Ambedkar

Ambedkar found a peculiar charm and magnetism in the appellation Bharat. He had named one of his weeklies Bahishkrit Bharat. The name of his printing press was Bharat Bhushan Printing Press. His fight for temple entry and his battle for codifying the Hindu laws speak volumes for his inner struggle. You might believe the conversion of Lord Halifax, but not of Ambedkar, if conversion implies embracing a foreign faith. Ambedkar had insisted at the Round Table Conference that the depressed classes should be styled protestant Hindus or non-Conformist Hindus. For one must not forget his memorable words which echoed the feelings of the innermost recesses of his heart :

” Had my mind been seized with hatred and revenge, I would have brought. disaster upon this land in less than five years.” His. anxiety to live in Hindu culture, his avowal of embracing a religion that would neither denationalise the depressed classes nor harm the ancient culture of this land, all point to the fact that his religion had something to do with the culture, history and tradition of this land. His religion and politics went hand in hand. This is why Buddhist critics say, that the Dhamma preached by Ambedkar is not Buddhism but Ambedkarism. And rightly so, His Dhamma preaches the necessity to kill if there is need to do so, and his message to India is that Indians should be determined to defend the independence of this land to last drop of their blood.

Champion Of Human Rights

The story of the life of Dr. Ambedkar was thus the struggle of a champion of human right. It passed before the eyes of the people as the condolence meetings were being held all over the country. All agreed that he was a fighter for the dignity of man and the saviour of a suppressed people. No man in this country, or perhaps in any other country, could equal Ambedkar in his career which was exciting, varying, romantic and wonderful. To be born on a dunghill, to begin life as an untouchable, to be treated in one’s boyhood as a leper, and to have passed one’s youth barred and bolted from society, which showed one out of hair-dressing saloons, hotels, hostels, cars, temples and offices, is a shocking experience in life.

To have acted as a tiffin-carrier boy, to study while starving to obtain the highest degrees of world famous universities, to devote one’s time to study, to have made one’s way fighting every step forward, now with a surgical scalpel, now with a bludgeon, favoured neither by a family fortune, nor by political adoption, and to have faced perils and bitter political opposition, is creditable. courageous, and remarkable enough. And yet to have grown in name, fame and national prominence without being lifted by a party press or party caucuses, to have served on important committees relating to the development of franchise. economics and constitution of a nation, to have been labour member of the Executive Council of a Government, to have been the first Law Minister of a free nation, to have been the chief architect of the Constitution of a nation that trampled one in one’s boyhood, and to have released a suppressed people from the stigma, shackles and slavery under which they had groaned for ages, is surely an unequalled achievement in the whole experience of mankind ! And so this son of an untouchable Hindu stands out in the story at this ancient land as an educationist, economist, author, professor, lawyer, lighter, law-giver, law-maker, leveller and liberator.

Mass Leader

Ambedkar edited papers. He wrote books on economics and sociology, history and politics. He conducted hostels and reading rooms. He was Principal of a Law College. He presided over hundreds of political and social conferences. A mass leader, he led social, political and labour movements. He founded political parties and colleges. He displayed the wisdom of a statesman, the qualities of a leader, the courage of a hero, the endurance of a martyr and the erudition of a savant. He adorned high public offices enriching them with his wisdom, democratic wind and love of human dignity. That in such a span of life the son of an untouchable could crowd such varied interests, abstinations and scholarship is unparalleled achievement in modern world.

Great men have sprung from palaces as well from cottages. They have sprung from the homes of shoe-makers, tailors, butchers, brick-layers, and blacksmiths. But Ambedkar had the unique distinction of springing from the dust. He came of a family whose hundred forefathers were treated in this land worse than dogs, whose touch was regarded as a pollution and whose shadow a sacrilege.

Ambedkar’s name, therefore, will be imperishably linked with the history of India. Most of his ideals have been incorporated into the Constitution. He rebelled against Manu and dethroned him from his high pedestal This was a victory unequalled in the history of this ancient land. Ambedkar thus achieved what was above the ambition and attainment and beyond the dream of men of his community. He belongs to the men of first eminence of our age. He belongs to the line of those who have been saviours of the suppressed and oppressed. He shaped the life of sixty million people. He made his mark on the times. He wrote his name on the future of this country and in the history of human freedom. Ambedkar’s life constituted a proof that the strength in the seed to rise is not dead among the suppressed castes in India. It is a solid evidence of the survival of their manhood, virility and virtues. His life provides an example and an aspiration to the downtrodden, masses of humanity that no bar of class, no bar of caste, no bar of privilege, no bar of riches, can prevent the full attainment and growth of an individual who is determined to build his personality, on patient labour, burning sincerity, supreme courage, and selfless sacrifice. He dealt a shattering blow to the arrogance of those who held that individual elevation and attainment were the monopoly of the privileged few. We will not see the like of Ambedkar. Nature breaks, Emerson observes, the mould of a Great Man as soon as he is born.

He Did It ” If I fail to do away with the abominable thraldom and inhuman injustice under which the class, into which I was born, has been groaning, I will put an end to my life with a bullet.” This was the glorious vow taken by Ambedkar. Untouchability was abolished under the Constitution of free Bharat. The vow was fulfilled, the dream realized, and the ambition materialized. The bondage ended. He said it. He did it.

Thus, the unique life of Bharat Bhushan Ambedkar has become a new source of inspiration for devotees. From it has emerged a new deity and the lamp that will be burning in its temple in this land of temples will be seen from all sides of the nation and from distant corners of the world. A new academy of knowledge, a new inspiration for poetry, a new place of pilgrimage and a new opportunity for literature have sprung up!

(Note: It is a write up on Babasaheb by Dhananjay Keer, the author of Dr. Ambedkar : Life and Mission. This write up first appeared in “ Lokrajya” Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Special Number, Vol 36, No. 23, April 16, 1981 magazine )


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