View Blue Plaques in a larger map

Monday, 24 January 2011

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (1891-1956)

So we wandered through the assorted overpriced artyness that is camden Market getting away relatively unscathed - M got a ringing charm for her necklace but besides that our bank balances remained intact. I will admit that I was tempted by memories of Istanbuls Grand Bazaar and a stall festooned with glowing multihued orbs but resisted.

We set off past the rubyhued tiles of Chalk Farm tube and crossed over the railway into the big money of primrose Hill - there are a couple of rather incongruous plaques there but I wanted to yap about Babasaheb.
A couple of days before I left India for home the rather antiseptic environs of New Delhi was invaded by truckloads of loudhailer toting sari swathed peeps. It was only afterwards that I learnt that it was Ambedkar Jayanti - the anniversary of his birth.

He was of that generation that made India - modern India. He was instrumental in formulating Indias constitution but many of his ideas have yet to be implemented.He was a jurist, political leader, Buddhist activist, philosopher, anthropologist, historian, orator, writer, economist, scholar and editor - so a bit of a renaissance man!

I came away from India more disenchanted with religion than Id ever been - or at least more disgusted with religions place in social injustice. And boy do they have previous...

He came into conflict with Gandhi as his belief that the Untouchables should have their own electorate would shatter Gandhis idea of a politically united Hindu society. It was to enforce his ideas that Gandhi embarked on a hunger strike at which under intense pressure from other Hindu leaders and fearful of attacks on the untouchable society he decided to drop his demands.

He became Principal of the Government Law College and wrote multiple books on the upcoming Hindu/Muslim schism noting that if their was a demand for a seperate Muslim state there would be little choice but to accept.

He was a major mover and shaker in the formation of the Indian constitution and implemented a series of reserved occupations - an early form of positive discrimination that granted a percentage of civil service posts for untouchables and also instituted a series of civil liberties that protected the rights of individuals.

After Independece disgusted by the opposition to equality for untouchables and after a lifetime of researching Buddhism he renounced Hinduism and converted to Buddhism - but more than that he encouraged his followers to do likewise.

It seems suitable yo echo his rallying call "Educate! Agitate! Organise!"

No comments:

Post a Comment