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Biography of Bharat Ratna “Dr. Bhim Rao Ramji Ambedkar” complete biography for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Dr. Bhim Rao Ramji Ambedkar

(1891-1956)

The life of Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar is the saga of a great crusader who had become a living legend during his own life time. A true socialist he sought to establish social democracy which could satisfy the economic, social, educational and cultural aspirations of the people. A revolutionary to the very core of his heart, he fought relentlessly against the evils of social system.

A many-faceted genius, he was a distinguished economist, a learned professor, a brilliant lawyer, a reputed author, an orator par excellence and a great political leader, but above all he left an indelible mark as to how one could attain the heights of glory through self-help and self-respect. Acting on these principles he rose to international eminence.

Born in 1891 at Mhow in Madhya Pradesh, Bhimrao Ramji was the fourteenth child of a Mahar family. His father Ramji Maloji Sankpal was a Subedar Major in the army and a Kabirpanthi devotee. Educated at Satara and Bombay, he took his surname ‘Ambavadekar’ from his native village. A Brahmin teacher at the high school in Satara who was fond of this young pupil, changed his name to Ambedkar in the school records and it stuck for good.

In 1913, he was awarded a Baroda State Scholarship. Subsequently Ambedkar proceeded to the United States and joined Columbia University in New York, where two years later he took his

M.A. in Economics with a dissertation on ‘Ancient Indian Commerce’. He obtained a doctorate from the same University.

In 1916 Ambedkar had moved to the London School of Economics and prepared for the Bar. A year later, however, he had to discontinue his studies owing to financial exigencies. He briefly taught at Sydenham College of Commerce, Bombay, as Lecturer in Political Economy, but in 1920 resumed his studies in London and obtained M.Sc. (1921) and D.Sc. (1923) Degrees. His D.Sc. thesis was later published under the title The Problem of the Rupee.

On returning home in June 1924 Ambedkar started legal practice at the Bombay High Court. This was the beginning of an active public career where he served as social worker, politician, writer, educationist. The same year he founded ‘Bahishkrit Hitkarini Sabha’ (Association for the Welfare of the Depressed Classes) in Bombay for the moral and material progress of untouchables. In 1927 he started a Marathi fortnightly, Bahishkrit Bharat and in December 1930, the Janata, a weekly.

 Another organization that Ambedkar established in 1927 was the Samaj Samata Sangh through which he preached social equality among untouchables and caste Hindus. Inter-caste marriages and inter-caste meals were an integral part of this programme. The Sangh’s organ, the Samata was started in March 1929.

 In December 1927 Ambedkar led a satyagraha to establish the civic rights of untouchables to draw water from a public tank “Chavdar Talen” at Mahad, in Kolaba district. Three years later in 1930 he led another satyagraha to establish untouchables’ right to enter the famous temple of Kalaram at Nasik.

Besides his leadership of the Depressed Classes, Ambedkar’s eminence as a jurist began to be widely recognized. In 1928 he was appointed Professor at Government Law College, Bombay and subsequently its Principal. Seven years later in 1935 he was offered the coveted Perry Professorship of Jurisprudence. He was a nominated Member of the Bombay Legislative Council (1926-34). This vantage position enabled him to sponsor several bills for the welfare of his community, of which he now emerged as the principal spokesman. He was an official nominee to the three Round Table Conferences (1930-33) and continued to serve on some of their Committees till 1934. His appointment, it has been said, marked a milestone in the socio-political struggle of his community.

While his powerful solicitude for his people was shared by many, Ambedkar’s more militant stance, that they be organized politically and treated as distinct from the Hindus, had fewer supporters. This led to a long drawn-out conflict with Mahatma Gandhi punctuated by threats of fast unto death on the one hand and stifled compromises on the other. His demand for separate electorate for the untouchables was opposed by Gandhi at the meeting of the Minorities Committee of the “Second Round Table Conference (November 1931) as Gandhi ‘eh that it would permanently divide the Hindu society. Gandhi declared to resist such a move. The British Government’s  Communal Award, announced on 17 August 1932, conceded separate electorate for the untouchables. Gandhi went on fast unto death on 20 September 1932 and finally on 24 September the ‘Poona pact’ was made in the Yervada Jail which provided for reservation in of seats for the untouchables in the general constituencies. Gandhi claimed the untouchables as an integral part of the Hindu society and he named them Harijans (People of God). Afterwards this name was popularly used to denote this particular sec in of the Hindus.

The compromise was something to which Ambedkar had agreed with great reservations; he was bitter and voiced his strong personal resentment against it. With an uncanny political acumen, he set up an Independent Labour Party in 1936 which captured all the Scheduled Caste seats in Bombay Presidency in the 1936-37 general elections. Later, in April 1942, he organized the All India Scheduled Castes Federation as a political party. To promote the interests of his community he established the People’s Education Society in July 1945. The Society was instrumental in starting a number of colleges for scheduled caste students in Bombay Presidency.

