Born: 14 April, 1891
Passed Away: 6, December, 1956
His Life- Bheem Rao Ambedkar was born on April 14, 1891 at Ambedkar village in Ratnagiri District of Maharashtra state. His father was Ramji. He was the 14th son of his father.Ambedkar was a brilliant child. His teacher at school, who noticed this, was impressed and added a surname to him. It is also said that his earlier name was Bheemrao Ambedkar and it was his teacher who made it Ambedkar and gave him the full name as Bheemrao Ramji Ambedkar.
After leaving school, Ambedkar studied F.A., at the Elphinstone College, Bombay (Mumbai). With the help of the Rajah of Baroda, Ambedkar went to Colombia University, America and completed his B.A., and M.A., degrees, in 1912 and 1913 respectively. For his M.A. degree he wrote a research paper “Commerce in India”. He wrote many more research essays while staying at Colombia. They are:
(1) Religious in India and their origin, (2) Nationalists in India-a historical study. For the latter research paper he was awarded Ph.D., by the Colombia University. With this he became Dr. Ambedkar.
He went to England to study law. Along with law, he studied Economics and political Science. He acquired the degree of Barrister-at-law and also M.Sc. degree simultaneously. Dr. Ambedkar hails from the community of Mahars who are condemned as untouchables. On this account Dr. Ambedkar had to face a number of problems. He was looked down upon and ill-treated. Hence he wanted to agitate against untouchability.
In 1918, he took up a job as a professor in a college and in 1920 he took part in the first meet of the Depressed Classes held at Nagpur. In 1923, he started practice at Bombay High Court. In 1924, he started a paper “Bahishkrita hitakarini”. He took up the cause of the Depressed Classes before the Simon Commission which visited India in 1928. He attended the First Round Table Conference held at London and argued that the Depressed Classes should have voting rights and the right to elect their own leaders.
Dr B R Ambedkar, popularly known as Babasaheb Ambedkar, was one of the architects of the Indian Constitution. He was a well-known politician and an eminent jurist. Ambedkar’s efforts to eradicate the social evils like untouchablity and caste restrictions were remarkable. The leader, throughout his life, fought for the rights of the dalits and other socially backward classes. Ambedkar was appointed as the nation’s first Law Minister in the Cabinet of Jawaharlal Nehru. He was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honor in 1990.
Conversion to Buddhism
In 1950, Ambedkar traveled to Sri Lanka to attend a convention of Buddhist scholars and monks. After his return he decided to write a book on Buddhism and soon, converted himself to Buddhism. In his speeches, Ambedkar lambasted the Hindu rituals and caste division. Ambedkar founded the Bharatiya Bauddha Mahasabha In 1955. His book “The Buddha and His Dhamma” was published posthumously.
On October 14, 1956 Ambedkar organized a public ceremony to convert around five lakh of his supporters into Buddhism. Ambedkar traveled to Kathmandu to attend the Fourth World Buddhist Conference. He completed his final manuscript, “The Buddha or Karl Marx” on December 2, 1956.
Political Career-Political career of B.R. Ambedkar spans for a long time. In the year 1935, B.R. Ambedkar became the principal of the Government Law College, Mumbai, a position he held for two years. While he was based in Mumbai, Ambedkar looked after the construction of a house and stocked his personal library with more than 50, 000 books. His wife Ramabai also died after a long illness in the very same year. It had actually been her long wish to visit on a pilgrimage to Pandharpur, but Ambedkar had refused to let her go, telling her that he would create a new Pandharpur for her instead of Hinduism’s Pandharpur which treated them as untouchables.
At various meetings and public debates he would discuss the opinion about converting to a different religion and even exhorted his followers to leave Hinduism. In the year 1936, B.R. Ambedkar established the Independent Labour Party that also contested in the year 1937 Mumbai election to the Central Legislative Assembly for the reserved seats. In this very election, Indian National Congress secured one seat unopposed, fought in 8 and won 5. But Ambedkar also claimed victory in all the 15 seats.