Ambedkar Summary 5

Topics: Dalit, B. R. Ambedkar, Caste system in India Pages: 7 (2510 words) Published: July 11, 2010
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar
News Flash
Other Social Reformers
Culture and Civilization
Research Resources
Debate and Discussions
In the United Nations
Worldwide Dalits

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was a veritable phenomenon of the 20th century. There may scarcely be a parallel indeed in the annals of human history to the saga of struggle that his life represented. Born in the family of ‘untouchables’, he could nonetheless scale the highest peak of scholarship, leadership and statesmanship. When the Hindu caste system had ordained severe punishment for his community for so much as thirsting for education and knowledge, he had secured the highest academic honours from the most prestigious universities of the world and thus conclusively refuted the basic premise of intrinsic inferiority or superiority based on one’s birth proffered by the caste system. For over two millennia, the Hindu caste system had perfected itself into a self-sustaining mechanism of exploitation that fossilised all the social relationship into a caste cauldron and in process had completely robbed the labouring masses like untouchables of their human identity. He had reclaimed for them this identity, breathed political consciousness and galvanised them into a vibrant movement that changed the course of Indian politics. In the epic battle against the vile and complex caste system, he had single-handedly performed the roles of a researcher, a theoretician, an organiser, a journalist, a politician, a leader etc. against all possible odds and still come out with outstanding results. He was among few who dared the contemporary might of the then Indian National Congress and Mahatma Gandhi and stood his grounds even in the face of threats to his life. At symbolical plane, Manu who was the evil enemy in this epic battle as the code giver for the caste system, had to concede defeat and make place for Ambedkar code in the form of the Constitution of India. Eventually, he enacted the biggest religious conversion in the history that ensconced him with his western attire at the place alongside Buddha as the spiritual deity for his people. During his lifetime Dr. Ambedkar had consistently faced despise, ignominy and insults at the hand of caste establishment. Even after his death, despite his outstanding statesmanship and sterling contributions like drafting the Constitution of India, Ambedkar continued to be despised and ignored by the ungrateful mainstream till the emerging imperatives of electoral politics needed him. Before that, the mainstream even did not concede him so much as leadership of all the untouchables and preferred to belittle him by projecting as a leader of his own community. It systematically either blacked him out from the recorded history or allowed him place in its margins. It strove to confine him to a small community of Maharashtra in which he was born. So effective was this establishment cunning that barring a few pockets outside Maharashtra, where the movement had penetrated in his lifetime, he remained a stranger for a long time to the very people for whom he lived and died. His published writings were all out of print and were available only in a few reputed libraries. A vast unpublished material was embroiled in ownership disputes and hence was decomposing in the custody of courts of law. A few biographies of Ambedkar, among them notably one written by Dhanajay Keer in English (first published 1962) and the other written by Mr. B.C. Khairmode in multiple volumes in Marathi (first volume published in April 1952 and the last volume yet to come), that constituted the earliest source material on Ambedkar had significantly contributed to spread awareness and evoke curiosity about him. However, in absence of an easy access to his original writings he was not even known to the well-meaning intellectual community beyond certain heresies and anecdotes. It is only as a result of struggles of his people that...
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