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Biography

Politics & War

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar
EARLY LIFE

 

  • Ambedkar was born on 14 April 1891 in the town and military cantonment of Mhow (now Dr. Ambedkar Nagar) in the Central Provinces (now in Madhya Pradesh).
  • He was the 14th and last child of Ramji Maloji Sakpal, an army officer who held the rank of Subedar, and Bhimabai Sakpal, daughter of Laxman Murbadkar.
  • Ambedkar was born into a poor low Mahar (dalit) caste, who were treated as untouchables and subjected to socio-economic discrimination. Ambedkar’s ancestors had long worked for the army of the British East India Company, and his father served in the British Indian Army at the Mhow cantonment. Although they attended school, Ambedkar and other untouchable children were segregated and given little attention or help by teachers.
EDUCATION

 

  • In 1897, Ambedkar’s family moved to Mumbai where Ambedkar became the only untouchable enrolled at Elphinstone High School. In 1906, when he was about 15 years old, his marriage to a nine-year-old girl, Ramabai, was arranged.
  • In 1907, he passed his matriculation examination and in the following year he entered Elphinstone College, which was affiliated to the University of Bombay.
  • 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 USA
  • In 1913, Ambedkar moved to the United States at the age of 22. He had been awarded a Baroda State Scholarship that was designed to provide opportunities for postgraduate education at Columbia University in New York City.
  • He passed his M.A. exam in June 1915, majoring in Economics, and other subjects of Sociology, History, Philosophy and Anthropology. He presented a thesis, Ancient Indian Commerce. Ambedkar was influenced by John Dewey and his work on democracy.
GENIUS

 

  • In 1916 he completed his second thesis, National Dividend of India – A Historic and Analytical Study, for another M.A., and finally he received his PhD in Economics in 1927 for his third thesis, after he left for London.
  • On 9 May, he presented the paper Castes in India: Their Mechanism, Genesis and Development before a seminar conducted by the anthropologist Alexander Goldenweis.
  • In October 1916, he enrolled for the Bar course at Gray’s Inn, and at the same time enrolled at the London School of Economics where he started working on a doctoral thesis.
GENIUS

 

  • He got permission to return to London to submit his thesis within four years. He returned at the first opportunity, and completed a master’s degree in 1921.
  • In 1922, he was called to the Bar by Gray’s Inn and in 1923 he presented his thesis titled “The problem of the rupee: Its origin and its solution”.
  • He completed a D.Sc. in Economics in the same year. His third and fourth Doctorates were conferred honoris causa
 RATNA

 

  • n 1918, he became Professor of Political Economy in the Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai. Although he was successful with the students, other professors objected to his sharing a drinking-water jug with them.
  • n 1920, he began the publication of the weekly Mooknayak (Leader of the Silent) in Mumbai with the help of Shahu of Kolhapur.
  • While practising law in the Bombay High Court, he tried to promote education to untouchables and uplift them.
 RATNA

 

  • For the defence of Dalit rights, he started five periodicals – Mooknayak (the leader of the dumb, 1920), Bahishkrit Bharat (Ostracized India, 1924), Samta (Equality, 1928), Janata (The People, 1930), and Prabuddha Bharat (Enlightened India, 1956).
  • By 1927, Ambedkar had decided to launch active movements against untouchability.
  • On 25 December 1927, he led thousands of followers to burn copies of Manusmrti. Thus annually 25 December is celebrated as Manusmriti Dahan Din (Manusmriti Burning Day) by Ambedkarites and Dalits
POONA PACT

 

  • In 1932, British announced the formation of a separate electorate for “Depressed Classes” in the Communal Award. Gandhi fiercely opposed a separate electorate for untouchables, saying he feared that such an arrangement would divide the Hindu community.
  • Gandhi protested by fasting while imprisoned in the Yerwada Central Jail of Poona. Following the fast, Congress politicians and activists such as Madan Mohan Malaviya and Palwankar Baloo organised joint meetings with Ambedkar and his supporters at Yerwada.
POONA PACT

 

  • On 25 September 1932, the agreement known as Poona Pact was signed between Ambedkar (on behalf of the depressed classes among Hindus) and Madan Mohan Malaviya (on behalf of the other Hindus).
  • The agreement gave reserved seats for the depressed classes in the Provisional legislatures, within the general electorate. Due to the pact, the depressed class received 148 seats in the legislature, instead of the 71 as allocated in the Communal Award earlier proposed by British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald.
 Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (Babasaheb Ambedkar) PART 2

