B.R Ambedkar Biography: Birth, Early Life, Education, Political Career, Drafting of India's Constitution, Books, and More

B.R. Ambedkar Biography: B.R Ambedkar jayanti is observed on April 14. He was known as Babasaheb. He chaired the drafting committee of the Constituent Assembly. He was India's first Minister of Law and Justice. Read more about his early life, education, political career, the Poona Pact, books written by him, and more.
Created On: Apr 14, 2022 12:33 IST
Modified On: Apr 14, 2022 13:19 IST
B.R. Ambedkar Biography
B.R. Ambedkar Biography

B.R. Ambedkar Biography: Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar or B.R Ambedkar was born on April 14, 1891, in Mhow, India. Every year, on April 14 Ambedkar Jayanti is observed. Take a look at his early life, education, political career, the Poona Pact, books written by him, and more.

B.R. Ambedkar, popularly known as Babasaheb was an Indian jurist, economist, politician, and social reformer. He chaired the Drafting Committee of the Constituent Assembly and was also the first Minister for Law and Justice in India. 

"Humans are mortal. So are ideas. An idea needs propagation as much as a plant needs watering. Otherwise, both will wither and die." - B.R.Ambedkar

Solve| GK Questions and Answers on Doctor B.R. Ambedkar

B.R. Ambedkar: Key Facts

Full Name Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar
Born 14 April 1891
Place of Birth Mhow, India
Died 6 December 1956
Place of Death New Delhi, India
Resting place Chaitya Bhoomi, Mumbai, India
Parents

Father: Ramji Maloji Sakpal

Mother: Bhimabai Sakpal

Spouse(s) Ramabai Ambedkar (m. 1906; died 1935)​
Savita Ambedkar ​(m. 1948)
Political party Independent Labour Party
Scheduled Castes Federation
Other political
affiliations
Republican Party of India
Alma mater University of Mumbai (B.A., M.A.)
Columbia University (M.A., PhD)
London School of Economics (M.Sc., D.Sc.)
Gray's Inn (Barrister-at-Law)
Profession Jurist, economist, academic, politician, social reformer, and writer
Awards     Bharat Ratna
(posthumously in 1990)
Known for or Famous for Dalit rights movement
Heading committee drafting Constitution of India
Dalit Buddhist movement

B.R. Ambedkar Biography: Early Life, Education, Marriage, Children

He was born on April 14, 1891, into a Dalit Mahar family in Mhow, western India. He was humiliated by his high-caste schoolfellows. His father's name was Ramji Maloji Sakpal. He was an army officer of subedar rank. His mother's name was Bhimabai Sakpal. His family was of Marathi background. In around 1894, his father retired, and the family moved to Satara two years later. After a short period of time, his mother died. His family further moved to Mumbai in 1897, where he was enrolled at Elphinstone High School and was the only untouchable who took admission. At the age of around 15, he married Ramabai, a nine year-old girl, as per reports. 

He passed his matriculation examination in around 1907 and, the following year, he entered Elphinstone College. It was affiliated with the University of Bombay. According to him, he was the first to do so from the Mahar caste. He gained his degree in economics and political science from Bombay University in 1912. 

He was awarded a scholarship by the Gaekwar (ruler) of Baroda (now Vadodara). He received his education at universities in the United States, Britain, and Germany. At the request of Gaekwar, he entered the Baroda Public Service but was again ill-treated by his high-caste colleagues. He then turned to legal practice and teaching. He also established leadership among Dalits and founded various journals on their behalf. He also succeeded in gaining special representation for them in the legislative councils of the government. He also wrote What Congress and Gandhi Have Done to the Untouchables (1945).

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B.R. Ambedkar's Opposition to Untouchability

He campaigned against social discrimination, focusing on Dalits, who are also known as untouchables. He also inspired the Dalit Buddhist movement through his approach and founded the Buddhist society. Ever since his school days, Babasaheb himself suffered from untouchability. He was not allowed to take water from the pot. Most of the time, the peon pours water from a distance if he wants to drink water. In some reports, it was also mentioned that he was made to sit on the sack which he had to take with him every day. When he was teaching as a professor at Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai, his colleagues did not share a drinking-water jug with him. He also established an investment consulting business, but it failed because his clients came to know that he was untouchable. 

