Today, April 14, is the birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar (April, 1891 – December, 1956), the greatest Indian of the contemporary India. The greatness of Ambedkar rests with fact that in spite of the fact that he held divergent or even conflicting views with Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel and other leaders of the contemporary India on many matters of interest and concern, Dr. Ambedkar could hold and prevail against tides of the time. Mahatma Gandhi rightly said on dealing with Ambedkar ‘You may criticize him but you cannot ignore him’. It is a matter of satisfaction to note that as the time passes, contemporary India is in the process of paving its way to go ahead in its progress and development, the acceptance of Ambedkar and recognition of his contribution in the nation building also increases and rightly so.
There were two major contributions which Ambedkar made to the polity and governance and social edifice of India. First he was the father of the Indian constitution. It is gratifying to note that India is the largest functional democracy of the world. The governance of the country is run under the provisions of the constitution in which the ultimate power rests with the people. India is on the rails. It has come a long way in its development but still it is still to go a long way to eliminate poverty and misery among the masses. There is hope to do so if we remain in the constitutional norms as stipulated by Dr. Ambedkar. He said in his last speech in the Constituent assembly on November 25, 1949 “If we wish to maintain democracy not merely in form but also in fact, what must we do. The first thing in my judgment we must do is to hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving our social and economic objectives. It means we must abandon the bloody methods of revolution. It means we must abandon the methods of civil dis-obedience, non-cooperation and satyagraha. When there was no way left for constitutional methods for unconstitutional methods. But where constitutional methods are open there can be no justification for these unconstitutional methods. These methods are nothing but the Grammar of Anarchy and the sooner they are abandoned the better for us.”
The second important contribution of Baba Sahib to the society at large was his untiring crusade the clean the society from the shameful stigma of untouchability, caste system, religious dogmas, ill treatment of women folk and socio-economic inequality in general. Dr. Ambedkar was of the view that unless the political democracy we had established in the constitution was transformed to economic and social democracy, India will not make a big dent in its progress and prosperity. The mission and philosophy of Baba Sahib is as relevant and potent today as it was before.