry, where large number of untouchables including Ambedkar himself was injured from stone pelting of Brahmins. Ambedkar from the rigidity of the caste Hindus visualize futility of such struggles so he decided to leave Hindus religion, as he was convinced that Hindu religion was immune to any reform.
N) Dispute with Gandhi: - Although on Gandhi’s instance Ambedkar was made Chairman of the Drafting Committee of Free India’s Republic constitution, Ambedkar held divergent views on various matter concerning Indian community, particularly Minorities than Gandhi Ji. Shri M.K.Gandhi was called Mahatma by all but Ambedkar, who said “Mahatmas have come and Mahatmas gone but problems of untouchables have remained the same.” Mahatma Gandhi Sanatani Hindu held the reviews that in free India Hindus should be given time to reform themselves and express their repentance fo rhte past sins of ill treating untouchables. The removal of untouchability and economic reforms for untouchables should not create ill will among Hindus. Education to Dalits & initiation of other economic reforms for them in free
shall remove the age old stigma of untouchability automatically. Gandhi opposed Separate Electorates for Scheduled Castes only & went on Fast unto death in Yarwada jail in India against it. Poona
Ambedkar was convinced from the ill treatment meted out to him in person and his depressed brethren by Upper caste Hindus needed surgical treatment. Although Ambedkar pleaded to British Government to give freedom to
as it had failed to watch the interests of depressed classes by siding with caste Hindus on this subject, but he held interests of his people more dear than granting of even freedom the British Raj. He was pleader of equal rights and welfare measures in free India as a matter of right for the slaves of Slaves of British India say Depressed India. He opposed Gandhi & congress for the opposition to main demand of separate Electorates granted under Simon commission or communal Award, but still saved Mahatma’s life by signing Poona Pact on India 27th August, 1932 under duress, for larger National interests. Ambedkar opposed the half hearted welfare measures initiated by the Congress Party for the Scheduled Castes and held the view that these were more propaganda stunt that having motto of solving their religious, educational, social and economic problems and free them from the stigma of obligations. Ambedkar wanted Constitutional Rights for his people so that they could stand with erect spine. On 5th November 1946 Baba Sahib demanded annulment of the Poona Pact and implementation of the Communal Award of the British Government. In 1938 while addressing peasants rally he said, “ There are only two classes in the world—the exploiters and exploited. Peasents and workers must unite selflessly and send their representatives to the Legislative Assembly for their own improvement”.
When the Hindus organized a meeting in Mumbai on 30 September 1932, (i.e., a week after the signing of the Poona Pact), to form an All-India Anti-Untouchability League, Gandhi, changed it to ‘Servants of Untouchables Society’. It was on this occasion that the Hindus joined together to fight against untouchability. There were eight members on the board. Dr Ambedkar, Rao Bahadur M.C.Rajah (1883-1947) and Dewan Bahadur Rattamalai. Srinivasan ( 1860-1945) were included as representatives of the untouchables. All three subsequently withdrew from the board. Gandhi then renamed it as Harijan Seva Sangh. While explaining reasons to join this forum, ‘After the Poona Pact, I proceeded in a spirit of forget and forgive. I accepted the bona fides of Mr. Gandhi as I was asked to do by many of his friends. It was in that spirit that I accepted a place on the Central Board of the Sangh and was looking forward to play my part in its activities’. He wanted to discuss the programme of the Sangh with Gandhi but could not do so as he had to leave for
to participate in the Third Round Table Conference. However, Dr. Ambedkar did write a detailed letter to A.V. Thakkar, Secretary of the Sangh, giving concrete proposals regarding the services to be rendered by the Sangh. The Depressed classes representative wanted the forum to concentrate on a programme ‘that will effect a change in the social environment of the Depressed Classes’ London
The programmed drafted by Dr.Ambedkar had four components: (i) A campaign to secure civil rights; (ii) Equality of opportunity; (iii) Social intercourse; and (iv) Agency to be employed. The League was to employ a large army of workers to carry out this programme. Persons belonging to the Depressed Classes were to also be appointed, who alone ‘will regard the work as love’s labour’.But the Anti-Untouchability League did not pay any attention to these proposals; they did not even acknowledge Dr Ambedkar’s letter. The Congress used the ‘Harijan Seva Sangh’ to kill the movement of empowering untouchables after the withdrawal of these three representatives of the Depressed classes from the League. Sensing the crook ness of mind of the Hindus the Poona Pact was asked to be scraped by Dr Ambedkar 5thNovember 1946 and demanded enactment of the separate electorates for the Dalits as per the communal Award.
O) Constitutional Expert:- Ambedkar himself was a par excellent, world class Constitutional expert. He had equipped himself with world’s highest academic Law degrees. He worked as Law Professor in
for a short time. He has tremendous insight into intricacies of education, law, social sciences, economics and religious principles. He held the view that public representatives should not only be experts (Gyanwan) but should have imbibed in them virtues (Sheel). He said “Gyan without Sheel is dangerous.” He gave free Bombay College the world’s voluminous Constitution based on the principles of equality to all so as to have fraternity among its citizens. He was for the State to be a welfare State. Indian Republic
P) As a parliamentarian: - His ability as a representative of Untouchables was displayed in the three Roundtable Conferences inThe greatest tributes to this great son of
, where ways & means were discussed for the future Indian Constitution. He gave an insight of the miserable plight of his people’s viz. Untouchables in London British India and pleaded for Indian Freedom with equal rights based on Human Rights. His crusade for liberation of his people got firm roots with his election as member of Bombay Legislative council on 17th February 1937 and it continued till his death on 6th December 1956. While speaking on the role of peoples representatives he said “No hungry man is going to be sympathetic to a critic who is going to tell him” my dear fellow although I am in power, although I am in authority, although I possess all legal power to set matters right, you must not expect me to do a miracle because I have inherited a past which is very inglorious --- “If this Government will not produced results with in certain time, long before the people became so frustrated, so disgusted with Government as not have a Government at all. To the parliamentarians of our country Dr Ambedkar cautioned “I suppose, unless we in parliament realize our responsibilities and shoulder the task of looking after the welfare and good of people within a reasonable time, this Parliament will be treated by the public outside with utter contempt. It would be a thing not wanted at all.”