Babasaheb was invited to testify before the Southborough Committee. The committee was preparing for the Government of India Act against untouchability in 1919. Ambedkar Ji argued for creating a separate electorate and reservations for untouchables and other religious communities. He began the publication of a weekly named Mooknayak (Leader of the Silent) in Mumbai in 1920.

He also successfully defended three non-Brahmin leaders in 1926 during his career as a lawyer. These Brahmin leaders accused the Brahmin community of ruining India and were subsequently sued for libel. This victory was great for Babasaheb against caste classification and gave rise to the movement against untouchability. 

In addition, while practicing law in the Bombay High Court, he attempted to promote education and uplift untouchables.

He established a central institution, the Bahishkrit Hitakarini Sabha, with the intention of promoting education, welfare, and socio-economic improvement of the Dalits. 

He decided to launch an active movement against untouchability by 1927. He started public movements and marches to open up public drinking water resources and also allowed untouchables to draw water from the main water tank of the town. He also struggled for the right to enter Hindu temples. In late 1927, at a conference, he condemned Manusmriti for ideologically justifying caste discrimination and untouchability. He emphasised that in India, employment is fixed by birth and, as a result, reduces the mobility of labour in other sectors, which further impacts the economic development of India.

Dr. B. R Ambedkar and Poona Pact

It was an agreement signed on September 24, 1932, between M.K. Gandhi and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in the Yerwada Central Jail, Poona, on behalf of the depressed class for the reservation of the electoral seats in the Legislature of the British Government.

It resulted from the Communal Award of August 4, 1932, which was a proposal by the British government to allot seats in the several legislatures of India to the different communities in an effort to resolve various tensions between communal interests. Leaders of Dalits, mainly Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, supported the proposal with the belief that Dalits would be allowed to advance their interests. On the other hand, Mahatma Gandhi objected to it because, as per him, it would weaken India in its bid for independence. Gandhi Ji announced a fast unto death in prison and it started on September 18. 

As a result, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar refused to abandon his support for a separate electorate until Gandhi was near death. Finally, he and the Hindu leaders agreed to the pact in which a separate electorate was declined but gave increased representation to the Dalits within the Hindu electorate for a 10-year period. It is said that Ambedkar complained of blackmail, but on the other hand, the pact marked the beginning of the movement against "untouchability" within the Indian nationalist movement.

Dr. B. R Ambedkar Biography: Political Career

Dr. B.R Ambedkar was appointed principal of the Government Law College, Bombay in 1935. It was a position that was held for two years. 

He served as the chairman of the governing body of Ramjas College, University of Delhi, after the death of its founder, Shri Rai Kedarnath. On October 13, at the Yeola Conversion Conference, Ambedkar in Nasik, announced his intention to convert to a different religion and encouraged his followers to leave Hinduism. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar founded the Independent Labour Party in 1936, which contested the Bombay election in 1937 to the Central Legislative Assembly for the 13 reserved and 4 general seats. It secured 11 and 3 seats, respectively.

On May 15, 1936, he published his book, The Annihilation of Caste. During this time, he also fought against the Khoti system that was prevalent in Konkan. Here, "khots" means government revenue collectors who regularly exploit farmers and tenants. In the Bombay Legislative Assembly, Ambedkar tabled a bill in 1937 with the purpose of abolishing the khoti system by generating a direct relationship between the government and farmers. 

As a minister of labour, he served on the Defence Advisory Committee and the Viceroy's Executive Council. In 1940, after the Lahore Resolution of the Muslim League demanding Pakistan, he wrote a 400-page tract titled "Thoughts on Pakistan," which analysed the concept of "Pakistan" in all its aspects. His work, Who Were the Shudras? Babasaheb tried to explain the formation of the untouchables. His political party was transformed into the Scheduled Castes Federation. It performed poorly in the 1946 elections for the Constituent Assembly of India. Later, Babasaheb was elected to the constituent assembly of Bengal, where the Muslim League was in power. 

In 1952, he contested in Bombay North's first Indian General Election but lost. He became a member of the Rajya Sabha, basically an appointed member. In the 1954 by-election from Bhandara, he attempted to re-enter the Lok Sabha, but he placed third. And by the time of the second general election in 1957, Babasaheb died. 

 READ| List of books written by Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar

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