Bhimrao Ambedkar

Bhimrao Ambedkar: First Law Minister of India

  • Ayushi Singh
    Ayushi Singh

Bhimrao Ambedkar needs no introduction. His contribution to the upliftment of underprivileged sections of society cannot be denied. He was a jurist, economist, and Dalit leader who played a significant role in framing the Constitution of India. He served as Law and Justice Minister in the cabinet of Jawaharlal Nehru after independence. Bhimrao Ambedkar also gave direction to the Dalit Buddhist Movement after renouncing Hinduism.

Ambedkar received education from prestigious colleges in and outside India. He graduated from Elphinstone College, University of Bombay. Later he joined Columbia University to pursue a master's degree in economics. Later he joined the London School of Economics and received a doctorate there in 1923. He was among a handful of Indian students who received a doctorate from the London School of Economics in the 1920s. After completing his doctorate, Ambedkar trained himself in the law at Gray’s Inn, London. When he came back to India, he served as an economist, professor, and lawyer.

In the later part of his life, Bhimrao Ambedkar served as a politician and embarked on his political career as a freedom fighter. He campaigned and negotiated for India’s independence movement. In addition, he published various journals, advocated the political rights of Dalits, and worked for uplifting the social status of Dalits. In 1956, Bhimrao Ambedkar converted to Buddhism and initiated mass conversions of Dalits to Buddhism.

Bhimrao Ambedkar posthumously received the Bharat Ratna award in 1990. It is the highest civilian award in the country. In his memory, his followers have given a slogan, Jai Bhim.

Early Life and Education

Bhimrao Ambedkar was born in Madhya Pradesh on 14th April 1891. His father was an army officer who held the rank of a Subedar. He was born into the Mahar caste, as a result, he was considered untouchable by the upper sections of society. Ambedkar faced untouchability and caste discrimination from childhood.

When Ambedkar started his school education, he was treated differently. Teachers did not pay attention to his studies. Moreover, he was not allowed to sit inside the classroom. Also, when he felt thirsty, he was not allowed to drink water by himself. A peon used to accompany him to the water point. The peon used to pour water from a height as Ambedkar was not allowed to touch the water or the vessel containing it. In the absence of the peon, he had to spend his day without drinking water.

After spending a few years in Madhya Pradesh, Bhimrao Ambedkar’s family moved to Satara district in Maharashtra in the year 1894. Shortly after shifting to Satara, he lost his mother. Ambedkar and his siblings were raised by his parental aunt after the death of his mother.

Ambedkar joined a school in Satara and then moved to Bombay for his post-secondary education. He enrolled himself in Elphinstone High School in 1897. He was always a bright student with a great interest in learning different subjects. After completing his matriculation, Ambedkar joined Elphinstone College, affiliated with the University of Mumbai. Then he moved to Columbia at the age of 22 for further studies. He received a Ph.D. degree from Columbia University in 1927.

Works Toward Removing Untouchability

After completing his studies, Bhimrao Ambedkar returned to India. He was provided a scholarship for his studies at international universities. As the scholarship was provided by the Princely State of Baroda, Ambedkar was bound to serve the Gaikwad estate. He served as a Military Secretary to the Gaikwad but had to quit in a short time. After leaving work, he switched to various jobs to support his growing family. In 1918, Ambedkar joined Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai as a professor. He became extremely successful among his students during his years in college.

After a few years, Bhimrao Ambedkar started practicing law with the motive of uplifting the standard of living of the untouchables. He established an institution, Bahishkrit Hitakarini Sabha to promote education and help in the socio-economic improvement of Dalits. To defend their rights, he published many periodicals like Mook Nayak, Equality Janta, and Bahishkrit Bharat.

The Drafting of India’s Constitution

Bhimrao Ambedkar was invited by the then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to serve as the Dominion of India’s Law Minister. Later, he was appointed as the Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Constitution for an independent India.

Bhimrao Ambedkar served for the upliftment of the oppressed section of society. He was keen to develop an equal platform for everyone. The present generation can learn a lot from his ideology and actions toward the betterment of society.

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