Bharat Ratna Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar may not have been a hero of the war of Indian independence, but he is the leader who built an independent India. Ambedkar’s 125th birthday anniversary was celebrated to commemorate his memories. After decades of neglect, one of the finest minds and statesmen of India, B.R. Ambedkar, is now invoked by almost everybody on the public scene. It is no wonder that everyone called him ‘Babasaheb’, out of love and admiration. He was the lion-hearted man who fought for equality, justice and humanity.
He was no doubt a great man who single handedly gave millions the hope to live and prosper in a society that deprived them of even the most basic needs. Baba Saheb greatly contributed to the nation as a jurist, philosopher, politician, anthropologist, economist and historian. His statue, with its ubiquitous electric blue suit, may be a common sight at bus stands, bastis and universities, but it hardly brings out the fact that his life is one that was overshadowed by iconography and idolatry. Leadership of Baba Saheb and his teachings contained in his spoken and written word have given them sufficient independence of thought and action. Like most great men of the world he was the most misunderstood person in his own time. He had chosen a thorny path to tread on while others preferred the rosy path for their life journey. A march was also led by him in the year 1927 at Mahad, Maharashtra for ascertaining the equal rights for untouchable people who were not allowed to even touch or taste the water of “Public Chawdar Lake”. He led the temple entry movement in the year 1930 at Kalaram Temple, Nashik, and Maharashtra for real human rights and political justice. According to him, political power is not the only way to solve all the problems of depressed class people but they should get equal rights in the society in every field.
Dr. Ambedkar, with his worldly perspective, changed the country’s fate. He was a liberator and philosopher. He was a man ahead of his time. We remember his efforts to eradicate social evils and the importance he gave to education. He decided to delve into the history of human discrimination and untouchability menace. As independent India’s first Law Minister, Ambedkar collaborated closely with Prime Minister Nehru in fighting against oppressive social hierarchies in Indian society. He hit the nail on the head, when he said that caste system in India was the root cause of the evil practice. Those who play politics of caste have no interest in welfare of poor people even within their caste. A nation can only progress if there is a feeling of unity. Babasaheb became a voice for the oppressed and downtrodden. His ideals and thoughts will continue to guide us in our mission for an equal society. Ambedkar added that after Independence, we had greater responsibilities and that if things went wrong, we would have nobody to blame except ourselves. But in today’s politics, the blame game is the order of the day.
Vinod Chandrashekhar Dixit
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)