For Indians, 14th April needs no introduction. The day has got yearners. The day has also got haters, quite a few. Celebrated no less than a festival, the Birth Anniversary of the Architect of Indian Constitution Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, “The Dr. Ambedkar Jayanti” is not just a public holiday; it is a phenomenon. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Jayanti is the one of the only birth anniversaries celebrated at such an incredible scale. No other statesman enjoys a following as large and devoted as of Dr. Ambedkar. And why not, He is worth it.
An extremely proficient scholar, a jurist, a prodigious economist, a historian, a politician, prolific writer, a lawyer and the Architect of the Indian Constitution, His peculiarity and idiosyncrasy was more than infinity. Like I mentioned in my last article, Dr. Ambedkar too is followed by or is associated with a particular sect, a particular community. He is looked as only a Dalit icon. No doubt, what He did for the Dalits and the untouchable was something what their Gods could never do in more than 1000 brutal years, we should, but not forget His contribution as a national leader.
It’s the 127th Dr. Ambedkar Jayanti. There is an atmosphere of joy everywhere. Along with it, there is definitely another atmosphere of hate and criticism. This, I am talking about THIS! The hate, the criticism! Why? Dr. Ambedkar did anything wrong? Is working for the upliftment of the depressed classes wrong? Is working for the upliftment of women of the society, wrong? Is working for the betterment of laborers, wrong? Is working to bring out a reform in the society, wrong?
I came across a post in Quora, where a question was answered about the conditions of shudras or something. I remember only but one line. “A Brahmin’s son became a Brahmin when he learnt the Vedas. If shudras would learn the Vedas, they too would have become a Brahmin.” I laughed for a while. See the awareness about the varna system people have today. If this is the case, the lower classes would definitely become the victim or centre of criticism. People, mainly youngsters (who possibly are kept away from this fact), are never told what the originality was. They would then definitely think that it were the depressed who avoided education. Should somebody tell you that it were the upper Varna who believed they had the copyright to all the religious texts. Yes! They did not study the Vedas. This is the truth. But the complete truth is here, they were never allowed to study the Vedas. The Vedas were holy, agreed! The Vedas were limited to people of unholy ideology? Wow! The Truth! Lower caste students were not allowed to study Sanskrit, and that person on Quora said what, “If shudras would have learnt the Vedas, they too would have become a Brahmin.” So now, it’s clear to me why Dr. Ambedkar has been limited to a Dalit Icon. People are ready to tell that Dr. Ambedkar “ruined” the Varna system. People are not ready to tell why He needed to!
Did you read – Untouchability, India and Us.
This is why, Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, an icon of educational excellence worldwide, is a Dalit icon in popular India and nothing more! The only thing “more” adds is being the architect of the Indian Constitution. People are not ready to accept this even.
On this very special day, let me paint some aspects from Dr. Ambedkar life. At least these should be enough for His criticizers to embrace Him as a national leader.
Pillar of the Reserve Bank Of India
Ever wondered why almost every bank has Dr. Ambedkar portrait hung on the walls? Even I did until one day I read this, “…The Reserve Bank of India was founded on 1 April 1935 to respond to economic troubles after the First World War. The Reserve Bank of India was conceptualized based on the guidelines presented by Dr. Ambedkar to the “Royal Commission on Indian Currency & Finance” in 1925; Commission members found Dr B. R. Ambedkar’s book “The Problem of the Rupee- Its origin and Its Solution” an invaluable reference tool and the Central Legislative Assembly eventually passed these guidelines as the RBI Act 1934. The bank was set up based on the recommendations of the 1926 Royal Commission on Indian Currency and Finance, also known as the Hilton–Young Commission…” from the Wikipedia page of The Reserve Bank Of India. Enough to accept Him as a prodigious economist? Dr. B. R. Ambedkar set the backbone of Indian Economy. He was the first Indian to pursue Economics Doctorate abroad.
The Labor Leader
If there was somebody who did for the rights of laborers in India, It was Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. From reducing the working hours to granting various monetary benefits, Dr. Ambedkar’s contribution for the welfare of laborers is unimaginable.
I came across this short video on YouTube from The Quint that may explain a bit about his contributions..
The Man against Discrimination of Women
Dr. Ambedkar has been treated unfairly against the amount of work He did for the welfare of women in the society. Even well read women are not ready to acknowledge, or say, willfully avoid to acknowledge the obligations, Dr. Ambedkar did for them.
