By Dr. Kapilendra Das*
Bharat Ratna Babasaheb Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, an eminent economist, famous historian, prominent jurist, renowned scholar, strong anthropologist, a statesman, social scientist, emancipator, great educationalist, true nationalist, prolific writer, revolutionist a great visionary, and at the top a great constitutionalist was born in the soil of India on 14th April 1891.
To honor and remember his personality and his immense contributions and service to India, his birthday is celebrated every year on 14th April with great passion all over India. To understand the personality of Dr. Ambedkar and his achievements, visions, and policies we have to rethink and remember.
Dr. Ambedkar was a man of thirst for education example for the activists and acquired MA, Ph.D., M.Sc, D.Sc, Barrister-at-law, L.L.D, D.Litt, etc educational qualification.
Terming Ambedkar as “Mahapurus (a great man)” once Prime Minister – Narendra Modi said “I have seen poverty I have lived with it and there is a lot to be done for the uplift of the downtrodden of the society to whose betterment Baba Saheb Ambedkar was committed. If Ambedkar had not been there, where this Modi would be ?”.
Ambedkar was voted “ the greatest Indian” in 2012 by a poll organized by History TV18.
The Government of Maharashtra has acquired a house in London where Ambedkar lived during his days as a student and this house is converted into a museum-cum-memorial to Ambedkar. As such the Government has done a highly commendable work of publication of unpublished great works of literature of Dr. Ambedkar, which have brought out his ideology and philosophy before the world. His writings are as relevant today as we’re at the time when these were written which would be beneficial to our nation-building endeavor.
Dr. Ambedkar is considered as “The Greatest Alumni of Columbia University”. A bust was installed in his honor. Columbia University Vice-President and provost, while awarding the degree of the law said: “Dr. B.R. Ambedkar as a great reformer and a valiant upholder of human rights”.
On 2, April 1967 a 3.66-meter tall bronze statue of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was installed in the Parliament of India and was unveiled by the then President of India Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan on 12, April 1990 a portrait of Dr. Ambedkar is put in the Central Hall of Parliament House and another portrait in the Parliamentary museum and archives of the parliament house.
In his honor, Indian post Issued stamps dedicated to his birthday in 1966, 1973, 1991, 2001, and 2013 and featured him on other stamps in 2009, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2020. In his honor public institutions- 13 colleges, 36 Universities, and Research Institutes, 12 films, 4 Railway Stations, 2 Airports, 9 Stadiums, 15 museums, Park and buildings, 5 Libraries, 8 Hospitals, 4 villages and towns, 8 organizations are named and being managed.
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar one of the revolutionary sons of modern India, his great contribution as the principal architect of the Indian constitution (a cornerstone of a nation) is widely acclaimed and accepted. Various countries all over the world have followed the Indian constitution. He presented the constitution (a cornerstone of India) to the people with the hope that with the new constitution the governments will be in a position to establish peace, love, harmony, and brotherhood throughout the nation, to eradicate socio-economic evils. He had a hope that one citizenship, one identity, and one voting right will bring equality among people.
Granville Austin described that the Indian Constitution drafted by Ambedkar as “First and foremost a social document.”
Talking about Ambedkar in his speech at the Indian parliament on 08, November 2010 U.S President Barack Obama said “We believe that no matter who you are or where you come from, every person can fulfill their God-given potential, just as a Dalit like Dr. Ambedkar could lift himself and pen the words of the constitution that protects the rights of all Indians”.
Dr. Ambedkar was an eminent economist. He wrote three scholarly books on economics: 1- Administration and Finance of the East India Company, 2- The Evolution of Provincial Finance in British India, 3- The problem of the Rupees: Its origin and its solution (The Legislative Assembly passed this under the name of RBI Act-1934). He played a vital role in the formation and establishment of the Reserve Bank of India.
Prof. Amartya Sen, 6th India to get prestigious Nobel Prize has claimed “Ambedkar is my Father in Economics. He is the true celebrated champion of the underprivileged. He deserves more than what he has achieved today. However, he was a highly controversial figure in his home country, though it was not the reality. His contribution in the field of economics is marvelous and will be remembered forever…..”
As such Narendra Jadhav, a notable Indian Economist said “Ambedkar was the highest educated Indian economist of all times.”
Dr. Ambedkar was a great visionary social scientist, Emancipator, and a devoted social reformer who wanted the social reforms not as Philanthropy but as a right of the Dalit Community and tried to produce in them the will of independence from the shackles of the unjust Hindu caste system.
It is important to go back to Dr. Ambedkar’s view on women. His vision of a discrimination-free society was the main impetus behind ideas about women. He wanted women to have the right to divorce, inter-caste marriages, and above all women’s empowerment. The constitution of India grants equality to women. All the same, they are struggling to maintain their dignity and freedom. India has been named the most dangerous county in the world for women in the recent Thomson Reuters Foundation Survey – 2018.
He focused on socio-economy, and political democracy and tried to eradicate social and economic evils that India has been facing till today. He was a universal icon of liberty, equality, and fraternity.
Dr. Ambedkar stocked his library with more than 50,000 books. It is almost impossible to state his extraordinarily vast educational experience.
No wonder he is also popularly known as the “symbol of knowledge” and “the sign of information” for which the world respects him as great knowledgeable. Once Ambedkar read about the great personalities of the world, but now he is read by the great personalities of the world.
His messages to his followers “ educate, agitate, and organize” still resounds the corridors of Indian socio-political right.
Dr. Ambedkar sacrificed his whole life for the nation and proved himself as a real countryman. We can draw inspiration from his ideology, philosophy, views, polities, and achievements. He is remembered as a source of eternal inspiration. India’s pandemic response still needed Ambedkar’s vision of social security and public health.
Indeed, Dr. Ambedkar was one of the foremost makers of modern India and was awarded posthumously Bharat Ratna.
On 6th, December 1956 Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, a great son of India and an outstanding personality breathed his last leaving behind billions of his followers in tears.
Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India, while paying tribute to Dr. Ambedkar on 6th December 1956 in the Indian parliament had said that he was the chief architect of the constitution and a symbol of revolt and he rebelled against, something against which all ought to rebel.
India remembers Dr. Ambedkar with devotion and dedication, the foreigners with surprise, the fellowmen with faith, the fanatics with jealousy, and the critics with helplessness.
Though he is unseen to our eyes but felt in the hearts of all. His ideology and vision will remain a reality and rethinking even today.
*Educationalist and Social Activist