A Harbinger of Inclusivity, Justice and Equality

Dr BR Ambedkar

Dr BR Ambedkar


Bharat Ratna Dr BR Ambedkar, born on April 14, 1891, will ever be revered for his contributions towards building a just and inclusive India.

Bharat Ratna Dr BR Ambedkar, born on April 14, 1891, will ever be revered for his contributions towards building a just and inclusive India. He was a guardian angel of social justice, a harbinger of inclusivity, justice and equality. As an eminent jurist, economist, and social reformer, he dedicated his life to eradicating caste-based discrimination and uplifting the marginalised communities in our country. As the architect of the Indian Constitution, he ensured fundamental rights and safeguards for all citizens. His relentless advocacy for the rights of Dalits and other oppressed castes led to significant reforms in our social fabric.

As his legacy continues to inspire millions globally even today, standing as a beacon of hope for deprived communities striving for dignity and equality, there is a lot we can learn and inspire ourselves from his vision of social justice, which was profoundly rooted in the principles of equality, liberty, and fraternity. He recognised the deep-rooted inequalities entrenched within Indian society, particularly the caste system, which relegated millions to a life of discrimination and oppression. He fought for the abolition of untouchability, which is against the teachings of Vedas.

Atrocious caste-system had jolted him from within. In order to give shock treatment to Hindu society, he embraced Buddhism, which is so deeply rooted in Indian ethos and value system. He was not inimical to Hindutva. He had resentment against Hinduism but he was not opposed to Hinduism. He did not embrace any other alien religion though Islamic and Christian scholars tried their best to influence him.

Coming from a very poor family, Dr Ambedkar suffered multiple social and economic hardships but he did not give up. He fought against odds bravely. He was the 14th child of his parents. His father gave him good sanskar and used to share stories and thoughts of great saints like Tukaram, Gyaneshwar, Ravidas, teachings of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. He did his matriculation in 1908 from Elphinstone High School. He studied Economics and Political Science from Elphinstone College. In 1912, he got the degree from Bombay University.

With the scholarship from Maharaja of Baroda, he went to Columbia University, New York City from where he got Master’s degree in June 1915 after successfully completing his thesis on ‘Ancient Indian Commerce.’ In 1916, he went to the London School of Economics and worked on his doctoral thesis titled ‘The problem of the Rupee: Its origin and its Solution.’ He took Rs 5,000 as loan from Chhatrapati Shahu ji Maharaj for his further studies. In 1920, received the D Sc by London University! He also went to the University of Bonn, Germany. In June, 1927, he was awarded a Doctorate by the University of Columbia. He was a rare Indian politician of his time who studied at Columbia University, LSE and University of Bonn. He inspires us to imbibe the principle of ‘Study and Struggle’ to create an incredible niche for himself as an intellectual as well.

Dr Ambedkar's vision of social justice emphasised the importance of education and political representation for the oppressed castes, viewing them as essential tools for empowerment and emancipation. Through his relentless efforts and advocacy, he laid the foundation for a more inclusive and just society, inspiring generations to continue the struggle for social equality and dignity for all. He believed in the idea and ideals of dialogue. He was against armed struggle to restore the glory of every human being. He believed in the principle of co-existence, following the teachings of truth, non-violence and respect for the people of all castes and religions.

Dr Ambedkar viewed education not merely as a means of acquiring academic qualifications but as a catalyst for the liberation of the oppressed and marginalised communities. He emphasised the importance of universal access to education, particularly for those historically denied opportunities due to caste discrimination and social inequality. He was also an ardent champion of the cultivation of values such as empathy, justice, and equality. According to him, cultivation of the mind should be the ultimate aim of human existence. He was also a great champion of women’s empowerment. He famously said: “I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved.”

It would be unfair on our part if we do not recall and remember his thoughts on national unity and integrity. He held strong convictions about national unity and integrity, recognising them as fundamental pillars for the progress and stability of any nation. Dr Ambedkar advocated for a society where every individual had equal rights and opportunities, emphasising the need for social harmony and mutual respect. He also played a significant role in shaping India’s labour laws. His advocacy led to the inclusion of provisions such as the right to fair wages, safe working conditions, and the prohibition of child labour in the Constitution. His tireless efforts as India’s first Law Minister paved the way for landmark legislation like the Factories Act, the Minimum Wages Act, and the Industrial Disputes Act, which continue to serve as cornerstones of labour rights and industrial progress in the country.

Dr Ambedkar stressed the significance of upholding the principles of democracy, secularism, and constitutionalism to ensure the protection of rights of weaker sections of society and the preservation of national unity. His vision for India was one of inclusivity and pluralism, where diversity was celebrated as a source of strength rather than division. He vehemently condemned the practice, which relegated certain sections of society to a position of extreme marginalization and humiliation. He saw untouchability as not just a moral wrong but also a significant impediment to the social progress and unity of India. He advocated for its complete abolition, stressing the need for legislative measures, social reform.

It was his relentless efforts towards the elimination discrimination which were reflected in his drafting of laws such as the Temple Entry Proclamation in 1936, which aimed to grant access to untouchables in Hindu temples. He championed the cause of Dalits, providing them with a platform to assert their rights and dignity.

Annihilation of Caste stands as one of his most seminal works, articulating a powerful critique of the caste system and advocating for its complete abolition. In this groundbreaking text, he meticulously deconstructs the hierarchical structure of caste, exposing its inherent injustices and pervasive influence on Indian society. He argues that caste not only perpetuates inequality and discrimination but also stifles individual freedom and hinders national progress.

Dr Ambedkar’s visionary leadership and commitment to building a society free from discrimination and oppression, thereby providing the necessary foundation for India's democratic institutions to thrive, is a source of inspiration for us. If his advocacy for the rights of marginalised communities reshaped the socio-political landscape, his insights into economics, law, and social reform continue to guide us in addressing poverty, inequality, and injustice. His legacy as a social reformer, scholar, and statesman still guide India towards a path of progress, equality, and dignity. Dr Ambedkar’s life reminds us of the need to build a more inclusive and compassionate society.

As we remember Dr BR Ambedkar on his birth anniversary today, let us express our gratitude to him and commit ourselves to a democratic, secular, and inclusive nation, ensuring fundamental rights, social justice, equality and harmony for all citizens. He is not only a leader of Dalits but a national leader of 140 crores Indians.

The broadness of his thought is reflected in our Constitution, which takes care of all. Today when a large number of SC, ST and OBC students have to drop out from schools for want of resources, we need to come forward and help them to continue their studies. His ideals teach us to be responsible citizens without which we cannot build an inclusive Viksit Bharat by 2047.

There should be no misunderstanding among us with regard to our social identities.

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