Ambedkar Jayanti 

Celebrated on April 14 each year, this day celebrates the spirit and memory of the man who is responsible for gifting us the Constitution of our land Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar who was born on this day in the year 1891. Throughout the length and breadth of the country, this day is designated as an official public holiday.

Processions are carried with much aplomb by his followers at Deeksha Bhoomi in Nagpur and Chaitya Bhoomi in Mumbai. The Delhi procession is attended by senior State dignitaries and the President, Prime Minister and the leaders of major political parties who pay homage to the Ambedkar Statue at the Parliament of India in New Delhi.

Dr Ambedkar is a man much revered throughout the country especially by the fellow Dalit community who look up to him and followed his example to embrace Buddhism. A social reformer, a jurist and an economist, this man of varied talents campaigned relentlessly against social injustice against the untouchables and also championed the cause of women and laborers. He was the guiding force behind the Dalit Buddhist movement and is regarded as a Dalit icon in the country.

Amongst one of his famous quotes in the one on women “I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved. For his long standing contribution in various fields, he was awarded the Bharat Ratna posthumously in the year 1990.

His early life witnessed a lot of trials and sufferings which he experienced on a first hand basis against the Dalits who were treated as untouchables in the Indian community and were ostracised from the popular society. Starting from school, he and the other Dalit fellow students were shunned by the high caste students and made to sit in a separate corner on a gunny sack brought from home and not given adequate attention. Something as basic as drinking water was a humiliation since they were not allowed to touch the water pot and had to subsist on water being poured to them by the school peon from a distance to quench their thirst. ‘No peon, no water ’Ambedkarlater mused in his journals as part of the travails of growing up.

At the age of 15, he was married to the 9 year old Ramabai but his first wife died in 1935 and ultimately he married Dr. SharadaKbair who assumed the name of Savita Ambedkar.

It was on account of his dogged determination that he managed to pursue higher education first at University of Mumbai and subsequently at Columbia and later on at London School of Economics, having earned the distinction of the first Indian to pursue a doctorate in Economics overseas.

This man is not only responsible for being the President of the Constituent Assembly but also laid the foundationof the Reserve Bank of India which serves as India’s Central Banking system.

His contribution to the cause of Dalit movement found manifestation is his book ‘The Buddha and the Dhamma’ which is regarded as the Holy Grail of Navayana and Dalit Buddhists. The manuscript of the book finished just three days prior to his death on December 6th, 1956.

Every year on April 14th, celebrating this day is paying a tribute to this Architect of our Constitution and a founding father of the Republic of India.

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