Dr. B.R.Ambedkar ( Bhimarao Ramji Ambedkar)


Born : April 14th 1889 in Madhya Pradesh

Died : 26th December 1956

Nationality : Indian


Father of Indian Constitution

 

M.Gandhi said ;

"Then, I have one request to make. I hear that a large number of Untouchables are coming to see you in Nasik. Will you please tell them that all this storm that they have raised about entering a temple there is futile? Dr. Ambedkar has made himself their leader. He is an educated man, but due to the defect of the age-old, caste prejudices and systems, the Hindu society does not encourage or sympathize with him and tried to keep him out. And out of vindication for this wrong, he has started this campaign for the cause of the Untouchables and tries to excite their feelings against the Brahmins."

 

Gandhi continued, "I am going to fight for the Untouchables until the end of my life and I want to destroy the prejudice of untouchability – root and branch. I want to make them one with Hindu society and religion, and blend in with the other castes. But they are now trying to establish themselves into a separate class as "Untouchables" by asking for separate elections and sanctions from the government, the very thing that I want to do away with."

Baba responded, "I have already advised these Untouchables and their leaders who came to me. I intend to advise them to fight for their rights non-violently. In Nasik, the leaders of both the Brahmins and the Untouchables come to me for help."

Gandhi said, "This is why I ask this of you. I am sure they will listen to you and follow your advice. Therefore, I request you to reconcile them. It is a great work. I am sure Dr. Ambedkar will listen to you."

Baba assured Gandhi that he would do so.


 

Meher Baba then embraced Gandhi, saluted the other politicians and left. A day after meeting Baba, Gandhi was arrested by the British and held in prison.


 


Lord Meher Volume 4, Page 1517-8
 

 

MEANWHILE, on September 6th, Baba had sent Nilu to Dr. R. Ambedkar, leader and spokesman of the Untouchables, whom Mahatma Gandhi had urged Baba to meet. Nilu was in medical school in Bombay at the time and would occasionally visit Baba in Nasik. When Nilu informed Dr. Ambedkar about Baba, he agreed to see him immediately. Baba went to Bombay on September 12th to meet with him, and the following conversation took place at seven o'clock the next evening:

 

 

"I am very pleased to see you," Baba began. "I have wanted to meet you for a long time."

"I was also eager to see you, but I had not been able to manage it," replied Ambedkar.

Baba then spelled out to him, "Let me clearly explain to you in detail what I want you to do. First of all, let it be quite clear that I have nothing to do with politics. My concern in this matter is purely from the spiritual point of view, and out of my regard and feeling for the depressed classes. Apart from any politics, I have already done much for them during my time in Meherabad, where I made the high-class Brahmins live and eat in my ashram with Untouchables. Not only that, I made my Brahmin disciples bathe the Untouchable boys. I have the cause of the depressed classes at heart, and I quite understand and appreciate your efforts on their behalf.

"Now, the situation is such that the settlement of self-rule for India rests on the delicate question of joint or separate electorate for the depressed classes. Now is the time and place for those who fight for the cause of these Untouchables to strike while the iron is hot, getting as much as possible for them. So, the time of this golden opportunity for the poor Untouchables has come. I would advise you, for reasons I am about to explain, to accept the joint electorate with a reservation of seats, and other rights and details to be settled with Mahatma Gandhi and the other leaders.

"I had a long meeting with Gandhi the day before his arrest. He explained things and asked me to tell you and the other leaders of the depressed classes to accept a joint electorate.


Lord Meher Volume 5, Page 1712



He promised me, if you and the other leaders accept, that he would meet with you and be most sympathetic to the rights of the Untouchables, using his influence on all political leaders to insure justice in the new arrangement.

"There are reasons why I want you to accept a joint electorate and join with Gandhi in this. By having the aid of the government for a separate electorate of the depressed classes, you run the risk of forever clashing with Hindu society and establishing yourself as a separate class, branded Untouchable forever and least desired. The stigma of Untouchability is to be uprooted once and for all, and all classes are to be united. This is the time and place for such a golden opportunity to tell your non-Hindu brethren to include the oppressed and all their legitimate rights; otherwise, they will lose and make them enemies forever, which no well-wishers of Hindu independence would want.

"It is enough that you remember what I have told you. You try to persuade those in your party and bring them around through your influence. I will see to the rest. Will you do so?"

"Yes, I will," Dr. Ambedkar verbally promised.

"Therefore, join hands with Gandhi and go along with him for a joint electorate. He has already promised to do his utmost for their representation and rights in the new government. Gandhi is sincere and will keep his word, and his influence will carry weight with other classes. I will also internally help your fight for the depressed classes, whose cause is always in my heart."

Dr. Ambedkar responded, "I understand what you mean and would like to do as you say, but I must explain that I alone cannot do it. I have to consult my colleagues in the party, provincial and all-India before acting."

Baba replied, "You can still exercise your influence on them and I will help internally."

