Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar is very important in bringing about social reforms in our country. He played a key role in the drafting of India’s constitution and was chairman of the constitution drafting committee.
Born on April 14, 1891, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar was an eminent jurist, historian and social reformer and was also appointed Independent India’s First Minister of Law and Justice by India’s first Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru.
He was a passionate social reformer who worked for the upliftment of Dalits to integrate them into mainstream society and raised his voice against the discrimination he and his community faced due to India’s caste system.
To mark his contribution and pay tribute, every year his birthday is celebrated nationwide on April 14, which is celebrated as Ambedkar Jayanti, Bhim Jayanti or Equality Day.
In this article, we are going to discuss 10 interesting facts about Babasaheb Ambedkar which will tell why he is considered as the symbol of knowledge by people.
1- First Indian to pursue PhD in Economics Abroad
Babasaheb was one of the few most educated Indians of his generation. He was not only the first Indian to pursue a doctorate in economics, but also the first doctorate in economics and the first holder of a double doctorate in economics in South Asia.
He took 29 courses in economics, 11 in history, 6 in sociology, 4 in anthropology, 3 in politics; on each in elementary, French and German, during his 3 years at Columbia University.
He is the one and only person in the world to have received a valuable doctorate named Doctor “All Science” from the London School of Economics, where he completed 8 years of study in just 2 years and 3 months.
2- Key role in the creation of the Reserve Bank of India
The Reserve Bank of India, which was established based on the recommendation of the Hilton Young Committee, was conceptualized according to the guidelines presented by Ambedkar to the committee in his book, The Problem of the Rupee – Its Origin and Its Solution.
3- Crucial role in the leadership of Mahad Satyagraha
To challenge untouchability and reclaim public spaces for Dalits, on March 20, 1927, Dr. Ambedkar led thousands of Dalits to drink water from Chavdar Lake in Mahad, Maharashtra. This historical moment is known as Mahad Satyagraha of 1927.
4- Modification of working hours in India
Ambedkar also played a key role in bringing about several labor reforms when he was a Labor member in the Viceroy’s Council from 1942 to 1946. During the 7th session of the Indian Labor Conference in New Delhi in November 1942, he changed working hours from 12 p.m. to 8 a.m.
He also introduced several measures for laborers and laborers such as dearness allowance, vacation, employee insurance, medical leave, minimum wage and periodic review of salary scale, etc.
5- Article 370 opposed to the Indian Constitution
Today, most people are unaware that Ambedkar opposed Article 370 of the Indian constitution which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
He refused to write the article because he felt it was discriminatory and contrary to the principle, unity and integrity of the nation. Eventually, it was authored by the former Diwan of Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu and Kashmir, Gopalswamy Ayyangar.
6- Fight against the abandonment of the bill on the Hindu code of the Parliament
Ambedkar fought for three long years when the comprehensive Hindu Code Bill was dropped by the Indian Parliament. The main objectives of the bill were to give equal rights to Hindu women and to repeal social disparity and caste inequality.
As Ambedkar was a staunch supporter of women’s rights, he resigned from his position as India’s first law and justice minister. He also said, “I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress made by women.”
7- His autobiography is used as a textbook at Columbia University
After returning from America and Europe, Ambedkar wrote a 20-page autobiographical story titled Waiting for a Visa, in 1935-36. It is used as a textbook at Columbia University and depicts her experience of untouchability, beginning in her childhood.
8- First person to suggest the division of Bihar and Madhya Pradesh
Ambedkar suggested the division of Bihar and Madhya Pradesh in his book Thoughts on Linguistic States which was published in 1995.
In 2000, the split finally came with the formation of Jharkhand out of Bihar and Chhattisgarh out of Madhya Pradesh, 45 years after he wrote the book.
9- Master’s degree in 64 Subjects
Babasaheb Ambedkar was one of the most educated people India has ever had. He was master in 65 subjects and also knew nine languages including Hindi, Sanskrit, Marathi, Gujarati, Pali, English, French, German and Persian.
Apart from this, for a long period of 21 years, he also studied all the religions of the world comparatively.
10- Titled Bodhisattva
Ambedkar along with his wife and many followers left the folds of Hinduism and converted to Buddhism. In 1954 he was awarded the highest title in Buddhism called Bodhisattva which means a person who is on the path to Buddhahood in Kathmandu, Nepal by Buddhist monks.