Written By Laksshha Khanna (Grade 10)
In the narrow streets of Mhow, Madhya Pradesh, a leader was being bred. The one who would open new doors for India and be the guiding lamp for the people till he took in his last breath.
Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was by far, the most learned politician of his time. He was the first Indian to get a Doctorate in Economics from the London School of Economics as well as a Doctorate from Columbia University.
He had an insatiable hunger for learning which explains the 50,000 books library he kept at his home, later in life. This makes it hard to believe that one time during his childhood, he wanted to abandon his studies and run away from home only to work as an ordinary mill worker. His destiny had something bigger planned.
Ambedkar belonged to a Dalit family because of which he was constantly humiliated and ill-treated by his schoolmates and teachers.
He was made to sit in the corner of the classroom on a gunny bag that he had to carry every day because no peon would touch it. When thirsty, he wasn’t allowed to quench his thirst by using the water taps. The peons would pour water into his mouth from the top, careful to not let the water pot touch his mouth.
This drove him towards a stronger resolve towards pursuing higher education and making a name for himself. During his tenure abroad, he was appalled to see how people from different backgrounds amalgamated and caste, creed or religion had no role to play.
He instinctively understood that the Indian society, within themselves were divided by caste and religion and were fighting the battle within these boundaries. He believed that freedom could be achieved only if the sin of untouchability was eliminated. It was time to break free from these orthodox beliefs and unify as a country.
By the time Ambedkar completed his education and returned to India, there was unrest in the country.
While the congress was bringing the masses together for rallies and protests, the Dalits were expected to maintain their stature; to remain as the untouchables and perform the so-called undignified jobs.
Ambedkar realised that while the rest of the country was readying themselves to win independence, the Dalits were fighting to secure acceptance in society. His popularity as a messiah for Untouchables was constantly increasing. He believed that freedom could be achieved only if the sin of untouchability was eliminated.
Being well aware of the mindsets that the Dalits were bred with, Dr Ambedkar encouraged them to stand up for themselves and aim for the sky. They needed to transition their thought processes, over and above the bars of discrimination.
Soon more and more people started identifying themselves with his ideologies, considering Ambedkar to be a live example to set up a right foundation for their future.
Ambedkar worked day and night to empower the Dalit community and make society understand that Dalits were not entitled to be their slaves. He went to the extent of decoding all the holy scriptures, which the Indians strongly believed in, where nowhere was it mentioned to treat a fellow human unequally. B.R. Ambedkar led movements where the Dalits were inspired to demand justice for their rights. He helped them gain respect and dignity and their basic right to education. Ambedkar did not stop there. There was a constant urge from his side for the Dalits to demand equal rights and reserved seats to represent their community so that there could be a redressal of their issues at hand.
The task up his sleeve wasn’t an easy one, as it was a direct attack on the very roots of Indian social hierarchy. But that did not dissuade him from moving ahead. Even after facing numerous setbacks and backlash Ambedkar maintained his focus on the larger picture.
After years of continuous hard work and dedication, he was finally invited to the Second Round Table Conference in London where they formed a Poona Pact, a reservation system which granted the Dalit community, reserved seats in legislative assemblies to solve their social problems.
Dr Ambedkar not only used his education and experience to uplift the Dalits but also revolutionised a larger society where many took inspiration from him to fight oppression and voice their concerns. He set up a much-needed platform and opened communication between the masses and those in power. The Indian voice could no longer be suppressed. This is the impact that Dr B.R. Ambedkar left on society.
His achievements do not stop there. Transforming ideals of equality, annihilation of caste, negation of capitalism and women empowerment were all suggested and acted upon by Ambedkar himself. He was a popular face in the country and his knowledge and expertise helped in establishing the Indian constitution post-independence.
His contribution towards shaping the largest democracy in the world is impeccable. His unwavering determination to see a modern India never stopped. He even set the guidelines to initiate the Reserved Bank of India. No wonder he is proudly known as the ‘Father of the Constitution’.
“I like the religion that teaches liberty, equality and fraternity.” – Dr B.R. Ambedkar
Featured Image Courtesy – Outlook India