From July 1942 to March 1946 Ambedkar Governor General’s Executive Council as labour Member and brought about several changed in the working of the department. Later, the Indian National Congress nominated him to the Constituent Assembly in whose deliberation s he was to play a prominent role. His thorough knowledge and understanding of constitutional law marked him out as one of the chief architects of Independent India’s Republican Constitution.

While Law Minister in Jawaharlal Nehru’s Cabinet, Ambedkar held the post of Chairman of the Constituent Assembly’s Drafting Committee also and presented before it the Draft Constitution on 4 November 1948. Later, he piloted it successfully. He also made a signal contribution towards the drafting of the Hindu Code Bill which made him known as ‘a modern Manu’ (after the celebrated Hindu Law Giver). Ambedkar resigned from the Cabinet in September 1951. Later, in 1952 and 1953, he lost two successive elections to Parliament.

In October 1935 Ambedkar announced for the first time that his followers would leave the Hindu faith altogether for, within it, they would never win social equality. During 1938-40 he turned to Sikhism, but his efforts to gain a special place for his community within the Sikh fold proved unsuccessful. On 14 October 1956 Ambedkar embraced Buddhism at a well-attended ceremony at Nagpur and advised his followers to accept the new faith and himself gave Deeksha to hundreds of thousands. In retrospect, however, the exercise proved futile, for it did not alter existing realities. Further, before long, many reverted to their earlier, older faith. In November 1956, he attended the fourth conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists at Kathmandu. This was his last public appearance. He breathed his last in sleep in Delhi on 6 December 1956.

It may be said that the life work of this great man, marks one of the most turbulent careers of Indian politics. He was a man of extraordinary qualities. His public career which, for all practical purposes, started in the year 1930, continued with unabated vigour and reached its culmination with the adoption of the Constitution of Independent India in the year 1950 an eventful period of two decades in the most exciting phase of India’s freedom struggle. Dr. Ambedkar, with his great intelligence, influenced Indian politics and made a great impact on every aspect of our national life. His contribution to the evolution of free India lies in his striving for secularising Indian politics. He was a rebel who struggled for providing justice— political, social and economic to one and all. He generated the spirit of liberalism and nationalism into the lives of not only the untouchables but of all Indians.

As a leader of the Scheduled Castes Federation, Dr. Ambedkar demanded constitutional safeguards and security. Even though his, demands infuriated many prominent politicians in those days, many others respected his sincerity of purpose and reasoning of his stand. Dr. Ambedkar exhorted the Scheduled Castes and other backward communities to meet under one banner and exhibit their united strength.

                  His pragmatic approach to political and social problems enabled him to become the revolutionary of this century. His revolution came not through war and violence but through democratic means. Dr. Ambedkar had great faith in democracy and in its efficacy to solve social problems.

 As a lover of democracy, Dr. Ambedkar exerted his influence to evolve a Parliamentary form of Constitution to Republican India. He also thought that a Unitary form of administration would most suit for the Indian conditions. Dr. Ambedkar was opposed to exploitation of all kinds. He criticized economic exploitation, concentration of wealth and the poverty of the people. Hence capitalism was never his creed. According to him caste itself was an institution for exploitation and domination. It was meant to exploit the weaker sections of the community by the economically and socially dominant classes. He was opposed to both capitalism and communism; through his speeches and writings, he pleaded for the establishment of “State Socialism” through parliamentary democracy. The destiny gave him the mightier job and as the draftsman of the Republican Constitution, he laid down the broad principles on these lines.

 Dr. Ambedkar was one of the few politicians who excelled in academic field. He was a great scholar of Economics. He was the only Parliamentarian at that time who could give authoritative statistical information and elucidated explanation on matters relating to India’s finance and banking. He had studied Public Finance under Prof. Edwin Seligman and obtained his Ph. D. from the Columbia University for his thesis, “National Dividend of India: A Historical and Analytical Study”. At the London School of Economics, he prepared the thesis ‘Provincial Decentralization of Imperial Finance in India” for which he got the Master of Science Degree. Then he got his D.Sc. from the London University for his magnum-opus, “The Problem of the Rupee”. During his stay abroad, Dr: Ambedkar came into close contact with many leading authorities like Prof. Laski, Prof. Edwin Cannan, Lord Clement Richard Attlee and others. His natural flair and acquired knowledge made him a great authority on contemporary economic and political issues of India. His views on various economic problems were regarded as authoritative. He advocated rapid industrialization for economic growth. Along with industrialization he explained that agriculture should not be neglected. Towards that end he proposed radical measures for the reorganization of the agricultural sector. He was of the opinion that caste is an economic proposition, and, to remove caste system the whole economic structure of the Indian villages should be reorganized.

 Dr. Ambedkar dedicated his whole life for the eradication of untouchability. As the leader and champion of the depressed classes, he denounced the caste system vehemently. In his crusade against untouchability, the most important landmarks were the Mahad Satyagraha of 1927 and Temple Entry Movement of 1930 in Nasik. The epic struggle at Mahad, in March 1927, made Dr. Ambedkar an All-India leader. He was the first leader to realize that the panacea for all social ills is the spread of education and economic development.

