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B. R. Ambedkar
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar
Ambedkar in 1939
Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee
In office29 August 1947 24 January 1950
1st Minister of Law and Justice
In office15 August 1947 September 1951
President Rajendra Prasad
Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru
Preceded by Position established
Labour Member, Viceroy's Executive Council
Preceded by Feroz Khan Noon
Succeeded by Position abolished
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar ([bimraw ramdi ambekr]; 14 April 1891 6 December1956), popularly known as Babasaheb, was an Indian jurist, economist, politician andsocial reformer who inspired the Modern Buddhist Movement and campaigned againstsocial discrimination against Untouchables (Dalits), women and labour. He wasIndependent India's first law minister and the principal architect of the Constitution ofIndia.
Ambedkar was a prolific student, earning a law degree and various doctorates fromColumbia University and the London School of Economics, and gained a reputation as ascholar for his research in law, economics and political science. In his early career he wasan economist, professor, and lawyer. His later life was marked by his political activities; hebecame involved in campaigning and negotiations for India's independence, publishingjournals advocating political rights and social freedom for Dalits, and contributingsignificantly to the establishment of the state of India. In 1956 he converted to Buddhism,initiating mass conversions of Dalits.
In 1990, the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, was posthumously conferredupon Ambedkar. Ambedkar's legacy includes numerous memorials anddepictions in popular culture.
Ambedkar was born in the town and military cantonment of Mhow in the Central Provinces
Born 14 April 1891Mhow, Central Provinces, India (now in Madhya Pradesh)
Died 6 December 1956 (aged65)Delhi, India
Spouse(s) Ramabai (m.1906)
Savita Ambedkar (m.1948)
Alma mater University of MumbaiColumbia UniversityUniversity of LondonLondon School of Economics
Awards Bharat Ratna
Early life and education
(now in Madhya Pradesh). He was the 14th and last child of Ramji Maloji Sakpal, aranked army officer at the post of Subedar and Bhimabai Murbadkar Sakpal. His familywas of Marathi background from the town of Ambavade (Mandangad taluka) in Ratnagiridistrict of modern-day Maharashtra. Ambedkar was born into a poor low Mahar (dalit)caste, who were treated as untouchables and subjected to socio-economicdiscrimination. Ambedkar's ancestors had long been in the employment of the army ofthe British East India Company, and his father served in the British Indian Army at theMhow cantonment. . He used his position in the army to lobby for his children to studyat the government school, as they faced resistance owing to their caste. Although able toattend school, Ambedkar and other untouchable children were segregated and given littleattention or assistance by the teachers. They were not allowed to sit inside the class. Evenif they needed to drink water, someone from a higher caste would have to pour that waterfrom a height as they were not allowed to touch either the water or the vessel thatcontained it. This task was usually performed for the young Ambedkar by the school peon,and if the peon was not available then he had to go without water; the situation he later inhis writings described as "No peon, No Water". He was required to sit on a gunny sackwhich he had to take home with him.
Ramji Sakpal retired in 1894 and the family moved to Satara two years later. Shortly aftertheir move, Ambedkar's mother died. The children were cared for by their paternal aunt,and lived in difficult circumstances. Three sons Balaram, Anandrao and Bhimrao andtwo daughters Manjula and Tulasa of the Ambedkars would go on to survive them. Ofhis brothers and sisters, only Ambedkar succeeded in passing his examinations andgraduating to a high school. His original surname Ambavadekar comes from his nativevillage 'Ambavade' in Ratnagiri district. His Brahmin teacher, Mahadev Ambedkar, whowas fond of him, changed his surname from 'Ambavadekar' to his own surname'Ambedkar' in school records.
In 1897, Ambedkar's family moved to Bombay where Ambedkar became the onlyuntouchable enrolled at Elphinstone High School. In 1906, his marriage to a nine-year-oldgirl, Ramabai, was arranged.
In 1907, he passed his matriculation examination and in the following year he enteredElphinstone College, which was affiliated to the University of Bombay, becoming the first
from his untouchable community to do so. This success provoked celebrations in hiscommunity and after a public ceremony he was presented with a biography of the Buddhaby Dada Keluskar, the author and a family friend.
Degree in Economics and Political science
By 1912, he obtained his degree in economics and political science from BombayUniversity, and prepared to take up employment with the Baroda state government. Hiswife, by then 15 years old, had just moved his young family and started work, when he hadto quickly return to Mumbai to see his ailing father, who died on 2 February 1913.
Ambedkar as a student.
Postgraduation in Economics, Columbia University
In 1913, he moved to the United States. He had been awarded a Baroda State Scholarshipof 11.50 (Sterling) per month for three years under a scheme established by theGaekwad of Baroda that was designed to provide opportunities for postgraduateeducation at Columbia University in New York City. Soon after arriving there he settled inrooms at Livingston Hall with Naval Bhathena, a Parsi who was to be a lifelong friend. Hepassed his M.A. exam in June 1915, majoring in Economics, with Sociology, History,Philosophy and Anthropology as other subjects of study; he presented a thesis, AncientIndian Commerce.
Economics, Columbia University
In 1916 he completed his second thesis