Dr. Ambedkar also had His draft on the Hindu code bills. It included the nontraditional allocation of property to women, policies regarding women’s property and policies on succession and maintenance. Women out there, unhappy with their marriages today freely file a divorce. It was Dr. Ambedkar who constituted it. He was no doubt opposed saying the law was against the tradition. Be thankful to Dr. Ambedkar for this freedom. Today, daughters inherit property from their fathers, widows get the rights on the property of their husbands. Who is to credit? This was never allowed in the age old traditions. It was Dr. Ambedkar who drafted this in the Hindu Code Bill. Yet He was foolishly opposed then. Although now everyone enjoys it! Enough with the opposition, at least now give Him His due credit.
These were only three among the numerous other contribution of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar as one of the greatest founding fathers of Modern India. However, this is not the real topic to discuss about. This we can find anywhere in some books or on the internet. What we really need to discuss is our responsibility as a follower of Dr. Ambedkar.
The 127th Dr. Ambedkar Jayanti
All that I stated above was for those who limit his works to Dalit welfare. Now as for His followers, Do you really think the kind of celebrations we do on Dr. Ambedkar Jayanti are justice to a person as intellectual as him? What message do we, as the followers of Dr. Ambedkar give to the society who associates Him with a particular community? One should be proud Dr. Ambedkar’s follower. We should then even maintain his dignity. We should maintain this great man’s respect when we enjoy under the banner of his birthday.
How can you celebrate Dr. Ambedkar Jayanti with crackers, rallies, blue gulaal, and then dancing to silly numbers? This is not justified! He was not only a social leader but a educational legend. Organize discussion, debates, competitions, yes, they can be a part of celebration. Share knowledge, promote education, promote His ideology, work for His vision. If we represent Dr. Ambedkar, we should show we are worth it. More than half of the community representing Dr. Ambedkar is illiterate. We have opportunities, then what do we lack, motivation? Dr. Ambedkar wanted to see the depressed classes climb educational heights. Are we respecting his dreams? Youngsters chanting or shouting “Jai Bhim” during the celebrations are not even seen in descent dresses, forget descent behavior. Hooligans? Are you Dr. Ambedkar’s sincere admirers or are you his goons?
Every man in and near a rally defines the legacy of Babasaheb today. Every man in and near a rally defines what He left behind as and in His community. Every man dressed white on 14th April defines what kind of Dr. Ambedkar His followers want to show today. Every time we say “Jai Bhim”, defines what we have inherited as His follower. Your every deed defines His image today. There are people out there ready to sell Him out. If you are the ones whom people refer Dr. Ambedkar’s to, care to maintain His legacy! Don’t let people laugh when they say “He/She is a follower of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar”. Let them sense pride. The same pride we feel to say “Jai Bhim”.
This Dr. Ambedkar Jayanti, the 127th, lets vow to behave as a real and an ideal follower of Dr. Ambedkar. Being Ambedkar? nope, never ever possible! He was one, and the only one! An ideal follower should show education, he should show wisdom, he should show excellence, he should stay away from nonsense habits like alcohol, cigarettes etc. he needs to be a reader and much more… And do we need this? Yes, we do, we seriously do. Because we need to shape His legacy in modern age. Dr. Ambedkar wanted to see His community, progress. It would again be unfair to say His community, He worked for the whole nation. He wanted the nation to progress. He himself set the example through His education, His excellence.
Justice to his works will never be done through mass rallies or mass celebrations on his birthday. It will be just, when we mark his vision true with our deeds. Dr. Ambedkar never wanted His followers, His community to indulge in activities which will never fruit their progress, neither in His lifetime, nor when He left us. We can not stop this all at once, but slowly and steadily we can change the way we celebrate. Celebration is necessary. We need to celebrate the birthday of a man who is greater to us than God (if for a theist) Himself. Okay with the crackers, (although it brings pollution and harm, and nothing else), stop dancing foolishly to silly numbers. Dress well, behave well. Set an example, and a good one. That is how we can really respect Babasaheb.
It is quite unfortunate that not every sect of Indians find Him ideal. This is really unfortunate. But then it is us, the remaining ones, to showcase Him, to spread his ideology. To let people know that more than being only a dalit leader, He was a great reformer. He was a great visionary. He was a great economist, a excellent jurist. A great democrat, a great socialist. He was a great labor leader, a great women uplifter.
And no doubt, even if unrecognized as, He was, is and will always be the (other) Father of The Nation.
A Proud Jai Bhim!
And here’s wishing you all a very Happy and Proud Dr. Ambedkar Jayanti.