Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Ambedkar BR - Fact Sheet

  1. He was Independent India's first law minister and the principal architect of the Constitution of India.
  2. A Jurist, economist, politician and social reformer.
  3. Campaigned against social discrimination against Untouchables (Dalits).
    He suffered discrimination in school, being an untouchable.
  4. Earning doctorates in economics from both Columbia University and the London School of Economics. He was the first Indian to pursue a doctorate in economics abroad.
    He had been awarded a Baroda State Scholarship of £11.50 (Sterling) per month for three years under a scheme established by Gaekwad of Baroda providing opportunities for postgraduate education at Columbia University in New York City.
  5. Ambedkar had been invited to testify before the Southborough Committee, which was preparing the Government of India Act 1919. At this hearing, Ambedkar argued for creating separate electorates and reservations for untouchables and other religious communities.
  6. In 1936, Ambedkar founded the Independent Labour Party, which contested the 1937 Bombay election to the Central Legislative Assembly for the 13 reserved and 4 general seats, and secured 11 and 3 seats respectively.
  7. Ambedkar was a victim of caste discrimination and "untouchabality". 
  8. He justified the Partition of India but condemned child marriage and the mistreatment of women in Muslim society.
  9. He was never member of Congress Party.
    He never participated in freedom struggle nor ever sent to jail by British.
  10. Under the influence of BR Ambedkar, in 1932, British announced the formation of a separate electorate for "Depressed Classes" in the Communal Award. Gandhi fiercely opposed a separate electorate for untouchables, fearing that such an arrangement would divide the Hindu community. Gandhi protested by fasting and was imprisoned in the Yerwada Central Jail of Poona. Following the fast, Congress politicians signed Poona Pact between Ambedkar (on behalf of the depressed classes among Hindus) and Madan Mohan Malaviya (on behalf of the other Hindus) giving reserved seats for the depressed classes in the Provisional legislatures, within the general electorate. 
  11. Ambedkar announced his intention to convert to a different religion and exhorted his followers to leave Hinduism. He repeated his message at many public meetings across India.
  12. Ambedkar in his book "Annihilation of Caste" of 1936 criticised Hindu orthodox religious leaders and the caste system and included "a rebuke of Gandhi" who wanted to abolish 'untouchability' but not caste.
  13. Ambedkar objected to the decision of Congress and Mahatma Gandhi to call the untouchable community as Harijans. 
  14. Through out his life Ambedkar fought for Dalits but never for the country's independence.
  15. Ambedkar served on the Defence Advisory Committee and the Viceroy's Executive Council as minister for labour.
  16. The constituent assembly was elected indirectly by the members of the Provincial legislative assembly, which existed under the British Raj. It first met on December 9, 1946, in Delhi. On August 15, 1947, India became an independent nation, and the Constituent Assembly started functioning as India's Provincial Parliament. Dr. Ambedkar drafted the Constitution of India in conjunction with the requisite deliberations and debates in the Constituent Assembly.
  17. Dr Ambedkar could not find a place among the 296 members initially sent to the Constituent Assembly. It happened after a Dalit leader from East Bengal withdrew, paving the way for Dr Ambedkar to enter the Constituent Assembly as a member in his own right. He was forced to seek election from Bengal, a province he did not have much connection with because he lacked the requisite support in his home province of Bombay.  Dr Rajendra Prasad and Sardar Patel were closely involved in the effort to ensure that Ambedkar remained in the Constituent Assembly. 
  18. Dr. Ambedkar was the sole Schedule caste representative in the Constituent Assembly.
  19. Ambedkar independently contested election in 1952 fromBombay (North) to the Lok Sabha. But the Congress opposed him and put up a candidate and ensured his defeat. The Congress candidate, Narayan Kajrolkar, had been Dr Ambedkar’s assistant once. In the 1954 Lok Sabha by-election in Bhandara district of Maharashtra, the Congress did the same thing to defeat him. 
  20. He was appointed to the upper house, of parliament, the Rajya Sabha in March 1952 and would remain as member till death in 1956.
