B R Ambedkar (14 April 1891 – 6 December 1956) was an Indian jurist, economist and Dalit leader, who worked to uplift the Dalits and other backward people in India throughout his life. Also known as the “Father of Indian Constitution”.
In addition to drafting the Constitution of India, he served as Law and Justice minister in Jawaharlal Nehru‘s first cabinet and inspired the Dalit Buddhist movement after giving up Hinduism.
B. R. Ambedkar was born on 14 April 1891, in Madhya Pradesh, India. When Ambedkar was a kid, he struggled with a lot of problems, but he finally got through them. After moving to Bombay with his family in 1897, he enrolled at ‘Elphinstone High School’, becoming the first untouchable to get a higher education. In 1907, he completed his matriculation.
When he enrolled in Elphinstone College in 1908, he created history once more by becoming the first untouchable to go to college. He graduated with a degree in economics and political science from Elphinstone College in 1912.
His first job was with the state government of Baroda, but he didn’t last long since he won the ‘Baroda State Scholarship,’ which allowed him to go to Columbia University in New York City for postgraduate studies. In 1913, he moved to America.
In 1915 he got his MA, majoring in economics, but also studying sociology, philosophy, and anthropology. Then he got his Ph.D. in economics, in 1927.
He went to Gray’s Inn in 1916 for a bar course, but his scholarship ended, and he had to return to India.
In India, he served as Defence Secretary for the Princely State of Baroda. After resigning as defense secretary, he started working as a private tutor and accountant. Finally, he got a job at the ‘Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics’ in Mumbai.
As soon as he had enough money, he moved to London to finish his education. In 1921, he got his master’s at the London School of Economics. Two years later, he got his D.Sc. in economics. After completing his law studies, he was admitted to the British bar as a barrister.
When he returned to India, he became a lawyer. In order to eradicate caste discrimination, he founded the ‘Bahishkrit Hitakarini Sabha.’ Their main aim was to provide education for the backward classes.
He joined the Bombay Presidency Committee under the All-European Simon Commission in 1925.
He actively opposed untouchability in 1927. To avoid violence, he led a ‘Satyagraha‘ movement. Initially, he fought for the right of the untouchables to access the main water source and worship in the temple.
In 1932, he was invited to London for the Second Round Table Conference.
He became the principal of the ‘Government Law College’ in 1935 and held that position for two years. He founded the Independent Labour Party the next year, which won 14 seats in the 1937 Bombay elections.
His book, The Annihilation of Caste, was published in 1936, and in which he ridiculed Hindu orthodox leaders and criticized the caste system here. Then he wrote ‘Who Were the Shudras?’, in which he explained how they became untouchables.
He died on 6 December 1956, in New Delhi, India.
Drafting the Indian Constitution
Upon India’s independence, Jawaharlal Nehru invited Babasaheb Ambedkar to be the Law Minister of the Dominion of India. He also became the chairman of the drafting committee for the constitution of India.
By drafting the Constitution, he hoped to bring about a social revolution in the country and get rid of discrimination. The Constitution provided full religious freedom, ended untouchability, put women’s rights in place, and bridged the gap between classes.
Besides framing the Constitution, he also helped create the ‘Finance Commission of India.’ His policies helped the nation progress economically and socially. Besides free trade, he emphasized a stable rupee.
In 1956, he renounced Hinduism at a Nagpur ceremony, in despair at the perpetuation of untouchability within Hindu doctrine and became a Buddhist.
Award and Legacy
In 1990, he was awarded the Bharat Ratna posthumously.
Several public institutions were named after him, like Nagpur’s Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar, and Ambedkar University Delhi is also named in his honor.