Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar: Architect of the Indian Constitution

1 year ago Hassan Kalam | Hunt Media Desk 0

A prolific student, Indian jurist, economist, politician and social reformer, Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, popularly known as Babasaheb was born on April 14, 1891. A staunch supporter of women, labour rights and campaigns against the social discrimination faced by untouchables, became India’s foirst independent law minister. Ambedkar Jayanti is observed every year on this day to commemorate the birthday of Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar and his colossal contributions towards the development of India and empowerment of untouchable and poor people. An economist, lawyer and professor by profession, established the “Bahishkrit Hitkarini Sabha” in the year 1923 to spread awareness about the importance of education. He wanted the Indian society to be society of equals and under no circumstances be divided on the basis of caste. In the light of the same, he organized a social movement with slogan “Educate-Agitate-Organize”.

Ambedkar was born in the town and military cantonment of Mhow in the Central Provinces (now in Madhya Pradesh). His family was of the Marathi origin from the town of Ambadawe (Mandangad taluka) in Ratnagiri district of modern-day Maharashtra. He earned his doctorate in Economics from Columbia University and London School of Economics. Ambedkar himself belonged to a dalit caste and was subjected to the social-economic discrimination. He faced a difficult life in the beginning when untouchable children were segregated and given little attention or help by teachers. They didn’t get the privileges which other students of general caste enjoyed. He received his higher education from Elphinstone High School and was the only untouchable student to be enrolled. He was also the first untouchable to enter Elphinstone College and obtained degree in political science and economics, becoming an inspiration for many others. He went to United States at the age of 22 after he was awarded Baroda State Scholarship of £11.50 (Sterling) per month for three years under a scheme established by Sayajirao Gaekwad III (Gaekwad of Baroda) that was designed to provide opportunities for postgraduate education at Columbia University in New York City. He gained reputation as a scholar for his thesis, Ancient Indian Commerce, National Dividend of India — A Historic and Analytical Study and Castes in India: Their Mechanism, Genesis and Development. He enrolled for the Bar course at Gray’s Inn and London School of Economics where he presented his thesis on “The problem of the rupee: Its origin and its solution”. His third and fourth Doctorates (LL.D, Columbia, 1952 and D.Litt., Osmania, 1953) were conferred honoris causa.

Ambedkar, the principal architect of Indian Constitution and Father of the Republic of India, is known for starting many anti-caste, anti-priest movement and temple entry movement in the country. He believed that political power is not the only way to lift the depressed lower class of our society. He made several legal changes while he was a member of Viceroy’s Executive Council in 1942 to protect the rights of the lower class. After India got independence in 1947, Ambedkar was invited by the congress-led government to serve as the first law minister. He was appointed Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee by the assembly to write the constitution of India. He intended to protect the Fundamental Rights (for the social freedom, equality and eradication of untouchability for low group people) and Directive Principles (enhancing the living status by securing the fair distribution of wealth) of State Policy in the Indian Constitution. In order to make this possible, he introduced the system of reservations of jobs in the civil services, schools and colleges for members of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and Other Backward Class. He is also well known for opposing Article 370, which granted special status to the state of Jammu & Kashmir and also his support for Uniform Civil Code. He independently contested election in 1952 after resigning from cabinet in 1951, but was defeated. He was appointed a member of the Rajya Sabha where he remained till death in 1956.

His life was just like he said – “Life should be great rather than long”.

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