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Ambedkar Jayanti 2017: Baba Saheb and his major contributions

Apr 14, 2017 10:20 IST

Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar, the father of the Indian Constitution, was in news on 14 April 2017. He came into news on his 126th birth anniversary. On this occasion of Ambedkar Jayanti, floral tributes were paid at Babasaheb’s Statue in the Parliament House Complex.

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In addition to this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch several crucial initiatives to further the digital payments revolution in India in Nagpur. These projects include the launch of BHIM Aadhaar platform for merchants, cash back and referral bonus schemes for BHIM and declaring about 75 townships going less-cash.

These initiatives would further promote the digital movement and reinforce the vision of Baba Saheb for social empowerment of all through financial inclusion.

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Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar

• Born on 14th April 1891 at Mhow in Madhya Pradesh, Ambedkar was the chief architect of the Constitution of India.

• Now, his birth place is also known as Dr Ambedkar Nagar.

• Popularly known as Baba Saheb, Ambedkar was the first law minister of India.

• He earned doctorates in economics from both Columbia University and the London School of Economics.

• He was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, in 1990.

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Ambedkar and Constitution

Post independence, Ambedkar was appointed as the chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee, the committee which was responsible for writing the new constitution of India. The constitution drafted by Ambedkar provides constitutional guarantees and protections for a wide range of civil liberties for individual citizens, including freedom of religion, the abolition of untouchability, and the outlawing of all forms of discrimination.

Ambedkar and Poona Pact

Poona pact that secured reserved seats for the depressed classes (Dalits) in the Provisional legislatures, within the general electorate.

On 25 September 1932, he signed the Poona Pact of the British government. The pact was an agreement under which a separate electorate for depressed classes " in the Communal Award would have been formed, which meant separate electorate for untouchables. The pact was fiercely opposed by Mahatma Gandhi. He protested against the pact by fasting in the Yerwada Central Jail of Poona. The Pact was signed between Ambedkar (on behalf of the depressed classes among Hindus) and Madan Mohan Malaviya (on behalf of the other Hindus).

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Due to this pact, the depressed class received 148 seats in the legislature, instead of the 71 as allocated in the Communal Award earlier proposed by British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald.

Depressed Classes in the text of the pact referred to untouchables among Hindus in that era. They were later called as Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes under India Act 1935 and later in 1950 under the Constitution of India.

In addition to this, what makes Ambedkar - an Indian jurist, economist, politician and a social reformer - different from several other leaders of his time include the Dalit Buddhist movement. In 1956 he converted to Buddhism, initiating mass conversions of Dalits.

His campaign against social discrimination against Dalits (untouchables) and support for the rights of women and labour shapes his image as a socio-political reformer, who wanted to reform India from the core.

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Ambedkar also wrote several books and few of them includes

• Who Were the Shudras?

• Waiting for a Visa (his autobiography)

• Administration and Finance of the East India Company

• The Evolution of Provincial Finance in British India

• The Problem of the Rupee: Its Origin and Its Solution

In 1920, he began a weekly publication titled Mooknayak (Leader of the Silent) in Mumbai. The publication was started with the help of Shahu of Kolhapur (Shahu IV).

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