Babashaheb Ambedkar A Social and Economic Emancipator M. Shahabuddin

BABASHAHEB DR. BHIMRAO RAMJI AMBEDKAR is held in high esteem as an intellectual luminary, and a great crusader for social justice. But he will be remembered as “a symbol of revolt against all oppressive features of the Hindu society” as aptly described by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Indignities and Inhuman Treatment Dr. Ambedkar had seen from close quarters the pangs and sufferings of the brethren who were treated like dumb-driven cattle and therefore, toiled day and night for their emancipation. He himself had experienced indignities and in human treatment at the hands of the caste Hindus, right from his school days . He had to carry his own sack-cloth to school to sit on . The teachers and other students did not toch him, Even for a glass of kindness of others. Even when his mother went for shopping she was not allowed to touch and handle the things she wanted to buy , the things were thrown into her lap. Being a Mahar, he was not allowed to learn Sanskrit – the so called Deva veni. His days at Baroda were a;so a painful and had reminder.His colleagues and supervisors in service did not like that a Mahar should sit with them as an equal. He was not able to get a house to live in, the peons used to throw the files on his table from a distance.For a while, he had to take shelter under a tree with all his personal belonging.Even the tangewala threw him out with his luggage, when he learnt his caste. All these events made Dr. Ambedkar more determined to deliver his people from the galling humiliations and inhuman treatment meted out to them by the caste Hindus for ages. He was quite aware that to succeed in this task, he will require infinite patience, indefatigable energy and rocklike determination. He had taken a solemn vow, “If I fail to do away with the abominable thraldow and inhuman injustice under which the class, into which I was born, has been groaning, I will put an end to my life with a bullet.” Benginning of public Career He started his public career in 1918 with the evidence he gave before the Southborough Commission on the question of franchise for the untouchable. Earlier attempts had been made by sympathetic and liberal-minded caste Hindus for ameliorating the conditions of the depressed classes. But Dr. Ambedkar was convinced that those who did not belong to the depressed classes would not be able to do much for them. Social Movement Launched So in 1924 he launched his social movement with the foundation of the ‘Bahishkrit Hitakarain Sabha’ Which aimed at promoting education among the untouchables and improving their conditions. He also stared a weekly the Mook Nayak, to voice the feelings of injustice of his unfortunate brethren and to champion their cause. He started newspapers like the Bahishkrit Bharat, the Samata and the Janata to express his aspirations for liberty, equality and fraternity. His impassioned writing championing the cause of his unfortunate brethren, infused them with the spirit of self-assertion and impelled them to fight for self-elevation. Chavdar Tank Satyagraha The famous Satyagraha at Chavdar Tank at Mahad in Raigad District, offered more than 50 years ago on March 20, 1972, is a shining example of Dr. Amedkar’s efforts to awaken his own brethren for asserting their birth-right. Dr. Amedker with his followers asserted the right of access to public places like temples, thanks, dharmashalas etc. and had a large number of Mashers to the chavdar Tank to drink water from it. This was unprecedented. The caste Hindus were shocked and they had the tank ‘purified’, by pouring boatfuls of go Maya(caw dung) and gomutra (cow’s urine). The matter went to the court, where it was fought for ten years. But ultimately the Maharas won. Bonfire of Manusmriti In December of the same year, another conference was held at Mahad, where Dr. Ambedkar adopted a more militant approach. He launched a scathing attack on the old die hard doctrines of Hinduism and consigned the Manusmriti as a symbol of inequality, cruelty and injustice and demanded a new code to revitalise and reshape the Hindu Society. Mental revolution These two event carrid the anme of Dr. Ambedkar as social revolutionary to the four corners of India and the depressed classes got a valiant crusader from their own class to fight their cause. This ultimately led to a mental revolution among the untouchables to reorganise an reassert themselves. It gave them self-respect courage and a new vision of life. Dr. Ambedkar was elected to the Constituent Assembly and he was made the Chairman of the Drafting Committee. He had always insisted on adhering our social and economic objectives through constitutional methods only. It was alwaya his conviction that political democracy could never succeed without liberth, equality and fraternity. Untouchability Abolished Untouchability was abolished by the Indian Constitution and vow of Dr. Ambedkar was fulfilled. He delivered his people from the age-old bondage and shackles of slavery. But he always thought of India as one country undivided and indivisible. Not being content with political democracy alone, he pleaded for economic and social democracy. He therefore, warned the people of India in the Constituent Assembly, “We must not be content with mere political democracy. We must make a political democracy and social democracy as well. Political democracy can not last unless there is at the base of social democracy. It (social democracy) means a way of life which recognizes liberty, equality and fraternity as principles of life’. Spread of Education Dr. Ambedkar was always conscious of the backwardness of his own brethren in education and tried by every possible means to spread education among them. He founded the People’s Education Society and established a number of education institution in Bombay proper and Marathawada. He implemented the idsa of morning college by establishing ‘Siddharth College’ in Bombay in 1946, opening the doors of higher education to hunderds of poor and lower-middle class teenagers who thought who thought that it was a real revolutionary step in the education field. Thus he threw open the doors of progress through education to the weaker sections of society. The present awakening in them can be traced to Dr. Ambedkar’s foresight in bringing education and enlightenmente to the downtrodden, depressed and backward classes. Embraced Buddism Untouchability was abolished by Law in India but nonetheless Dr. Ambedkar saw that by and large the caste Hindu continued to be indifferent to the inequality and injustice that the Untouchables had to suffer. He felt that he had no alternative but to forsake the Hindu religion and embrace another faith which will give the Untouchables equality, liberty and dignity. Ultimately he embraced Buddhism at the historic Dceksha Bhoomi at Nagpur on october 14, 1956-Vijaya Dashami Day with thousands of his followers. In choosing Buddhism, Dr. Ambedkar had chosen a religion which was Indian in origin and had flourished here. He preferred Buddhism as the most suitable religion for modern age because according to him Buddhism teaches Prajna (understanding as against superstition and supernaturalism) Karuna (equality). After all this is what man wants for good and happy life, Besides, conversion to Buddhism has give to his followers a sense of self – respect, self- reliance and dignity, which is in a way a great boon to society. International Recognition Thus in Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, We have not only a crusader against the caste system, a valient fighter for the cause of downtrodden on India but also an elder statesman and national leader whose contribution in the form of the constitution of India will be cherished forever by prosperity. In fact his fight for human rights as an emancipator – social and economic of all those enslaved in the world gave him international recognition. Dr. Ambedkar teaching’s have a relevance in our day to life even today. It is, therefore, essential that his noble thoughts are put into practice in everyday life. It is our moral duty to carry Dr. Ambedkar’s message of social and economic emancipation to the four corners of this sub-continent for giving a better deal to the common peaple.