"That I will," replied Dr. Ambedkar. "But I cannot say if they will accept or not."

"You need not worry," Baba assured him.

"I am so glad," Baba concluded. "You will be doing the greatest service for your people. So, remember, I am very, very pleased to have seen you."

"So am I," said the doctor.

 

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar ( Bhimarao Ramji Ambedkar )


Lord Meher Volume 5, Page 1713


 

 

Ramjoo said to Gandhi, "You remember when Baba saw you last January, just before your arrest, that he promised you that he would meet the leaders of the Untouchables and use his influence to make them accept joint electorates. Accordingly, he saw some of the local leaders before he left and wired Dr. Ambedkar, who could not come. Baba then left for Europe and America.

"On his return, Baba came to know of your arrest and sent for Ambedkar, meeting with him for half an hour. Baba impressed upon him the fact that, although he himself never took part in any politics, he wanted to convince the depressed classes that it was for their own benefit to accept joint electorates with reservation of seats and other rights; otherwise, they would organize themselves on their own accord into an Untouchable group for all time, and that sooner or later, he wanted to see the Brahmins and so-called Untouchables on equal footing, not only in politics but in the matter of religion and spirituality.

"Ambedkar replied that he would keep Baba's advice in mind, but that first he had to consult with his committee members and would let Baba know the results later. Baba says that this settlement of the electorate problem, for which you have started fasting, will soon be settled, but he does wish you to fast for forty days. In reference to your desire to spend a night with Baba and requesting the 'key' ..."

   

Gandhi interrupted, "Key?"

Chanji explained, "Ramjoo is referring to your meeting with Baba in London when you asked him to give you the key."


Lord Meher Volume 5, Page 1715


In the interim, Adi K. Irani came to Ceylon on January l9th and returned to India after staying two days with Baba. In Bandarawela on January 26th, Baba met a reporter from the Ceylon Observer who questioned him about Mahatma Gandhi and India, religion, the purpose of his silence and why he had gone to America. The following is what Baba replied:

 

 

Look at Gandhi's passive resistance movement. From the spiritual point of view it is wonderful because it embraces sincerity, truth and non-violence. Don't ask me its value as a political weapon. I have nothing to do with politics ... .

As for the Untouchability issue, I love the Untouchables. They are close to my heart. Recently, I summoned their leader Dr. Ambedkar and advised him what to do. I consider the orthodox Hindu attitude foolish, but there I leave it as I condemn no one and hate no one.

My religion? I belong to no religion and yet to every religion. Love is my principal agent. The Infinite One can be attained only through love and sincerity. I do not believe in dogmas and ceremonies. God can be realized in every phase of life – art, science, nature and beauty. That is my religion.

I have been silent for eight years. It is not a vow but it has been undertaken for spiritual reasons. Shortly, my mission of preaching will begin. My reason for starting in America is that America, being the most deeply engrossed in material things and suffering the most in consequence, is the soil on which a new spiritual rebirth will first take place. America requires only the guiding hand of a Master to redirect its material powers to the heights of spirituality.

Your Ceylon is a most beautiful country. I shall visit it again. I will be leaving for India soon and then I shall return here on my way to America via China and Honolulu.

Will I found an ashram here? Perhaps.

 



Lord Meher Volume 5, Page 1757

April 14th is the birthday of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the Father of Indian Constitution. His full name is Bhimarao Ramji Ambedkar and also known as Babasaheb. Indians observe his birthday to commemorate his contribution to the Indian Society.

 

Life and Activities:

Dr. Ambedkar was born on April 14th 1889 in Madhya Pradesh in family of Dalits or untouchables. Dalits were downtrodden in that times. He was one of the first “untouchables” to get a college education in India. He continued his studies abroad where he got his doctorates in law, political science and economics from Columbia University and London School of Economics. He practiced law and contributed for the rights of India’s untouchables.

Dr. Ambedkar was more than Indian Jurist. He was philosopher, thinker, historian, prolific writer, editor and Buddhist activist. He joined the freedom struggle of India and entered politics in 1936. He founded ‘Independent Labour Party’ of India. He published several books for the upliftment of Dalits, some of them are: The Annihilation of Caste; The Untouchables: A Thesis on the Origins of Untouchability; Who are Shudras etc.

After India got its independence, the new congress-led government invited Ambedkar to be the nation’s first Law Minister. On August 29, 1945 Ambedkar was appointed as Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee and was charged to write free India’s new constitution. He died on 26th December 1956. Dr. Ambedkar was honoured with Bharat Ratna in 1990. It is the highest Indian civil award.

 

Celebrations:

April 14th is celebrated as birthday of Sri Ambedkar all over India. It is declared a public holiday on this day. Dalit organizations of India celebrate the day to pay tribute to this great leader. Huge processions and rallies are taken on and several cultural programs are organized. Statues are decorated and political leaders offer obligations to him. Dalit melas are organized and prayers and meetings are held.

 

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