It is only few leaders across the globe who have been successful enough to attain larger than life personality in the heart of every Indian citizen. Today on 14th April, India celebrates the birth anniversary of its “National Hero” Dr. B.R Ambedkar (commonly called as Babasaheb) by paying tribute to their great leader in the form of carrying out huge processions and rallies across the cities in his memories.
Dr. B.R Ambedkar (Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar), an iconic personality who is a leading figure not only for the Indians but known across the world for championing the cause of downtrodden, under-privileged and marginalized class in Indian society. In real terms, Dr. Ambedkar’s thoughts and his scholarly written works are national treasure.
Born on 14 April, 1891 in Mhow district of current Madhya Pradesh in a family of untouchables, Dr. Ambedkar faced numerous hardships and socio-economic discrimination in all walks of his life right from his childhood.
Dr. Ambedkar married to Ramabai at a very early age of fifteen in 1906 and completed his matriculation next year. Then after, he completed his graduation degree in political science and economics from University of Bombay. Later on he was conferred with a PhD degree by Columbia university and London school of economics. Few years back, the same Columbia university while preparing the list of 100 best scholars of the world mentioned his name at the top of the list.
Dr. Ambedkar was a remarkable scholar, jurist, barrister (gray’s inn) a politician, an activist and in a true sense a mass leader.
In his political career Dr.Ambedkar kept an undaunted attitude towards practical difficulties in dealing with rigid and orthodox mindsets. He formed an “Independent labour party” and contested for central legislative assembly elections. In first general elections of 1952, congress party fielded its candidates against Dr.Ambedkar from Bombay North and defeated him, though later on he was appointed as a member of Rajya Sabha. Dr.Ambedkar had critical views in many national issues, similar like he carried on religion in India.
On one hand he criticized the orthodox practices amongst Hindus and vociferously fought for Hindu code bill in the parliament, which later became one of the major cause of his resignation from cabinet in 1951 as the bill was stalled in the Parliament. On the other side, he denounced the Islamic practices perpetrating the cause of miseries among Muslim women. Ambedkar said, “Muslim women are the most helpless person in the world”.
On the dispute pertaining to Jammu Kashmir, Dr. Ambedkar being a chairman of the drafting committee, refused to insert article 370 in the constitution of India, which was still in making at that time. He said…
“Mr. Abdullah, you want that India should defend Kashmir. You wish India should protect your borders, she should build roads in your area, she should supply you food grains, and Kashmir should get equal status as India, but you don’t want India and any citizen of India to have any rights in Kashmir and Government of India should have only limited powers. To give consent to this proposal would be a treacherous thing against the interests of India, and I, as the Law Minister of India, will never do. I cannot betray the interests of my country.” : Dr. Ambedkar
It is after this statement, Sheikh Abdullah having no other choice approached Pandit Nehru for insertion of Article 370 in Indian constitution, the task which Pandit Nehru assigned to Gopala Swami Ayyengar.
Role in Constitution-making:
Dr. Ambedkar also performed the role of a constitution maker. Heading the drafting committee, he along with other constituent assembly members gave the people of India on November 26, 1949, the largest constitution of the world which was adopted on January 26, 1950. Constitution prepared under the excellent guidance of Dr. Ambedkar gives guarantees and protection in terms of civil liberties, religious freedoms to each Indian citizen without any discrimination.
He advocated reservation for SC, ST and OBC in educational institution and government jobs and offices. Purpose was to bring the SC, ST and OBC at par with other citizens of the country so that downtrodden individuals also get an opportunity to enter into mainstream society. Dr. Ambedkar introduced affirmative constitutional provisions, for women and children also, in Constitution of India.
Contribution to Economy:
In India’s economic development, Dr.Ambedkar had a key role to play. He was a trained economist who extensively wrote on economic fundamentals of India during British colonial rule. He stressed on investment in agriculture and industry.
Posthumously, Dr.Ambedkar was awarded with “Bharat Ratna”, highest civilian order of the country.
 Balraj Madhok’s article published in Organiser, in its Deepawali edition of November 14, 2004.” Author also mentioned this fact in his book, “Kashmir – The Storm Centre of the World” that Dr. Ambedkar himself told the author that he flatly refused to aceept Abdullah's plea. He told him that as Law Minister of India he could not give a status to Jammu and Kashmir which would make it a republic within a republic in which India and Indians will have only responsibilities and no rights.