- Prof. Deepali Borade
Remembering the Architect of Indian Constitution
A Tribute on Ambedkar Jayanti !
“Life should be great rather than long,” thus said Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar (Dr. B.R. Ambedkar), popularly known as Babasaheb, who flagged the ‘Constitution of India.’ Born on 14th April 1891, Dr. Ambedkar showed the path of the underprivileged and how to lead venerable life. He is looked up to as a symbol of equality. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar played an important role in framing the constitution of our country. He outlawed discrimination against lower castes or untouchables and wanted to establish equality among our countrymen. He said he believed in a society where friendship, equality, and brotherhood exist. However, a man who did so much for our country had suffered many atrocities about his caste in the initial days.
Bhim Rao Ambedkar had multiple talents as he was an educationist and jurist and worked as a socio-political reformer. His contribution is precious in varied arenas in free India, and his achievements are long. Born on 14 April 1891 in a village named Mhow in the Indore district of Madhya Pradesh, Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was also known as Babasaheb Ambedkar. His father, Ramji Sakpal, was in the Indian Army, serving the country. With his excellent work, he was ranked as Subedar in the army. His mother's name was Bhima Bai. From the beginning, Ramji encouraged his children to study and to work hard, due to which Bhimrao Ambedkar was fond of studies since childhood. However, he belonged to the Mahar caste, and people belonging to this caste were also called untouchables at that time. The meaning of untouchable was that if any belonging of the upper caste was touched by the people of the lower caste, it was considered impure, and the people of the upper caste would not use those things.
Even the children of the lower caste could not go to school for studies due to the poor thinking of society. Fortunately, the government ran a special school for the children of all the employees working in the army, so B. R. Ambedkar's early education could be possible. Despite being good at studies, he, along with all the lower caste children accompanying him, was seated outside the class or in the corner. The teachers there also paid little attention to them. These children were not allowed even to touch the tap to drink water. The school peon used to pour water on his hands from afar, and then they used to get water to drink. When the peon was not there, they had to study and go without water, despite being thirsty. After Ramji Sakpal retired in 1894, his entire family moved to Satara in Maharashtra, but only after 2 years did Ambedkar's mother die. After this, his aunt took care of him in difficult circumstances. Ramji Sakpal and his wife had 14 children, of which only three sons and three daughters survived the difficult conditions. And among his brothers and sisters, Bhimrao Ambedkar was the only one who ignored social discrimination to continue further education in 1897.
Ambedkar was admitted to Mumbai's high school and was the first lower-caste student to get admission to that school. In 1907, Ambedkar passed his high school examination. This success triggered a wave of happiness among the people of his caste because it was a big thing to pass high school then, and it was terrific to have someone from their community achieve it. After that, Bhimrao Ambedkar obtained degrees in Economics and Political Science in 1912, breaking all records in the field of studies.
In 1913, he went to America for post-graduation, and there in 1915, from Columbia University, he did his M.A. The following year, he was awarded a Ph.d. for one of his research projects. In 1916, he published “Evolution of Provincial Finance in British India.” B.R. Ambedkar went to London in 1916 with his doctoral degree, where he studied law at the London School of Economics and enrolled in the degree for a Doctorate in Economics.
However, in the next year, after the scholarship money ran out, he had to leave his studies in the middle and return to India. After that, he came to India and did a lot of other jobs like clerical jobs and the job of an accountant. He completed his research by going back to London in 1923 with the help of his remaining money. He was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science by the University. Since then, he has spent the rest of his life serving society. He participated in many campaigns for the independence of India, wrote many books for the social freedom of Dalits, and made India an independent nation. In 1926 he became a member of the Mumbai Legislative Council.
Being an eminent economist endowed with foresight, Dr. Ambedkar Saheb contributed substantially to formulating a post-war economic development plan in general and water resources and electric-power development. Another highlighting point is that because of his initiative, the Constitution of India has directed, “no child below the age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any factory, mine or engaged in any hazardous employment”. In 1990, Dr. Ambedkar Saheb was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award. Although Dr. B.R. Ambedkar ji passed away on 6th December 1956, his activities and contribution proved that “Life should be great rather than long,” which he believed.