Bheem Rao Ambedkar was born on April 14, 1891 at Ambedkar village in Ratnagiri District of Maharashtra state. His father was Ramji. He was the 14th son of his father.
Ambedkar was a brilliant child. His teacher at school, who noticed this, was impressed and added a surname to him. It is also said that his earlier name was Bheemrao Ambedkar and it was his teacher who made it Ambedkar and gave him the full name as Bheemrao Ramji Ambedkar.
After leaving school, Ambedkar studied F.A., at the Elphinstone College, Bombay (Mumbai). With the help of the Rajah of Baroda, Ambedkar went to Colombia University, America and completed his B.A., and M.A., degrees, in 1912 and 1913 respectively. For his M.A. degree he Zwrote a research paper “Commerce in India”. He wrote many more research essays while staying at Colombia. They are:
(1) Religious in India and their origin, (2) Nationalists in India-a historical study. For the latter research paper he was awarded Ph.D., by the Colombia University. With this he became Dr. Ambedkar.
He went to England to study law. Along with law, he studied Economics and political Science. He acquired the degree of Barrister-at-law and also M.Sc. degree simultaneously. Dr. Ambedkar hails from the community of Mahars who are condemned as untouchables. On this account Dr. Ambedkar had to face a number of problems. He was looked down upon and ill-treated. Hence he wanted to agitate against untouchability.
In 1918, he took up a job as a professor in a college and in 1920 he took part in the first meet of the Depressed Classes held at Nagpur. In 1923, he started practice at Bombay High Court. In 1924, he started a paper “Bahishkrita hitakarini”. He took up the cause of the Depressed Classes before the Simon Commission which visited India in 1928. He attended the First Round Table Conference held at London and argued that the Depressed Classes should have voting rights and the right to elect their own leaders.
Dr. Ambedkar had a sharp mind. He said that all men are equal in all matters. Once he entered the Veereswar temple where Mahars were not allowed. A case was field against him by the temple authorities. The court justified the action of Dr. Ambedkar. Dr. Ambedkar could not reconcile to the domination of upper castes. It was Mahatma Gandhi who could convince Dr. Ambedkar against this and bring him back to the mainstream.
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was first Law Minister of India after we got Independence in 1947. He was also the chairman of the drafting committee of our Constitution and in fact, he is one of the main architects of our Constitution. As a brilliant law minister and an intelligent person, he could include in the Constitution, the required safeguards for the depressed Classes. On November 1, 1949 the Draft Constitution was approved by the Government and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was since then called, the “Modern Manu of India”.
The caste system in Hinduism forced Dr. B.R. Ambedkar to embrace Buddhism along with 5 lakhs of other Depressed Class people. He attended a conference of Buddhists in Sri Lanka in 1950. He was a lover of books. On a visit to New York, it is said that he purchased as many as 2000 books. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar passed away on December 6, 1956.
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s life is an example to others. He had shown how men born in humble surroundings could rise up in life, by sheer hard-work, sincerity and steadfastness. Very rarely we get such persons of special caliber in history.