Dr B R Ambedkar

Architect of the Indian Constitution

Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar was the chief architect of the constitution of India. He was a relentless fighter for the upliftment of the backward classes.

Ambedkar was born on April 14, 1891. Born in a caste shunned as low and untouchable by the orthodox Hindu community, he had a harsh childhood. In spite of his sufferings, Ambedkar persevered for a good education. He earned his post-graduation and doctorate from Columbia University, New York, in 1916. Dr B R Ambedkar obtained another Doctorate from the London School of Economics. Ambedkar also graduated in law and became a vehement activist of Dalit (low-caste) rights.

On January 31, 1920 Ambedkar started a fortnightly, the ‘Mook Nayak’ (Leader of the Dumb), to showcase the plight of the oppressed castes. In July 1924, he founded an organization called ‘Bahishkrit Hitakarini Sabha,’ to improve the downtrodden through education. Ambedkar fought the cause of the ‘untouchables’ in court. A father-figure to the poor and downtrodden, he was respectfully called 'Babasaheb.'

Ambedkar had differences with the policies of the Indian National Congress, because they failed to address the cause of the downtrodden. On September 24, 1932, Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi signed the Poona Pact that awarded special concessions to the oppressed classes, like reserved seats in elected bodies at the regional and national levels. In 1937, 'Independent Labor Party' founded by Ambedkar, won a clear majority in the provincial elections in Bombay, Maharashtra.

Following India’s freedom on August 15, 1947, the Constituent Assembly formed a Committee to draft the Constitution of India, with Ambedkar as its Chairman. He was the Minister of Law in the first ministry. In February 1948, Ambedkar presented the Draft Constitution before the people of India. The Constituent Assembly adopted it in its entirety, with its 356 Articles and eight Schedules, as the Constitution of India on November 26, 1949. The Article 11 in effect put an end to‘untouchability’ in every form. On October 1948, Ambedkar submitted the Hindu Code Bill to the Constituent Assembly in an attempt to codify the Hindu law.

Ambedkar encouraged the backward classes to forsake the Hindu religion and convert to one which guaranteed them equality. He converted to Buddhism on October 14, 1956 along with half a million supporters at Nagpur. Bhimrao Ambedkar died seven weeks later, on December 5.

Updated on 8th August, 2005


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