The champion of Dalit rights and the principal architect of the Indian Constitution, Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was born on April 14, 1891 in Madhya Pradesh’s Mhow and each year, Babasaheb’s (as he is fondly called by his followers to acknowledge his gratitude) birth anniversary is celebrated as Ambedkar Jayanti to honour his countless contributions in the making of the present-day independent India. Ambedkar, who belonged to the Mahar caste which was considered untouchable in Hinduism, converted to Buddhism on October 14, 1956, in Nagpur along with 500,000 supporters, after studying the religion for years.
He is not only known for his great influence in eradicating the social scourge of untouchability in India but also for having led a crusade for the upliftment and empowerment of Dalits in the country since he believed that Dalits can never get their rights within Hinduism. Due to his Mahar caste since childhood, before converting to Buddhism, Dr BR Ambedkar witnessed economic and social discrimination and most of these painful experiences that honed Babasaheb’s life have been penned down by him in his autobiographical book ‘Waiting For A Visa’.
It was on August 29, 1947, that he was appointed as the chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee for the constitution of independent India and after Independence, he was appointed as the law minister of India. By writing the Indian Constitution, he not only broke the social conventions meant for Hindu Shudras to emulate caste supremacists, changed their mindsets and urged them to educate and fight for their rights and gave equal rights to all but also ended the monopoly of Hindu Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas – in education, military, trade, social standards – who deemed themselves as superior to Shudras or the untouchables.
From publishing scores of journals and advocating for Dalits rights to making significant contributions toward the establishment of the state of India, drafting of the Indian Constitution, giving ideas that served as the foundation of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and playing a crucial role in promoting gender equality, Dr BR Ambedkar dedicated most of his life to empowering and voicing concerns for the downtrodden.
Ambedkar Jayanti is also known as Bhim Jayanti and is celebrated as a public holiday across India since 2015. On his 131st birth anniversary this Thursday, here are 10 inspiring quotes by him as we commemorate the memory of Dr Babasaheb Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar to boost our motivation.
1. I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved.
2. I like the religion that teaches liberty, equality and fraternity.
3. Life should be great rather than long.
4. If I find the constitution being misused, I shall be the first to burn it.
5. Cultivation of mind should be the ultimate aim of human existence.
6. Indifferentism is the worst kind of disease that can affect people.
7. Equality may be a fiction but nonetheless one must accept it as a governing principle.
8. So long as you do not achieve social liberty, whatever freedom is provided by the law is of no avail to you.
9. Law and order are the medicine of the body politic and when the body politic gets sick, medicine must be administered.
10. Religion and slavery are incompatible.