B. R. Ambedkar

Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was born in 1893 to a Scheduled Caste family in Baroda State. His political career started with his entry into the Bombay Legislative Council in 1926 where he soon rose to prominence as one of its leading legislators. He clashed with the Congress early in his political career over the issue of Harijans, feeling that Gandhi’s promotion of the Harijans’ cause was driven by a desire to retain the Harijans within Hindu Society. He believed that the Harijans would never be treated justly in a Hindu Society that was rooted in caste, having developed a passionate hatred for higher caste Hindus over their exploitation of the Scheduled Castes. When the Interim Government was formed in 1947, he received an invitation from Nehru to be the first Law Minister. He also held a concurrent appointment as Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Constituent Assembly. For his pioneering work in creating the Indian Constitution, he is widely known as the “father of the Indian Constitution.” He resigned from the Cabinet in 1951 as he could not bring himself to agree with Nehru’s foreign policy. His disillusionment with the Congress’ stalling tactics in passing the Hindu Code Bill also contributed to his decision to leave. Aside from his political career, he was also a prolific author. Throughout his life, he took a special interest in the cause of the Depressed Classes. His work culminated in the founding of the Depressed Classes Institute, which aimed to facilitate the promotion of higher education among the Depressed Classes through the distribution of scholarships and building of hostels near various education centres. He further established the All-India Scheduled Castes’ Federation. He has been credited with playing an important role in distinguishing the Scheduled Castes as a distinct entity in the public sphere. Sources: Indian Parliament (1952-57), ed. Trilochan Singh (New Delhi: Arunam & Sheel, 1954), 14-15; The Royal Coronation Number and Who’s Who in India, Burma and Ceylon, ed. and comp. by Thos. Peters (Poona: The Sun Publishing House, 1937), 116-117

Works

Castes in India: Their Mechanism, Genesis and Development (Jullunder: Bheem Patrika Publications, 1916) Pakistan or the Partition of India (Bombay: Thacker & Co., 1946) What Congress and Gandhi have Done to the Untouchables (2nd ed, Bombay: Thacker, 1946) The Buddha and His Dhamma (Bombay: Siddharth College Publications, 1957)

Ideas of IndiaIdeas of India