  Realising the fact that the root cause of all evils is ignorance, he took the first step towards removing illiteracy and ignorance. The People’s Education Society which he founded in 1945 established a number of educational institutions in different parts of Maharashtra. Thus Dr. Ambedkar was also an emancipator; a prophet of peaceful social change.

 Ambedkar was a nationalist, democrat and a patriot par excellence. He proved to be a great statesman, besides being an intellectual who was also extraordinarily forthright and outspoken in his views. His courage of conviction was something astounding, and he never compromised his principles even for the sake of his people. He sought to liberate Indian politics from the crippling effects of parochialism, traditionalism and theology. In his capacity as the Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Constituent Assembly he hammered out a comprehensive and a workable constitution into which he incorporated some of his views, though not all of them. He gave free India its legal frame, and the people the basis of their freedom. By all counts his name will figure prominently in history of the socio-political and constitutional evolution of India during the final phase of the British rule which ended with the ushering-in of the Sovereign Democratic Republic of India.

Harijans would certainly remember him as their saviour. But Indian nationals cannot but admire his legal acumen, sociological insight, and vast constitutional knowledge_ He was a rare combination of these abilities. And it is through these faculties of his that he had contributed to the political evolution of India. Students of the Indian Constitution are proud of his memorable services to India’s Constitution making.

All may not agree with his controversial politics and his political and social ideas. But his solid contribution to the growth of political traditions of India cannot be denied even by his critics. Ambedakar’s role as a politician and his intellectual contribution, have become an integral part of the story of India’s political evolution. He did not dominate Indian politics like Gandhi and Nehru, but he did influence important political decisions and his remarkable ability for constructive statesmanship manifested during the period of Constitution making. Those who go through the proceedings of the Indian Constituent Assembly cannot go without being struck by the astonishing range of Ambedakar’s knowledge and capacity for convincing others with facts and arguments. Ambedakar’s role as a Minister, was no smooth-sailing and he had to cross swords with his colleagues and with the Prime Minister himself and consequently had to resign his Ministership from Nehru Cabinet.

Besides his usual activities, Dr. Ambedakar was a voracious reader. He studied a good deal of literature of so many countries. To Ambedakar love of books was the greatest means of education and self-development and the highest type of recreation and enjoyment. He never read for amusement. “What instruct me”, he observed “amuse me”. He would read a book on any subject, be it history, economics, law, sociology, literature, philosophy, or anthropology. He was equally proficient in all these subjects. The educational institutions which have been established at Bombay, Aurangabad, etc., are a testimony to his great love of learning. He left behind in his house a private collection of books larger than many public libraries. He knew seven languages, and was equally proficient in each one of them. Not only was he a voracious reader, but also an author of distinction. He was a great writer of books. His books are the products of mature thought, and command respect from readers, both at home and abroad. Some of his outstanding books are who were the Sudras, Castes in India, Thoughts on Pakistan, Ranade, Gandhi and jinnah, and The Untouchable, Those who read his books cannot fail to be impressed with the steadfastness with which he pursued truth; and only those who have dispassionately read his books can form a true estimate of the greatness of the man.

Dr. Ambedakar had been a widower for a long time. Married at 14 in 1905, he lost his wife in 1935. In 1948 at the age of 57 he married for the second time. This time the bride was not from his own caste. She was a Saraswat Brahmin. Tall and dark, Dr. Ambedakar had a rough exterior, but was human from within. All through his life, he had been spurred by difficulties, but never ended and never yielded to pressure. He proved in his career that a man’s worth did not depend on riches, high birth and good connections. He was a great patriot who fought for the cause of the downtrodden without sacrificing the wider interests of the nation. In December 1946, in his first speech in the Constituent Assembly, he issued a call for a united India therein.

Dr. Ambedakar will go down in history as one of the greatest constitutionalists of India. He did a splendid work in piloting the Constitution in the Constituent Assembly. His sharp and trenchant replies to critics, his sound arguments and his perseverance, made the passage of the Constitution possible in a comparatively short time. As a man of thought and action, he influenced India’s political and constitutional development immensely. His outlook on life was essentially practical and realistic. Had he devoted more time to more fundamental issues of politics and society, he would have certainly eclipsed many social and political thinkers and the world. Dr. Ambedakar’s ‘loyalty to India was as great as his hatred for the traditional values of the orthodox Hindu society. In this respect it would be worth quoting his last words to the Constituent Assembly ‘We must be determined to defend our independence till the last drop of our blood’. Let us make note of the concluding statement which Dr. Ambedakar made during his speech in the Constituent Assembly adopting Free India’s Constitution – ‘Our work is over; Let the sun rise tomorrow —New India gets political freedom and liberty; but social liberty and economic liberty are yet to come!’

 The nation conferred its highest award Bharat Ratna posthumously on him on 14 April 1990 as a mark of recognition of his services to the country. His wife Dr. Savita Ambedkar received this honour on his behalf from the President R. Venkataraman at a special ceremony in Rashtrapati Bhawan. It is apt that the nation celebrated the birth centenary year (April 14, 1990 to April 14, 1991) of Dr. Ambedkar is the year of ‘Social Justice’.

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