Ambedkar’s Early Life and Family
Born on 14th April, 1891, in a low-caste Mahar family, Ambedkar was last child of Ramji Maloji Sakpal and Bhimabai Sakpal. His family hailed from a town in Ratnagiri district. Although they had a Marathi background, he was born in a caste that was considered the lowest of the low. Mahar is a community that is Dalits. Socio-economic discrimination and treatment as untouchables were common to Dalits. The children of the Mahar caste did attend school. However, teachers gave negligible attention and segregated them.
Bhimrao Ambedkar was a good student. Among his siblings, he was the only one who passed his examinations. Subsequently, he went to Elphinstone High School. The only Dalit child enrolled in Elphinstone was B.R. Ambedkar. After completing school, he enrolled himself in college. By 1912, he completed his degree in economics and political science from Bombay University(Now: Mumbai).
The following year, Ambedkar moved to the United States. As he was awarded a Baroda State Scholarship of £11.50 (Sterling) per month for three years, he joined Columbia University for his postgraduation. In June 1915, he passed his M.A. exam, majoring in economics and other subjects were Sociology, History, Philosophy, and Anthropology. He presented a thesis titled Ancient Indian Commerce.
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In October 1916, Ambedkar started studying for his doctoral thesis at the London School of Economics. Ambedkar wrote his thesis on the topic “The problem of the rupee: Its origin and its solution”. In 1923, he earned his postdoctoral degree in Economics from the University of London.
His Contribution to Indian Society
Even after suffering bitter caste humiliation, Bhimrao Ambedkar became the first Minister for Law in independent India. He shaped the country’s Constitution. His fierce struggle against Brahmanical Patriarchy, his radical proposals for the Hindu Code Bill, and his suggestions for a radical restructuring of property relations. All of these alert us to his challenging of the status quo. Undoubtedly, Dr. Ambedkar was India’s most radical thinker. With his knowledge, he transformed the social and political landscape in the struggle against British Colonialism. He made the oppressed people of India politically aware of their own situation.
Ambedkar’s famous words still make relevant to date. He said to Dalits – “Educate, Agitate, and Organise”
He emphasized the importance of education and envisioned a progressive India. Also, he formed the Independent Labour Party in 1893. He contested Bombay’s election to Central Legislative Assembly in 1937. However, he resigned from the government in the year 1951. In 1956, he converted to Buddhism along with his 50,000 followers. Later that year, he died.