 

RATNA

 

  • In 1935, Ambedkar was appointed principal of the Government Law College, Bombay, a position he held for two years. He also served as the chairman of Governing body of Ramjas College, University of Delhi.
  • Ambedkar oversaw the construction of a house, and stocked his personal library with more than 50,000 books. His wife Ramabai died after a long illness the same year.
RATNA

 

  • In 1936, Ambedkar founded the Independent Labour Party, which contested the 1937 Bombay election to the Central Legislative Assembly for the 13 reserved and 4 general seats, and secured 11 and 3 seats respectively. Ambedkar was elected to the Bombay Legislative Assembly as a legislator (MLA).
  • Ambedkar published his book Annihilation of Caste on 15 May 1936. Ambedkar wrote a 400-page tract titled Thoughts on Pakistan, which analysed the concept of “Pakistan” in all its aspects.
RATNA

 

  • In his work Who Were the Shudras?, Ambedkar tried to explain the formation of untouchables.
  • Ambedkar had twice became a member of the Parliament of India representing Bombay State in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament.
  • His first term as a Rajya Sabha member was between 3 April 1952 and 2 April 1956, and his second term was to be held from 3 April 1956 to 2 April 1962, but before the expiry of the term, he died on 6 December 1956
CONSTITUTION

 

  • Upon India’s independence on 15 August 1947, the new Congress-led government invited Ambedkar to serve as the nation’s first Law and Justice Minister, which he accepted.
  • On 29 August, he was appointed Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee, and was appointed by the Constituent Assembly to write India’s new Constitution.
CONSTITUTION

 

  • The text prepared by Ambedkar provided constitutional guarantees and protections for a wide range of civil liberties for individual citizens, including freedom of religion, the abolition of untouchability, and the outlawing of all forms of discrimination.
  • Ambedkar argued for extensive economic and social rights for women, and won the Assembly’s support for introducing a system of reservations of jobs in the civil services, schools and colleges for members of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and Other Backward Class, a system akin to affirmative action.
  • The Constitution was adopted on 26 November 1949 by the Constituent Assembly. Ambedkar opposed Article 370 of the Constitution of India, which granted a special status to the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and which was included against his wishes.
CONSTITUTION

 

  • During the debates in the Constituent Assembly, Ambedkar demonstrated his will to reform Indian society by recommending the adoption of a Uniform Civil Code.
  • Ambedkar resigned from the cabinet in 1951, when parliament stalled his draft of the Hindu Code Bill, which sought to enshrine gender equality in the laws of inheritance and marriage
  • Ambedkar independently contested an election in 1952 to the lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha, but was defeated in the Bombay (North Central)constituency.
POLITICS

 

  • He was appointed to the upper house of parliament, the Rajya Sabha in March 1952 and would remain as member until death.
  • Ambedkar was the first Indian to pursue a doctorate in economics abroad. He argued that industrialisation and agricultural growth could enhance the Indian economy.
  • Ambedkar’s first wife Ramabai died in 1935 after a long illness. He went to Bombay for treatment, and there met Dr. Sharada Kabir, a Saraswat Brahmin, whom he married on 15 April 1948, at his home in New Delhi. She was 39 year old and he was 57.
BUDDHISM

 

  • Instead, he studied Buddhism all his life. Around 1950, he devoted his attention to Buddhism and travelled to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) to attend a meeting of the World Fellowship of Buddhists.
  • In 1955, he founded the Bharatiya Bauddha Mahasabha, or the Buddhist Society of India. He completed his final work, The Buddha and His Dhamma, in 1956 which was published posthumously. • Ambedkar organised a formal public ceremony for himself and his supporters in Deekshabhoomi, Nagpur on 14 October 1956 and converted to
BUDDHISM DEATH

 

  • Since 1948, Ambedkar suffered from diabetes. He was bed-ridden from June to October in 1954 due to medication side-effects and poor eyesight.
  • His health worsened during 1955. Three days after completing his final manuscript The Buddha and His Dhamma, Ambedkar died in his sleep on 6 December 1956 at his home in Delhi.
  • Buddhist cremation was organised at Dadar Chowpatty beach (Chaitya Bhoomi) on 7 December, attended by half a million grieving people.