  21. Ambedkar opposed Article 370 of the Constitution of India, which granted a special status to the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Patel got the Article passed while Nehru was on a foreign tour. 
  22. He opposed income tax for low-income groups. 
  23. The Reserve Bank of India was set up, based on the ideas that Ambedkar presented to the Royal Commission on Indian Currency and Finance also known as the Hilton-Young Commission.
  24. Mahatma Gandhi, Dr Rajendra Prasad and Sardar Patel supported the idea of Ambedkar heading the Drafting Committee of the Constitution but Pt. Nehru was not keen. Even when he took oath as the country’s Law Minister in 1947 after independence, it was as an independent member of the Central Legislative Assembly and not as a Congress member.
  25. He became the Law Minister because of Mahatma Gandhi’s insistence. Gandhiji insisted that two people, namely, Dr Ambedkar and Syama Prasad Mukherjee should be included in the Cabinet. Baba Saheb differed with Nehru on many policies including several amendments to the Constitution. In September, 1951, he resigned from the Nehru Cabinet — disgusted and disappointed. In his resignation letter of 27th September, 1951, Ambedkar revealed that Nehru never trusted him and scrupulously avoided giving him important portfolios.
  26. In 1956 he converted to Buddhism, initiating mass conversions of Dalits. 
  27. Ambedkar considered converting to Sikhism, which encouraged opposition to oppression and so appealed to leaders of scheduled castes. But after meeting with Sikh leaders, he concluded that he might get "second-rate" Sikh status.
  28. Since 1948, Ambedkar suffered from diabetes. He was bed-ridden from June to October in 1954 due to medication side-effects and poor eyesight. His health worsened during 1955. Ambedkar died in his sleep on 6 December 1956 at his home in Delhi. A Buddhist cremation was organised at Dadar Chowpatty beach on 7 December, attended by half a million grieving people. A conversion program was organised on 16 December 1956, so that cremation attendees were also converted to Buddhism at the same place.
  29. After his death, senior Congress leaders, including the then PM Nehru, did not attend his funeral. 
  30. In 1990, the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, was posthumously conferred upon Ambedkar, by the VP Singh government. 
  31. Dr Ambedkar’s portrait in the Central Hall was also unveiled in April, 1990 by VP Singh Government.
My View: No one is responsible for historical wrongs. Dalits suffered in the hands of forward castes, in Hindu religion, for thousands of years is indisputable fact. That doesn't mean that forward castes should now get subordinated to Dalits and suffer humiliation. The present day reservations are subconsciously doing that to certain extent, even though not by design. Reservations in present format is resulting talent suppression, talent subordination and talent migration resulting in national underachievement and pulling down progress. Caste system will automatically disappear with education, civilization, prosperity and globalization, overtime. Other than 30% women reservations all other reservations must go. Economically disadvantaged people should get financial incentives, training etc to compete in the level playing field. Merit, the essence of democracy in all walks of life must be preserved. Otherwise we will be cultivating hatred between reserved categories and others.


  1. I do not understand the part "That doesn't mean that forward castes should now get subordinated to Dalits and suffer humiliation." And from when is that happening! The so called forward caste meritorious can work in this country or in some another country or pursue education in this country or elsewhere.

    1. Today in our country we have resemblance of democracy but not true democracy. Shouters & Looters gets everything. Realistically reservations at entry level of education and govt jobs are to some extent acceptable but reservations to PG level education and Promotions in Govt service is doing no good but is harmful.
      An example: A group of central govt officers who suffered humiliation of seeing their subordinate becoming their superior through reservations channel filed a case in Delhi High Court & Supreme Court and SC upheld that reservations in promotions is invalid and restored their seniority. Instead of implementing the SC judgment, UPA II government fearing vote bank erosion and with the consent of all opposition parties as well moved constitution amendment and nullified SC judgment.