Biography of Dr B. R. Ambedkar: Life, Legacy & Facts

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biography of B R Ambedkar

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar also popularly known as Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was an Indian Jurist, Economist, Social Reformer and political leader. He played a significant role in India’s struggle for independence and the drafting of its constitution. Dr Ambedkar fought for the rights of Dalits and is known as the beacon of social reforms and constitutional justice. In this blog, we will talk about the biography of B R Ambedkar.

B R Ambedkar giving a speech.
Dr. B.R.Ambedkar
Birth14th April 1891Madhya Pradesh, India
Birth NameBhimrao Ambedkar
EducationB.A from Mumbai University, MA, PhD, LLD from Columbia University.
ProfessionLawyer, Professor and Politician
WifeRamabai Ambedkar (1906-1935),Dr. Savita Ambedkar (1948 -2003)
ChildYashwant Ambedkar
AwardsBoddhisattva (1956)Bharat Ratna (1990)The Greatest Indian (2012)
Death6th December 1956 65 years.

Early Life and Education of Ambedkar

The biography of B R Ambedkar can be as long as his life. Born on April 14, 1891, at Mhow (now known as Dr. Ambedkar Nagar), Madhya Pradesh, India, he came from a very humble family background. He was the 14th and last child. His father, Ramji Maloji Sakpal worked as a Subedar in the Indian Army and his mother was Bhimabai Sakpal who was a homemaker. 

Ambedkar’s father retired from the service when he was 2 years old and his mother died when he was 6 years old. Babasaheb had to get his early education in Bombay, where he was subjected to discrimination and faced the shock of being an Untouchable and belonging to a Dalit caste.

Despite these challenges, Ambedkar showed a keen interest in education. After his matriculation, he was married in an open shed of a market and faced the curse of Untouchability everywhere. He then went on to complete his graduation at Elphinstone College, Bombay after securing a scholarship from his highness Sayajirao Gaikwad of Baroda and had a deal to return to work under him.

Also Read – Ambedkar Quotes on Education

After his graduation, as per the deal he went on to join Baroda Sansthan, however, he lost his father in the year 1913, but simultaneously was selected as a scholar to go to USA for higher studies.

He pursued M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University in 1915 and 1916. He then left for London to pursue his higher studies. He was admitted to GRay’s Inn and got his degree in Bar-at-Law and also got a D.Sc. degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science. For a while, he even studied at Bonn University in Germany.

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Social Reform and Activism of B R Ambedkar

Dr. Ambedkar came back to Bombay and joined Sydenham College as a professor of Political Economy. In the year 1921, he wrote his thesis “ Provincial Decentralization of Imperial Finance in British India”.  In Germany, he presented another thesis named “Problem of Rupee its Origin and Solution”.

After returning from England, he started his own association for the welfare of the depressed class in the year 1924. Dr Ambedkar was the Chairman of this association with Sir Chimanlal Setalvad as the President. The main objective of the association was to spread education, represent the grievances of the depressed class and improve their economic situations.

He started a newspaper with the name Bahiskrit Bharat on April 3, 1927. The newspaper represented the causes of the depressed class with the prevailing social reforms. By the year 1935, he became the Principal of the Government Law College and resigned in 1938. In between he represented Dalit interests in various conferences and committees which include the Poona Pact of 1932. Later he, launched several newspapers, such as Mook Nayak (1920) and Janta (1928) to voice his concerns for the Dalit community. 

In the year 1938, Ambedkar attended a provincial conference of the depressed class and gave shock to renounce Hinduism by saying “I was born in Hinduism but I will not die as a Hindu”. His followers also supported the decision. 

On 15th August 1936, he announced the formation of a new Independent Labour Party. The party was formed out of the Labour population and represented the interest of the depressed class. He vehemently opposed the oppressive caste system, which relegated Dalits formerly known as Untouchables. 

Also Read Constitutional Development of India (1946 – 1950)

Political Career and Contribution to the Indian Constitution

In the year 1942, he represented the Executive Council of the Governor General of India as a Labour Member and was elected to the Constituent Assembly from Bengal in the year 1946. In the meantime, he published his book named “Who Were Shudra?”

After India’s Independence in 1947, Ambedkar was appointed as India’s first Law Minister in Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s cabinet. Ambedkar’s role in drafting India’s Constitution is nothing short of monumental. He was the Chairman of the Drafting Committee and meticulously crafted the framework of the Indian Constitution. He also ensured to safeguarding of the rights of Marginalized communities and laid the foundation for equality. His contribution earned him the title of “The Father of Indian Constitution”.

Ambedkar as a Chairman of the Drafting Committee

Conversion to Buddhism 

In a bold and transformative move to be in a more egalitarian society, Babasaheb and his followers converted to Buddhism on 14th Oct 1956, in a historical ceremony which was held at Nagpur. He died on 6th December 1956. It also inspired a mass conversion movement with millions of Dalits embracing Buddhism in the years to come.

Also Read – Jawaharlal Nehru: Secular Architect of Modern India

Interesting Facts about DR. B.R. Ambedkar

Some interesting facts about Dr. B.R. Ambedkar are – 

  1. First Indian to receive a Doctorate in Economics from Columbia University.
  2. The Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Indian Constitution.
  3. First Minister of Law and Justice in Independent India.
  4. Was Conferred the title of “Boddhisattva” by Buddhist Monks in 1954
  5. Recipient of the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest Civilian Award in 1990.
  6. The concept of the Reserve Bank of India was given by Babasaheb to the Hilton Young Committee.
  7. He had 32 degrees and was proficient in 9 languages.
  8. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s death is commemorated as Mahaparinirvan Diwas.
  9. On his recommendation, the Ashok Chakra was inscribed in the Indian National Flag.
  10. He wrote many books like – The Annihilation of Caste, Thoughts on Pakistan, What Congress and Gandhi have done to the Untouchables, etc. His last book was The Buddha and his Dhamma and died in his sleep after finishing it.

Dr B R Ambedkar
What is the history of Ambedkar’s name?

According to some reports, Baba Ramji Ambedkar’s first name was “Ramji Sakpal”. He belonged to a Mahar family originally from the Konkan region. His father had registered his first name in the school as “Ambadawekkar”. Later on, Ambedkar changed his last name to “Ambadwakar” with the help of his teacher, Rishnu Keshav Ambedkar.

Who is the father of the Constitution?

Ambedkar is also known as the founder of the Indian Constitution. The Constituent Assembly established a Drafting Committee on 29 August 1947. Ambedkar was the chairman of this committee.

Why was B. R. Ambedkar famous?

Bhiramrao Ramji (Babasaheb) Ambedkar was India’s first minister for law and justice and also served as chairman of the draft committee of the constitutional assembly. He was also an economist, political leader and reformer.

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